Happy Easter everyone! I'm spending a quiet weekend with The Man, working away on last-minute Paris stuff and generally trying to corral my life into some kind of order! But for those of you who are out and about -- or just want to know what to do over the Easter weekend -- here are a few suggestions (with modified text from 24 Hours London: because I'm just that lazy!).
For the few seconds it's not actually raining, the parks are always a hit on Easter weekend. Stroll around, see some birds or even take a dip if you're brave enough.
In North London, the ancient parkland that is Hampstead Heath provides a great spot to work off the Easter chocolate. London’s largest park covers 790 acres of grassy fields and woodlands and is one the highest points in London. If you work up a sweat, take a dip in one of the three outdoor ponds. They are open all year, and were originally used to provide refreshment for the River Fleet.
Tube: Hampstead. www.hampsteadheath.net.
You’re spoiled for choice with Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. These interconnected parks offer a wide variety of jogging routes. Or, you can take a plunge in the Serpentine Lake. Enter the park from High Street Kensington. You’ll see Kensington Palace straight ahead. Saunter by the former home of Princess Diana and past the black railings where mountains of flowers were heaped when she died in 1997.
Run by the man-made Round Pound, taking in the ornate Albert Memorial through the trees to your right, and go down to the Serpentine Lake. So-named for its snake-like shape, the lake is actually a river that was dammed by order of Queen Caroline as part of the redevelopment of Hyde Park. As you jog by the long arm of the lake, take in the oval-shaped Diana Memorial to your right, then cool off by braving the water at the roped-off swimming area at the Lido.
Tube: High Street Kensington or Bayswater. For opening hours go to www.royalparks.org.uk.
One of the most romantic – and smallest – parks in London, Holland Park is a mix of secluded trails, open fields and romantic courtyards filled with blossoming flowers. Situated on the grounds of former Jacobean mansion Holland House, the park has everything from squirrels to peacocks, plus an up-to-the-minute playpark for kids up to 14. Relax in the Kyoto Japanese Garden built for the 1991 London Festival of Japan, grab coffee or a sandwich at the café, or have a spot of tea at The Belvedere, located in the Summer Ballroom of Holland House. Or perhaps become an opera buff – in the summer, the park is the site of the open-air Opera Holland Park.
Tube: Holland Park
St James's Park
If you’re full but want to watch others enjoy their food, go to St James’s Park. The first royal park to be opened to the public, it’s home to five greedy pelicans – one from Louisiana
and four from Eastern Europe. The park’s pelican tradition was first introduced in 1664 when the Russian ambassador presented Charles II with the birds. They’re fed 12 pounds of fish – along with a vitamin supplement – every day at around 2:30 pm.
Tube: St James's Park.
Something for Sunday - Take a walk through town or check out a market.
London Walks offers a selection of walks on Easter Sunday. Check out www.walks.com for more information.
Spitalfields Market and the cacophony that is Brick Lane buzzes as usual on Easter Sunday. Head down around lunchtime to really take advantage of the atmosphere. Tube: Liverpool Street.
Have a great long weekend!