Despite the cold weather that has swept across the capital over the last couple of weeks, I was eager to visit a new park during the Bank Holiday, and Ravenscourt Park is one that has been on my radar for a while. Ravenscourt Park isn't the first park you'd think of when you visit London, but it's worth a trip if you happen to be in the Shepherd's Bush or Hammersmith areas – and not just for the spectacular blossom that adorns the trees in spring.
Ravenscourt Park has plenty of activities for all the family, regardless of age. Sports enthusiasts can choose between playing tennis, kicking a football around, or brushing up their basketball or netball skills. The park also runs a bowling club, which is just before The Tea House, if you're coming from Ravenscourt Park station. On the other side of the bowling club is a lawn used for sports and children's activities (The Little Foxes Club was being held there when I walked past).
In addition to sports, kids can also explore the playgrounds – there are a few to choose from. Ravenscourt Park South Playground was the first playground I came across during my walk. It's at the back of the pre-school and is quite spread out, with only a handful of equipment: it consists of swings, a slide and a central climbing frame. The playground is enclosed, so parents and carers can relax on one of the benches without worrying about their children wandering off. Near the lake is the adventure playground, which caters for older children as it has more challenging equipment. There are slides, climbing frames, a basket swing and more. Come summer, little ones can splash around in the paddling pool. It has a beach area and a sand pit, so you can feel like you're on holiday.
One of the main things that draws people to Ravenscourt Park is the walled garden. It was originally the kitchen garden of Palingswick Manor, which was renamed 'Ravenscourt House' in 1747 by Thomas Corbett, Secretary to the Admiralty, owner of the property at the time. The garden is full of roses in the summer, as well as wildflowers and shrubs at other times of the year, and is currently looked after by a group of volunteers. As you walk around the edge of the garden, you'll see a number of benches to relax on and get lost in a book without being disturbed. Some of the benches are covered so you can seek shelter on a rainy day.
As the park is part of the Conservation Area of Ravenscourt and Starch Green, there are numerous trees, including plane trees and cedars. The small lake is situated near Goldhawk Road and is the perfect place for watching wildlife. The lake attracts lots of birds, including geese, herons, ducks and of course pigeons.
Still, got time to spare? Pop into W6 Garden Centre, a small but delightful garden centre near the Ravenscourt Park station entrance. Browse their selection of flowers, plants, seeds, garden ornaments and outdoor furniture. Check out the award-winning café for coffee, superfood lattes and delicious freshly prepared sandwiches. The café is dog-friendly and caters for vegans.
As one of the largest parks in Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park is home to many events throughout the year. On the first Saturday of every month, you can head down to the farmers market, which reopens this weekend and is held under the railway arches. It's a great opportunity for trying new food and supporting local businesses. Providing that it's safe to do so and the government doesn't call for another lockdown, Ravenscourt Park will host a firework display for Bonfire Night. The evening's entertainment will also include food stalls and a funfair. Look out for the open-air cinema, which should also be on the cards for this year.
Ravenscourt Park is an idyllic park that offers fun for the entire family. It's somewhere to escape to for a couple of hours. The nearest stations are Ravenscourt Park, Goldhawk Road, Stamford Brook and Hammersmith.