London may be something of a concrete jungle, but wide open spaces are not far away and there are some outstanding areas of natural beauty to explore on a day or half day out of town. This week we'll show you some of what's on offer with a trip to the Epsom Downs!
Epsom is a charming town, in south-west London, which is best known for being the home of the Epsom Downs Racecourse and the world-famous derby, originated from 1779, which runs each year, the first Saturday of June. And home, too, to our intern Veronica! She loves living slightly out of London and the weekend wheeling that the Epsom area has to offer.
To follow her route, set off from the town’s train station (you can get there via numerous direct trains from Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge) towards Dorking Road. If you feel like having an energy drink to start with, we recommend Organico, a lovely health & coffee shop, located near the start point.
From Dorking Road, head towards Chalk Lane, an originally calcareous road that will take you all the way down to Epsom Downs. Be prepared to say hello to all the horse riders (and their beautiful steeds!) passing up and down.
At the bottom of Chalk Lane you will come across a famous pub from 17th century, The Amato, named after the horse that won the 1838 derby on its first and only race! Not only can you quench your thirst with a refreshing beer, but you can also see all the derby winners’ horseshoes mounted inside the pub, along with other equine artefacts.
At the end of the lane you will enter Epsom Downs area, which offers both beautiful surroundings and great cycle paths. One loop of the racecourse will take just 15 minutes (2.0 miles) and it’s suitable for both road and off-road bikes. We recommend going for an off-road bike though, especially if the weather is wet. Hello mud!
You can get 'lost' here for as many hours as you have to spend. If you are lucky and the sun is out, nature's colours will be out in all their glory. You can also sneak a peek at the Queen's Grandstand - where the Queen sits when she heads to Epsom to cheer on her own racehorses.
When twilight tells you that it’s time to head back, follow the same route and, if you have time, stop by The Marquis of Granby pub, in the centre of Epsom. They serve finger-lickingly good burgers and a great variety of beers.