South London has gradually been absorbing the outlying areas of the city for centuries, and now encompasses the boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Greenwich, even stretching as far as Sutton. This gives the South of London a diverse identity, formed from a mishmash of other districts and counties, with some areas having the impression of a distinctive, almost country feel.
Nevertheless, the region is home to a variety of historic parks and palaces, including the opulent Hampton Court and the beautiful Greenwich Park. This can make it dangerous for hayfever sufferers as some sections of the area are definitely less urbanised than the other regions of London, giving rise to a higher pollen count during the spring and summer months.
London Plane will always be a common allergen for most Londoners, but in the South of London, oak is another major player.
However, coming into August, the pollination season for oak should be gradually declining, offering some respite for those that are susceptible to this particular type of pollen. Many different types of weeds are still pollinating during this month though, making it advisable to avoid large areas of grassland or forests.
The South of London is chockfull of beautiful and serene parks, making it a magnet for pollen allergens and a trial if you suffer from hayfever. This part of London is not as urbanised as its other counterparts, with boroughs lying very close to neighbouring counties, sitting on the outermost parts of the city. This means that more greenery can grow unrestricted, so you should try to be aware and prepared when entering peak pollination periods.
Crystal Palace Park: Once a Victorian pleasure park, the Crystal Palace Park was opened to the public in 1856 and, for a price, people were welcome to explore the gardens, mazes and lake, as well as the numerous education displays, including full scale replicas of dinosaurs. Since then, the iconic Crystal Palace that was once the garden’s crowning jewel was unfortunately burned down during a fire in 1936. Today though, the park is still a thriving hub of learning, complete with a children’s farm and sports centre. However, if you suffer from hayfever it might be worth avoiding this place as the park is saturated with pollen from nearby oak trees and the surrounding grassy fields
Greenwich Park: Another one of London’s eight Royal Parks, Greenwich is home to the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum. The oldest of the eight Parks, Greenwich dates back to the 15th century when it was gifted to Henry V’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester. Today the park stretches over 13 acres and contains a multitude of flower gardens, playgrounds, deer parks and even the Queen’s Orchard. It should go without saying that this park is a buzzing hive for pollinating insects and plants, with a wide abundance of fruit trees as well as the usual suspects like silver birch, ash, cedar, oak and sycamore
Kennington Park: Built on the site of the Kennington Commons, once a place of execution almost as grim as Tyburn, the park was later used as a great place of public speaking, with orators sometimes drawing in crowds of tens of thousands. It was opened to the public in 1854 and has endured ever since, playing host to cricket matches and flower festivals. Kennington is not for those with sensitive noses and itchy eyes, however, as the park has a vast collection of trees, including the infamous London Plane and species of cedar, ash and hornbeam
Burgess Park: Burgess Park stands on what was once a highly urbanised area, later transformed into a place of fauna and wildlife. Named after the first female mayor of Camberwell, the park was opened in 1973, although in some areas building works still remain incomplete. Every year in August, Burgess Park hosts the largest celebration of Latin-American culture in Europe, the Carnival Del Pueblo, and remains popular with locals and visitors alike thanks to its selection of playgrounds, picnic areas and its BMX track. Take caution though, as pollen allergens are ever present in this place and more than likely to aggravate your hayfever symptoms
Richmond Park: The largest of London’s Royal Parks, Richmond has similar origins to many of the great parks in London, having originally been acquired for the Royal Family as a hunting ground by Charles I. The park was gradually opened to the public and is now considered one of the loveliest outdoor attractions in London, home to ornamental gardens, elegant lodges and a range of sporting facilities. It is also a beacon for pollen, containing one of the largest collections of ancient trees in England, including birches, witch-hazels and oaks
Hampton Court Palace: Hampton court was built on the ambitions of Cardinal Wolsey, the Archbishop of York and a favoured courtier of Henry VIII who later fell out of the King’s graces. Wolsey desire Hampton to be the most luxurious palace in all of England and the royal residence managed to retain that status for centuries, bearing witness to the death of Jane Seymour and the birth of her son, Prince Edward, later observing the arrest of Jane’s eventual successor Katherine Howard and acting as a prison for Charles I. The Palace was rebuilt by joint monarchs William and Mary, in an effort to keep up with the French fashions of Versailles and as a result, very little remains of the original gardens. Today, Hampton is open to the public, and is popular with families due to its sprawling gardens, including the famous Hampton Maze, the Magic Garden and the Privy Garden. Ticket prices generally start at around £21 for adults but it might be worth keeping your money in your bag as this place will definitely be saturated in allergens and pollen.
If you suffer from hayfever in the south of London, then you might feel as though you are being enclosed on all sides, with the threat of gardens and parks ever present. There are many different ways of keeping yourself occupied though, especially when it comes to trying to find family-friendly activities or a good day out.
The Royal Observatory: The Royal Observatory in London was opened in 1676 at the behest of King Charles the II. Since then it has served as a fascinating place of learning, where visitors can gain an insight into the cosmos and enjoy a variety of planetarium shows, giving you an understanding and appreciation of the wider universe. If you can suffer the walk through Greenwich Park, the Observatory is open daily from 10pm and contains plenty of interactive elements that are sure to keep children of all ages entertained
Croydon Clocktower: The Croydon Clocktower is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside, housing a variety of indoor attractions such as the Museum of Croydon – a small but fascinating venue showcasing a range of artefacts with historical and local value – as well as the David Lean Cinema and Croydon’s Central Library. With such picturesque scenery and beautiful surroundings, you will find it easy to whittle away the time in this cultural landmark
Bentall Centre: The Bentall Centre in Kingston-upon-Thames is a mecca for fashionistas and the style-conscious, containing an impressive variety of high-street and designer brands, such as Ted Baker, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger and Paul Smith. The shopping centre was originally built on the site of a popular department store but was later remodelled, stretching over four floors with a ceiling so high that it rivals the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Opening times are typically between 0930-1800, with later hours on Thursdays and Saturdays
Maltby Street Market: If your tummy’s rumbling or you’ve got a thirst to quench, then the Maltby Street Market should be just up your street, with artisans, local talent and foodies gathering from all over to serve up a range of delectable pastries, delicious sweets and a mouth-watering assortment of street-food. This is a great place to visit if you enjoy different types of cuisines or are looking for something tasty to bring back to your loved ones. The market is open on weekends, generally running until the late afternoon, with the opening times varying slightly on a Sunday.
It can be very disheartening when your hayfever symptoms persist, despite your best efforts to avoid allergens and minimise your contact with pollen.
Hope is at hand though, for you probably have an A.Vogel stockist in your area that can supply you with Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets and Luffa nasal spray. Our products are available in most high street stores like Holland and Barretts, but there is also a supplier near Greenwich Park, called Greenlands. The Sheel Pharmacy near Lewisham station is also equipped with our range, as is Krisons Chemist on New Cross Road.
What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your hayfever symptoms. While anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods can help control your symptoms, foods containing dairy and foods rich in sugar can actually make them worse.