A Surrey day out with kids to Mayfield Lavender Fields
We are very fortunate to live in greater London, with easy access to the centre of the capital as well as the beautiful countryside of the Surrey Hills. This means that when we fancy a day out with kids we can choose from city offerings like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and The Science Museum, or immerse ourselves in nature with a trip to the farm or a walk in the woods.
Last weekend we fancied an outdoor exploration and headed to nearby Mayfield Lavender farm. The huge field is packed with rows of fragrant lavender and it is the perfect opportunity to take family photos with a scenic backdrop. However, Mr. LTF was in Liverpool on a business trip so I was flying solo with the kids. I wanted to surprise him with some lovely photos of the three of them, but it became apparent as soon as we parked up that this was going to be one of those doomed and regrettable trips where everything goes wrong.
We got our ticket from the friendly parking attendant (a grand total of £1; adults are a quid, children are free) and walked about 100m from the car into the middle of the field. It really is very beautiful and the scent is gorgeous; I can imagine it would be perfect for wedding and engagement pics.
When we reached the centre of the farm, our car became offended by a wasp hovering by the wing mirror and activated the alarm. We walked back to the car, turned the alarm off and returned to our photo spot. I turned to suggest to the kids that they explored the flowers while I took photos, and promptly found our eldest daughter laying on the ground, looking pained and scratching her legs with both hands.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m so itchy,” she wailed, her legs coming up in little white bumps.
I looked to where she’d just walked and saw stinging nettles lining the row of lavender. Fabulous. Nothing like a stinging rash to inject some atmosphere into a day out with kids. As I bent down to help her up, I heard a shriek and saw middle child clutch her arm, her face screwing up in pain. She’d been stung too.
The baby had already had enough of being carried and was wrestling herself out of my arms. I’m all for building resilience but flinging infants into stinging nettles is a bit much even for me, so I tried to keep a grip with one arm whilst comforting the crying 3 year old and attempting to peel the older one off the floor. It was idyllic. Meanwhile, a bronzed family wearing matching white outfits posed a few metres away for a professional photographer and a deeply in-love couple took selfies a few rows across from us.
Eventually everyone calmed down enough to have a short walk through the field. I didn’t get one superb, Pinterest-worthy pic but then again I’ve heard reality is next to godliness, or something. I like to keep it real, and the snaps I did get will remind me that we can have bad days and come out the other end smiling.
And in a few years when ours are old enough to go more than two minutes without maiming themselves with leaves, that smug lovey dovey couple from the lavender field might be tearing toddlers out of stinging nettles and deciding that blurry phone pics of their kids at the park will do, after all.
Travel journalists, home educating our lovely brood of 3 girls. Planning a year-long RTW trip late Summer 2017.