With lockdown restrictions, we’ve spent long weeks looking for new local green spaces to explore, somehow giving us the feeling to change scenery regularly and making this period as bearable as possible.
Luckily there’s no shortage of parks and beautiful wild spaces around London and wherever you live you should find a piece of land to cheer you up.
I recently (re)visited Syon Park in West London. It was a sunny day and I found this visit particularly uplifting so I could not resist sharing the highlights of this lovely walk with you!
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON presents you Syon Park & House, a true hidden gem near London!
The 100 acres of parkland you’ll be able to explore at Syon Park were created over 20 years in the 18th century.
These Gardens are located in West London, opposite the other famous Gardens of Kew, on the border of the Thames. Such a large area of green spaces makes you feel far from the city, while it is just 10 miles away from Trafalgar Square.
Syon Park Gardens host several rare and beautiful plants and trees, some of which were imported from North America back in the 18th century.
The gardens are also a paradise for wildlife: many species can be found here including birds, squirrels, swans, and sunbathing turtles (if you’re lucky!).
The lakeside and woodland walks are a true delight as they offer different settings. This is all very quiet and bucolic…so pleasant!
There are a few bridges along the path giving you the opportunity to explore both sides of the lake and taking in the beautiful atmosphere (and, in our case, the gorgeous reflections and colors on the lake).
At some point, a few wooden logs are made available to children, recreating a kind of natural playground where they can let their hair down a bit and make the most of the fresh air.
With plenty of benches, this is an ideal place for a family outing – and surely a quiet getaway from buzzing London.
The Great Conservatory
The garden’s centerpiece is undoubtedly the spectacular Great Conservatory built in the 1820s, which you come across straight after passing the gate.
Due to Covid-19, this part is obviously closed to the public, but you can easily have a look inside through the glass windows…
The Great Conservatory, apparently one of the first such glass and iron structures in the country, “was filled with beautiful and exotic plants from all across the world, including ‘Cape’ plants from South Africa, ‘New Holland’ plants from Australia and ‘Camellias’ from China”.
The greenery increased its reputation especially by the 1880s when palms and giant bamboos grew to the top of the Dome until the social and political context of the First World War put an end to this successful period.
Luckily, this stunning building was restored in 1986/7 for us to contemplate as we please…:-)
Syon House is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland and has been in the Percy family for over 400 years.
Built on the site of a late medieval abbey (said to be one of the most wealthy nunneries in the country), Syon House proudly features one of the finest Robert Adam interiors in the country and has a magnificent collection of paintings and furniture. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to visit it due to Covid-19, so I can’t wait to come back soon and get to know this stunning House…
This property has a very rich and interesting royal history: Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII’s fifth wife, was imprisoned here before her execution in 1542 and, a few years later, Henry VIII’s coffin rested here for a night on its way to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
Be aware you’ll need to book your tickets in advance. The entrance fees were surprisingly less expensive on-site than online, so maybe is it a good idea to call the venue before getting there and check the prices (approx £15 for a family of 2 adults+2 kids).
For those interested, there is also a garden center on the site if you wish to optimize your afternoon!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to explore Syon Park & House soon, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!
To go further:
Syon Park & House: Syon Park, Brentford TW8 8JF