London's parks are both plentiful and beautiful, scattered around the city like lilies on a pond. These oases of green allow the capital's residents, as well as visitors, to escape from the bustle of urban life and enjoy some relaxing moments away from the noise and pollution of the city's traffic.
While most people have dallied in the delightful Hyde Park, Green Park, and Regent's Park, there are others, only a short train ride away, that seem to get less publicity yet are equally grand and impressive. One such place is Alexandra Park.
This sloping park opened back in 1873 and covers 196 acres. In 2008 it picked up a Green Flag Award, a scheme that recognises the best green spaces in the country.
It encompasses a boating lake and lakeside cafe, woodland, a cricket ground, playing fields, an animal enclosure, gardens and meadows, a pitch 'n' putt course, a conservation area, and plenty of spots to just kick back and enjoy the stunning views across the capital. And if that's not enough to keep you busy, then you won't fail to notice the large palace there as well, perched on top of the hill.
The palace has quite a history. Sixteen days after it opened in 1873, it burnt down. Determined not to let a few flames ruin the party, they rebuilt it and had it open again within two years.
In 1936 the BBC made their first public TV transmissions from the palace, and it continued to act as the corporation's main transmitting centre for another 20 years.
There was more bad luck in 1980 when another devastating fire destroyed large parts of the structure. This time it took eight years to repair the damage. Thankfully, it has enjoyed a fire-free time since then and today functions as a highly successful venue for a huge range of events including award ceremonies, sports events, festivals, music concerts, film shoots and fireworks displays (every 5th November).
You could easily spend the best part of a day here, enjoying the extensive gardens and panoramic vistas before rounding things off with a refreshing drink in the palace's stylish Phoenix Bar.