Friday, June 6, 2008

all the fun of the river(side)

The weather may not be perfect but apparently summer is here - in all its forms - so an ideal opportunity for a leisurely wander, or power-walk, by the river. Should you get the chance to visit Kingston-upon-Thames, take the time to enjoy life on the towpath.  To get there, walk to the end of Clarence Street, cross over Kingston Bridge, (admiring the view as you go), turn left and you're in Barge Walk.

You'll understand the name as you take-in the many house boats and transient visitors moored-up at the scenic riverside setting. There's always a happy - usually serene - line-up of swans here too, often in a row, grooming themselves, debating their next move.

From this side of the river bank you'll find no restaurants or caf├ęs to distract or delay you - only from the distant perspective of the other side - but it can be interesting to watch the contrasting hive of activity over there from this, more tranquil, perspective.

As you move on up, you'll encounter training rowers, happy boaters, leisurely and speeding cyclists, fledgling and earnest runners, picnic-ers and romping dogs with their owners. It's a great antidote to city life.

If you fancy exploring the full-stretch of the towpath, it's about two-and-a half/three miles up towards Hampton Court with more to enjoy as you go. The trees are glorious, the houses attractive, the riverside nooks and crannies varied - with a feeling that they remain part of another era.

As you reach the end of the towpath, you'll come across the stunningly regal, ornate golden gates protecting Hampton Court Palace's Privy Gardens. Why not check-out the surrounding recommendations on Qype to make your day complete?

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