Go to London for the health benefits of the 170,000 trees in The Royal Parks. The trees are “London’s Lungs.” See the wintertime beauty in the bark and golden boughs of the ancient trees.
My reason for going to London for Christmas is to visit my son and his partner. They now work in London.
They rent a flat in Clapham. First stop: the gym around the corner.
Their flat is filled with light, windows, and tree branches. Central London is a 20 minute tube ride from Clapham along the Northern Line.
London is one of the greenest citiies in and the world. London’s eight Royal Parks are the main reasons for this. Take in the physical and mental health benefits of these huge, ancient trees. Like old buildings, the trees are a valued part of London’s past. And they are the very fabric of the culture.
My Treesmendus blog posts show the recent research on the health benefits of urban trees. Trees make us healthier, happier, live longer, and feel richer. And the bigger the tree, the more health benefits.
Central London Parks are: Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park and Green Park. Those parks further out are Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Greenwich Park. They cover a total of 5,000 acres.
Winter can be the best time of all to see trees. All the leaves gone, you can see the graceful symmetry of an oak. Or the wispy cascade of a birch.
Follow the rose emblem circular plaques set in the ground. If you follow them all you will complete the seven mile Princess Diana Memorial walk through the Royal Parks. The beautiful plaques go through St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
In the book “The Long, Long Life of Trees” Fiona Stafford writes about how intergral the oak is to English culture. Stafford is a professor of English at University of Oxford. It is a beautiful book. I have it with me here in London. Stafford talks about a pub “The Royal Oak”. Yesterday we visited this well worn, oak panelled pub.
At the Royal Oak pub Stafford says “you may find yourself sitting on a window seat set into a wood panelled wall looking at the decorative plates displaying tender encounters under English Oak trees.”
As Stafford says in her book ” The Long, Long Life of Trees“: ” oak is such an integral part of our culture, we hardly notice it’s presence. It’s just there – in our homes, and parks, and public buildings, on our plates, and under them, on medals and stamps, trademarks and car stickers. The oak is a constant presence and a source of endless and invisible connection.”
So when you go to London, no matter what your reason, make the health benefits of trees another reason. Take in the stunning Royal Parks in London, follow the footsteps of Lady Diana’s favourite walk through these parks. Drink in the free tree air. And know that this visit to the ancient trees of London will make you healthier, happier, live longer and feel richer.