With the bite of Winter slowly closing in on us, most people let the beauty of Autumn slip by unnoticed. However, being the fanatic South London city dwellers that we are, we thought it our duty to let you know of some of the nicest and leafiest places south of the river to visit to get the best out of Autumn...
1. Point Hill: Greenwich
With one of the most stunning panoramas of the London skyline, Point Hill sits at the top on a list of London’s best viewpoints. Encircled by trees with a large open space filling the summit of the hill, a bench occupies prime position at the horizon lookout.
Visit this historical site and imagine how the skyline in front of you would have looked like on that day in 1940. In summer, a trip to Point Hill will provide you with a feeling of rising above the capital and soaring with the birds that dip and dive amongst the trees and rooftops. A winter excursion should be undertaken with the correct clothing as there isn’t a huge degree of shelter. However, the lookout bench is the perfect place for lovers to sit with misty breath and watch London light up in the growing dark. Find it here. (but don't tell!)
2. Greenwich Park: Greenwich
Through the village of Greenwich or across Blackheath Common will take you to the Royal Greenwich Park. With its secret gardens, tennis courts, cricket green and pedalo lake, there’s so much scope for family fun and enjoyment. Also, if we get an early snow (highly unlikely), the many undulating hills that lead down to the maritime museum are the perfect place to take your toboggan this winter.
3. Eltham Palace Gardens: Eltham
Whilst visiting this medieval palace, do take time to step out into the beautifully kept gardens. The English Heritage have restored and kept up the site tremendously. With 19 acres of greenery, allow enough time to explore the herbaceous border designed by award-winning garden designer Isabelle Van Groeningen and nose around the Rock Garden with its pools and cascades flowing to the moat where London’s oldest working bridge is. Find it here.
4. Crystal Palace Park: Crystal Palace
With idyllic avenues of trees with overhanging branches and canopies that catch the light, patterning the ground with dappled shapes, walking through Crystal Palace Park is a wonderful spot for a romantic stroll or some alone time with a good book.
If you’re looking for a family trip, the full-scale models of dinosaurs are definitely a place to take the kids. The maze and various lakes should also be incorporated into the day out. Find it here.
5. Chumleigh Gardens: Walworth
The gardens of this Victorian alms house situated in the hustle and bustle of South London are a city oasis. Horticultural designs reflecting Mediterranean, Islamic, Oriental, African & English gardens are adjacent to one another. Sculptor Heather Burrell who designed the garden’s gate, built it to represent community and police joint efforts against hate crime and its upkeep is managed by those with recent or ongoing health issues. Find it here.
6. Sevendroog Castle: Shooters Hill
This Grade II listed building situated on Shooters Hill in Oxleas Wood was built to commemorate Commodore Sir William James, who in 1755 led the attack on Suvarnadurg fortress of the Maratha Empire in Western India.
Over the centuries the castle fell into disrepair as it changed ownership several times. Having been bought by the council in 1922, by 1984 they could not manage the costs and the castle was boarded up. Sevendroog then became part of the BBC TV series Restoration in 2004. The show garnered support for the castle and by 2014, Sevendroog was opened up to the public. From the battlements at the top of the castle one can see 7 counties on a clear day. With extensive woodland stretching out around the castle and a quaint tearoom at the entrance to the tower, a visit to Sevendroog is a great day out for the family. Find it here.
7. Nunhead Cemetary: Nunhead
Nunhead Cemetery is one of the 7 Magnificent Cemeteries in South London. With notable burials such as English Shakespearean actor, George John Bennett and Cordite co-inventor Sir Fredrick Abel take your time to weave your way around the cemetery and stroll amongst the large proportion of First and Second World War graves.
The cemetery is a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metroplitan Importance for Wildlife. Tawny owls and woodpeckers populated the dense woodland around the area. Only a 5 minute walk from Nunhead Station, walk in peace in this area of tranquillity and history and have a look at Charlotte Mew’s famous poem In Nunhead Cemetery whilst your there. Find it here.
8. Horniman Museum & Gardens: Forest Hill
Situated on a hill-top overlooking Forest Hill, The Horniman Museum & Gardens provides a phenomenal view of South London and beyond. It is beautifully designed, with a botanical garden, a band stand and ample foliage both large and small to keep you protected from the high winds. The museum is a nationally renowned charity and is home to some fascinating relics and fossils. Be sure to check out all these features out on your Autumn stroll, taking in the stunning views and the cultural history that this lovely institution provides. Find it here.