Londonist takes a walk on the wilder side....
What? Mayfield Lavender Farm. Londonist's hot London secret of the week. We had absolutely no idea that there was such a treasure so close to central London. 25 acres of organically grown lavender. Aromatherapy and photography heaven.
Where? It is situated in Banstead. Way South. But still London, to all intents and purposes - just 15 miles from centre ville, and well inside the M25. It's open from 10am - 7pm.
Why has it tickled our fancy? What's not to like? Rolling fields shimmering in a purple haze with a fragrance to ease the sorest of hearts. And the owners are building on a tradition of lavender growing: in the 19th century the are was the biggest lavender producer in the world. Here's what our tipster says:
This is a great half day trip. I took this on June 21, a bit more colour to come apparently. It's all over by the end of August. So perfect for school holidays. It's free entry, tea a pound. Ask for a jar and the kids can collect ladybird sized beetles which are a pest. My herd loved it. I had two of mine and two of their friends to care for, all pics taken around midday, so one can only imagine the potential here. Run by a lovely couple. Wish I'd discovered it sooner.
Take a picnic, and your best photographic equipment (there is an annual photographic competition for the keen snapper). And take a few pennies in case you want to buy some lavender fudge or oils in the farm shop.
Nature Notes: Lavender. Lots of lavender. Plus things that like to live in lavender - we'd bet our last bag of pot pourri that there are a few bees hanging out there.
Massive thanks to flickr friend Mike King: this is his tip off, and those are all his lovely photos. We've featured this slightly out of synch with our normal Nature-ist series as the lavender is seasonal, and by the end of August it won't be nearly as pretty.
Map after the jump.
View Mayfield Lavender in a larger map