“Is there anything you particularly want to do while in London?” I asked my good friend, Amy, in a Facebook message. It was September 2013, and she was visiting me from the US for a week in London. I had thoughts of the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey — or perhaps something a bit more unusual, like The Hunterian, or Columbia Road Flower Market.
My phone dinged not two seconds later, with the message, “Can we go here?” She popped through a link: Mayfield Lavender, a lavender field located not too far outside of London. But far enough away that it made me go, “Really Amy?” and roll my eyes slightly. Amy loves nature and the outdoors — she was on her way to do a year of WOOFing through Europe, after all — so this somewhat strange request didn’t really surprise me.
In the end, we didn’t have time to make the trip out to see the lavender during her visit. But this conversation was the very first time I had even heard about Mayfield Lavender (from a non-local, no less!). It is what began a four-year quest to make it down to see the lavender blooming, each year a failure — until this July, when I finally ticked it off my bucket list.
Our trek (yep, it’s a bit of a trek — sorry) involved a one-hour-fifteen-minute overground and bus journey. Having had no breakfast or coffee yet that morning, needless to say, I was a tad grumpy by the time we arrived. We immediately made a beeline for the cafe.
“I want everything lavender flavoured!” I announced to Stag (probably while spinning around like a small child; some of us get excited easily) as we approached the adorable food-truck-turned-cafe. One lavender earl grey tea, lavender scone and lavender ham & cheese toastie later, I tucked into my meal like a happy camper. The lavender scone was, by far, the highlight of the food — although we were too full to try one of the delectable lavender macaroons. We enjoyed our breakfast all while fighting off wasps and staring in awe at the never-ending sight of lavender before us.
No longer hangry as can be, we made our way ever slowly into the main event: the lavender fields.
I should mention: if you go out to Mayfield lavender to do anything more than just, well, “walk among rows of lavender,” you’ll be rather disappointed. At first, I worried about how long we could feasibly see lavender before Stag was bored. But I needn’t have worried. You’d be surprised how long you can happily walk among nature on a beautiful sunny morning.
Your senses of sight and smell will be tingling the whole time. As expected, lavender perfumes the air everywhere around Mayfield Lavender. And the rolling, seemingly-neverending rows of lavender brings about a sense of calm I rarely feel living in Central London.
We used this opportunity to do a bit of a fashion shoot. Living in Shoreditch, it’s not often I get a backdrop of such beautiful flowers in my outfit posts. I, of course, dreamed of wearing a beautiful sundress for this shoot, wide-brimmed hat in tow, the picture of perfect feminity on a summer’s day among the lavender.
In reality? It was cold, meant to rain later that day, and I have no wide-brimmed hat. Ripped jeans and my trusty white sneaks, it is then.
However, my white shirt from H&M did give me some of those summer feels. It’s that perfect dressy-but-not-too-dressy top, with a boho feel that makes me wish I was at a festival. Or in a lavender field.
When the sun came out a bit more, we stopped for a seat next to one of the food-truck-cafes nestled in the lavender. I made friends with a ladybug (or ‘ladybird,’ as the Brits call it. SO WEIRD). He loved my favourite Wood/Grey round basket bag as much as I do. He’s probably a blogger.
We ended our visit with a quick trip to the gift shop. Stag picked out some lavender fudge; me, a bouquet of fresh lavender to try at home. By this point, the place was heaving with visitors and tourists. If you decide to make the trip, make sure to go in the morning, when it’s quieter and more peaceful.
A London bucket list item ticked off (ticking things off a list gives me life). But, even better, a fresh, beautiful morning surrounded by nature. What better way to spend a summer’s weekend?
Have you been to Mayfield Lavender? Do you have lavender fields in your area? Londoners: what’s on your London bucket list?