The Isabella Plantation | Beyond Roehampton

Richmond Park is one of many stunning parks that London has to offer. The sweeping green fields are home to deer, skylarks, bats and all manner of other incredible wildlife. The grand oak trees dotted around serve to provide a superb reading spot, as well as a great place to relax with a pair of headphones. A walk to Richmond Park is sure to calm down anyone who may be feeling the pressures of exams and assignments, but it also allows for a refreshing change of scenery, away from the hustle and bustle of London life. Richmond Park is beautiful and well worth a trip. The park isn’t only good for watching deer. Tucked away is a hidden gem that is perfect for the person looking for something slightly more psychedelic than the expected park scenery.

In the southernmost corner of Richmond Park, separated by a black metal fence, is the Isabella Plantation. This pocket of blossoming plant life is a kaleidoscope of vibrant pinks and greens. Large rhododendrons create a maze around ponds and winding streams, which reflect the flowers’ vibrancy. It doesn’t have to be sunny to warrant a colourful visit, as a grey sky only enhances the natural colours the plant life offers. Narrow pathways are nestled into the crooks and follow the natural landscape, and all of these factors lead to scenery perfect for Instagram.

Colour can be found everywhere and not just in the petals. Lime green ringnecked parakeets throw the Isabella Plantation into the tropics. These birds are not native to the UK, but were introduced to London several years ago and made the city their home. They don’t live anywhere else in the UK, which gives anyone the perfect excuse to go down to Richmond Park to visit. As well as these birds, there are also dragonflies, butterflies, shrews and a whole host of other creatures in this biodiverse haven.

The Isabella Plantation is so different to what would constitute as a typical London park, and so otherworldly that if the Cheshire Cat were to appear on a branch and grin, it wouldn’t be out of place in the maze of colour. Visiting the Isabella Plantation feels like visiting an entirely new, almost fairytale, land.

Getting to the Isabella Plantation is easy. From Digby, it would take just over an hour to walk there. There’s also the option of public transport: the 85 bus stops at Galsworthy House, and from there it’s only a twenty-minute walk. In terms of refreshments, there’s a small truck serving tea and coffee (cash only) in the carpark next to the Isabella Plantation. Or, there’s the kiosk at Pembroke Lodge, which offers other drinks and snacks.

The Isabella Plantation is well worth a visit for all who want to have a bit of time to themselves or to take a few selfies with friends agaisnt the amazing floral backdrops. It’s calming and it’s charming, and even if the weather is awful, it still provides an area of tranquility for all who visit.

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