2020 has been one hell of an year for most of us. We went against the human DNA, of being free beings. We were confined more this year than what we even remember in our history books. Travel and hospitality was the worst affected industries and its heart breaking to see many small restaurants, pubs, cafes which shut down its doors forever.
While we have been in a repeat loop of lockdowns in London, I still feel blessed to have got lots of green spaces around me and this year was about walks, hikes, nature and wilderness. I haven’t travelled too far but did lots of London walks, hikes in Surrey and Kent.
So here is a round up of the year, most loved places I visited and explored.
This would probably go down in my travel scrapbook as one the best places I have been in England. The Fall colours were absolutely stunning in Winkworth Arboretum which is in Surrey and about an hour from London. Read about it here
The gateway to Winkworth is the quaint village of Godalming which is so charming that you cannot return without clicking some pictures. Explore it here
The Chalk Trail
One of the best day hikes from London is The Chalk Trail which starts from Dorking to Gomshall. Walking through the rolling hills of North Downs (Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty), forests, farms, quaint villages like Shere; this walk is an absolute delight to the tired city eyes.
Ramsgate to Margate via Broadstairs
This was my summer hike and has become one of my favourites. A 22 km walk from the historic harbour town of Ramsgate to Margate crossing the quaint town of Broadstairs and enjoying its famous fish and chips. Walking below the chalky cliffs in the winding algae beds accompanied by seagulls all along, this walk was rather therapeutic. I walked half the way bare feet on the sand and in cold waters of Atlantic.
Sevenoaks and Knole Park
Sevenoaks in Kent is under 45 min from London Waterloo and is a beautiful town known for its schools. The Knole Park and Knole house are national trust properties which are located in the town. Acres of grasslands with galloping deer, an exquisitely manicured golf club, and farms and villages around. A stop over for tea at the tearooms of Knole house was lovely too.
Lots and lots of London
Given the lockdowns, the options were limited. But one can be never short of options in London. The Covid situation made me realize we do not value nature, our surroundings, we are so busy. I never explored my neighbourhood, London so much as much as I did this year. The same streets I walked daily, I never noticed so many things which I did now.
The mecca of Tennis and a very quaint and affluent village, Wimbledon was an absolute delightful walk around the Wimbledon Commons, historic pubs and the tennis lawns.
My May Bank holiday trip was a hike from East Molesey to Hampton Court Palace and all the way to Kingston via Bushy Park. Beautiful towns of Surrey and just about 20 min train ride from Central London. Richmond and Kingston are the jeweled twins.
Other London walks
I walked every weekend to a new area in London, discovered lots of new places, wrote down lots of new walking routes. Iam thankful to God that we got so much nature around us to daily walk on green paths and exercise when we are otherwise home bound.
Few of the places I explored first time and some were repeats.
Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove walk
Paddington to Little Venice Walk
Autumn walks in Green Park, St James Park, Kew Gardens
As we prepare to step into 2021, we continue to cling to hope of a better tomorrow, love, joy and peace.
Wish you a very happy and safe New Year!