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Christmas 2013, and it was the longest time I’d spent in London since moving to West Yorkshire. We were down for a couple of weeks for a healthy mix of work and pleasure. It was great to have some quality time with family and friends rather than the usual quick pint here or brief coffee there!

It also gave me the chance to checkout some of my old haunts. One of my favourite “hangouts” was (and is) Bushy Park. Anyone visiting this Royal Park for the first time could be forgiven for thinking they’ve entered a Safari Park.

Visitors will find herds of both Red and Fallow deer, exotic species of duck including the Mandarin and Egyptian Geese, parakeet parrots and a diverse range of traditional British species, including healthy numbers of both Green and Greater Spotted woodpeckers. Highlights from my visits over the years include: Little Owl, Tree Creeper, Stone Chat, Red-Crested Pochard, Tern, Common Toad and numerous bats,  but for me, I’m completely fascinated by the large population of resident Parakeets!

And the appeal of this park just gets better because a stones throw from Bushy Park’s Hampton Court Gate is the 300 year old, dog friendly Kings Arms, providing a good range of real ales and a cosy log fire. It was a real pleasure introducing Alfie to both the park and the pub!