There's a certain beauty behind returning to a destination you've already been to. It makes you see the place anew and in some cases, pushes you to wander away from the familiar and explore other local gems instead.
For me and my family, it was the latter, as we found ourselves in London for the second time. Having been to most of the city's must-visit attractions the first time round, we made a unanimous and rather spontaneous decision to visit the Mayfield Lavender Farm located in Banstead, a town just 24km from Central London.
Joined by my uncle and a close family friend, we thought it'd be a good idea to grab a bite to eat before heading to the farm since the location seemed slightly off the beaten track and we weren't sure if there'd be any nearby restaurants (a good call on our part as there turned out to be no eateries in the vicinity except for an al fresco cafe on site!).
So, we settled for lunch at Noodle Oodle in Bayswater, a halal-certified Chinese restaurant serving freshly made hand-pulled noodles. Also known for their roast specialty dishes, we couldn't pass up the chance of tasting their roasted duck, which I must say was absolutely delicious!
Once we were done eating, it was time to make our way to the lavender farm. From Bayswater Station, we took the London Underground (also known simply as the Tube) to Victoria Station. Then, we hopped onto the London Overground headed for West Croydon and enjoyed the scenery throughout the one-hour train ride.
Alighting at Epsom, we made a short walk to the bus station by the clocktower, boarded bus no. 166 and within 15 minutes, were dropped off right at the gate leading to Mayfield Lavender Farm.
The entrance fee costed £2.50 per person but the visual feast that greeted us as we stepped closer to the field was beyond priceless.
The blooming sea of purple spread across acres upon acres of land was no doubt one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. Not only was it a sight for the eyes but the smell of fresh lavender was such a treat too!
Completely mesmerized by this gorgeous scene, all phones, cameras and selfie sticks were immediately whipped out as the six of us excitedly ventured into the rows of flowers.
Tip: The best time to visit Mayfield Lavender Farm is from early July to late August when the field's in full bloom. However, the weather can influece this, so I would recommend checking their website as they provide live updates on the blossoming.
While we were lucky to have visited the lavender farm during its peak season for a full bloom experience, it also meant enjoying it along with large crowds of visitors. Taking pictures wasn't an easy task as we often captured random groups of people in the background.
So, we wandered further up into the fields and stayed on the right side of the farm (when facing away from the entrance) where it was less crowded. This definitely helped our photo taking process and with a little bit of patience, we were lucky to get some pictures that seemed like we had the entire place to ourselves.
We also took the opportunity to pose with the props available on site like a huge tractor and England's iconic red phone booth! These made our photos all the more special and I highly suggest for anyone visiting the lavender farm not to miss out on these.
- Face away from the entrance and make the sky your backdrop instead of the crowds of people arriving at the farm.
- Place your subject or yourself in between two rows of lavender and snap from a lower angle. This will help if you're trying to avoid capturing other people in your frame.
- Wear something that will complement the flowers like lighter shades (white & pastels) or darker colours (red & black).
After a good 3 hours of filling up our cameras and phones with memories at the farm, we started making the journey back to the city as the sun began to set. Our half day trip to this scenic gem was a definite highlight of our time in London and has easily become one of our top favourite places for a seasonal experience.