The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s a quintessential Provencal scene, blue sky overhead and rich purple fields to the horizon, maybe pull over your deux chevaux and have an impromptu picnic of freshly cooked baguette and brie and a glass or two of rosé. And then afterwards, perhaps head to Croydon IKEA… Because we’re not in Aix en Provence, we’re in Carshalton. Lavender is long associated with the South of France, but it turns out that London has a long history in the stuff; before it was the home of young professionals Battersea’s Lavender Hill was awash with mauve, and in season the budding Insta famous only needs to jump on a train, tram or bus to catch lavender fields within striking distance of town.

So here are some places to head to make the most of London lavender season…

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What’s the weather like where you are? I’ve heard some crazy high numbers in America. Hope everyone is keeping cool and safe. Meanwhile in Britain… Rain! 🌧 So the fine folks at Castle Farm in Kent are now starting the annual lavender harvest. Note: They are not at this stage yet so you have time to visit with loads of lavender on show this weekend. Love this shot by @dimitar_hr . Apparently, storms are bad news for lavender at this time of the season as all the flowers, heavy with oil, can get hit by raindrops and fall to the floor. Ahh I do love that tudor-framed building and in the background the almost endless purple fields. . Castle Farm is busy 1,100 acre farm that has been in the Alexander family for over a century. The farm has crops of wheat, barley, rapeseed, hops, apples, lavender and a large herd of beef cattle. The original lavender plants the family started with came from France and, rather in the same way that English wine growers have proven that certain grapes can do very well in some English soils – it turns out that the Alexanders and their chalky Kentish ground at Castle Farm are now producing such quality lavender oil that they are exporting it back to France! Awkward. . Have a lovely Friday! Super shot by @dimitar_hr 🇬🇧 To be featured, follow and tag us! 🇬🇧

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Castle Farm, Kent

Just outside the M25, Orpington way, lies Kent’s Castle Farm. The family run farm produces hops, apples and lavender, all Kentish staples, and the lavender makes for a perfect Instagram post. You can also take advantage of the farm’s Hop Shop, where you can buy all manner of farm-shoppy products.

Castle Farm, Redmans Lane, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7UB

Mayfield Lavender

It feels a little incongruous that suburban Carshalton would be a lavender hotspot, but it turns out that lavender’s been grown here since Victorian times. Accessible by bus from London (jump on a 166) or train, these rich purple hills could not be easier to get to. There’s also a great shop, letting you stock up on all your lavender needs.

1 Carshalton Road, Banstead, SM7 3JA

Hitchin Lavender

Just north of London, a short train ride out of King’s Cross (or a long one, if Govia Thameslink have anything to do with it), Hertfordshire’s Hitchin Lavender have over 25 miles of lavender rows. Also, check out their 17th century barn, serving lunches and teas as well as selling a large variety of lavender plants and products.

Cadwell Farm, Ickleford, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3UA

Norfolk Lavender

A little further out of town, make a day of it and head to Norfolk. As well as experiencing the best of British countryside, you can enjoy the lavender on an actual lavender tour. The 45 minute tour takes in all the lavender, before ending at the farm’s distillery where the purple plant is turned into lavender oil.

Caley Mill, Norfolk Lavender, Lynn Road, Heacham, PE31 7JE

Carshalton Lavender

Not-for-profit community project Carshalton Lavender occupies just three acres of lavender fields in Surrey’s Carshalton beaches. The collective aim to keep the area’s lavender heritage alive for future generations and are open to the public for their annual harvest weekend at the end of July.

Vauxhall Park

If getting out of London just to take pictures of lavender (or, if there’s anyone doing this not for the ‘Gram and for the actual enjoyment and love of lavender) sounds like too much effort, then take a stroll over to Vauxhall, where there’s an annual lavender maze. Planted by the Vauxhall car company, the lavender’s harvested every summer.

12 Lawn Lane, Vauxhall, SW8 1UA