Greenwich Park was a favourite, mostly because it has fantastic grassy hills which are great for rolling down. From where I live you have to cross Blackheath to get to the park which looks like this. I always find it odd to be driving through residential areas and shops one minute and suddenly it all melts away and all you can see is flat, green grass. But the Thames is not far away and the high ground of the heath dips sharply to meet the river not long after you enter Greenwich Park.
There is a fantastic view of the city from the top of the hills. I love the fact I can be sitting in a grassy meadow, the wind blowing the leaves on the branches above my head, and over the other side of the river there is a completely different landscape: glass and stone and steel.
This is where Jake and Serena have their picnic, a little spot called “One Tree Hill”, although it must have been named that a long time ago, because there are plenty of them there now! You can actually see a high-rise council estate from this point, but Ellwood Green (so named because my husband was watching the Blues Brothers when I was wondering what to call it) is a completely fictitious place, although based and bits and pieces of real locations.
Right in the centre of the park on the top of the hill is The Royal Observatory, and a little path below it is where Jake and Serena share their first kiss. Here is the ‘kissing gate’ that Jake gets deliberately stuck in so he can spend more time squashed up against Serena.
And here is the little brass strip in the path that marks the point where the Greenwich meridian – zero degrees longitude – passes through London. I can’t remember a trip to the park where I haven’t stood with one foot on either side of the line, half of me in one hemisphere, half of me in another.