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Published February 20th 2017
Village Life In London
Kew Green feels quintessentially English. This triangular green has a quaint village atmosphere that draws you in and makes you want to sit and watch cricket and drink Pimms. Since cricket has been played here since 1737, on a balmy summer evening, you could probably do just that. Kew is more than the home of the famous Kew Gardens. Kew itself is a picturesque village with the stunning Kew Green at it's heart. The Green is lined with broadleaf trees, period townhouses, historic buildings, independent shops and a lovely selection of historic, local pubs. It's the perfect spot to pass some time, as my 10 month old little boy and I found out on a stunning winter's day.
Despite being February, Kew Green looked splendid under the day's bright blue skies and wintry sunshine. This early hint of Spring has even fooled the flowers in to thinking it might be time to make an appearance.
Kew Green is steeped in history and has more than a few royal connections. In the 18th Century, members of the Royal Family made Kew their country seat. Well, why not? This is a charming place to kick back, relax and take life a little more slowly.
The centrepiece of Kew Green is St Anne's Church. This beautiful building is Grade II Listed and dates back to 1714. Over the years, it has been altered and extended many times to become the impressive building it is today.
The churchyard is rather wonderful too as it's home to some significant burials and tombs, including the famous painter Thomas Gainsborough.
In one corner of Kew Green is the old horse pond that is now home to a range of bird and plant life. We spotted two swans, coots, a couple of cream hybrid mallards and a heron. Kew Pond actually has a long and chequered history. It's thought the pond may date back to 996AD. By the 1500s, as the area was becoming more residential, householders were allowed to graze their horses and cattle on the Green. The Pond was used as a watering hole for the livestock, as well as being used for washing carts and carriages. When the exclusive King's School was built in 1824, there were complaints about the unsanitary condition of the Pond and it was partly covered over. Right up until 1977, there have been calls to fill it in due to its unsanitary state. Luckily, volunteers have worked hard over recent years to clean up the Pond and bring it back to life.
It's worth spending some time walking around Kew Green and just soaking up the atmosphere. The buildings that line the Green are a real architectural mix and it's really worth having a good look around. Then, when you've done enough sightseeing, there are a number of historic pubs that are ready to beckon you in for a refreshing pint.
The Greyhound, The Coach and Horses, The Botanist and The Cricketers are all good choices. Charlie and I ventured in to The Coach and Horses. Unfortunately, it was only 10.30am on a Monday morning so I opted for a cup of tea rather than something stronger.
Perhaps next time we come here, we'll stop for a cold pint on a sunny day and watch the locals play cricket.