Ok, maybe it’s not a massive secret, but it sure feels like walking into a secret garden when stepping foot into Isabella Plantation.
The 40 acre woodland garden is set within Richmond Park, and was planted almost 200 years ago.
In direct contrast to the wild landscape of Richmond Park, Isabella Plantation is a manicured oasis – there are streams, ponds, ducks, flowers, secret pathways and stepping stones made out of wood, it really is like stepping straight out of the city and into the countryside.
A perfect place for taking time out of busy city life!
Meander through the pathways, over the stepping stones and along the stream into the depths of the garden to Thomson’s Pond.
Nature really comes alive here, where the ducks, and ducklings, seem to relish in the company of people – they certainly didn’t seem to mind posing for a few photos anyway!
Take a seat on one of the benches, kick back, relax and enjoy the fresh air!
So why the name Isabella?
The garden is based in the south west corner of Richmond Park, and was originally an area of boggy land.
In the 1700s, the area is shown on the map as Isabella Slade, it is thought to be a take on the word isabel, which was used in the 15th century, meaning dingy or greyish yellow, which was the colour of the soil in the area.
Lord Sidmouth, the deputy ranger of the park, fenced off the area in 1831, to keep out the roaming deer.
Planting chesnut, beech and oak trees, he gave the area the name it has today – Isabella Plantation – certainly a world away from dingy!
When is the best time to go?
The flowers surrounding the ponds are in full bloom throughout April and May, so if you are looking for colour, this would be the best time to visit.
That said, my trip was in June, and there were still plenty of colourful flowers to enjoy, and ducklings, fighting for the spotlight in my camera!
The park is open all year round and there are free guided walks each month, just click here to find a date.
If you head on down, I hope you enjoy your trip, and be sure to let me know what you think!