Local tourist: Sydenham Wells Park

When I moved to my little patch of SE26 I managed – not entirely on purpose – to choose one of the best spots for parks in the whole of South East London. Being opposite Crystal Palace Park was a dig draw, but it wasn’t until several months later that I discovered the other verdant gem on my doorstep… Sydenham Wells Park.

I think there are still lots of locals who don’t even know it’s there and to be honest, I’d love it to stay that way because it’s probably the prettiest and most tranquil green space in the area. But of course, I’ll share it with you!

The park gets its name from the medicinal springs that were discovered here during the seventeenth century, when Sydenham was still a village in Kent. Apparently even King George III (the mad one) came to take the waters here. My favourite hideout is under the weeping willows next to the stream – my ‘English Rose’ complexion makes me a shade seeker rather than a sun lover and the trees make little rooms of dappled sunlight where I can settle down and read a book without a soul around.

This weekend I started reading Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day – a birthday present from My Friends House. It’s a beautiful Persephone Books edition with the original illustrations. The story follows a drab middle-aged spinster who turns up to take a job as a governess only to find herself thrust into the midst of the glamourous and scandalous party scene of 1930s London… I’m loving it!

After a while I braved the incredible sunshine to take a wander around the more formal bit of the park. For the locals amongst you, this signpost should give you a sense of where Sydenham Wells Park is. Shame about the toilet part but I suppose not all signs can be designed for photogenic purposes! This neatly clipped tree on the other hand was just crying out for some retro polaroid treatment.

I know they’re invasive and all that, but I do like the sight of a bank of rhododendron bushes covered in hot pink, purple and white flowers. For the kiddiewinks there’s a pond with ducks and stuff too. These two pigeons were either kissing or attacking each other – it was hard to tell.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Do you know of any ‘secret’ spots in London or where you live?


More posts exploring South London:

Take a tour around Crystal Palace Park

A weekend trip to Brixton Village

Foraging for mushrooms on Wimbledon Common

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  1. says

    I love these photos! I have a secret spot about 10 mins walk from my office- a beautiful lake where you can also walk through the woods. I often go there on my lunch break and not too many people seem to know about it :)

  2. says

    Hi! I just discovered your blog thanks to Tea For Joy and I’m already in love with it.
    I simply adore London and all its green hidden spots, and every time I came I like to visit the more I can. One of my favourites is the Regent’s Canal path (though I think that’s not so hidden :), but after reading “My garden, my city and me” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Garden-City-Me-Adventures/dp/1604691670) my next goal is to follow Helen Babbs’ footsteps. Can’t wait!

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