Lately some of my favourite things are flowers, and purple, and summer. So when I learned about Mayfield Lavender Farm, I thought my birthday had come early.
Last week, my housemate told me she was off to cycle to the lavender fields. I had no idea what she was talking about - it sounded like she was travelling to Narnia. She told me to Google her destination and so I did, and it turns out that she did go to a sort-of magical world.
Mayfield Lavender Farm is located just outside of Banstead in northern Surrey, just before the farmlands and the big skies give way to greyness and dust and regular bus routes and...Croydon.
I knew nothing about it, which is sort of strange given my penchant for searching high and low for a beautiful, brightly coloured photo opportunity.
The very next week, as soon as there was a sunny day, I roadtripped my way out to Banstead, which is only 30 minutes from my house it turns out, and went to see the great purple meadow for myself. I took my Mum along for the ride, and we both got lost amid rows and rows and rows and rows of sweet smelling, bee-attracting organic lavender, all spread out underneath a big blue sky and a smattering of wonderful cirrus and little puffy cumulus clouds.
I lay upside down between the rows, getting covered in straw, and photographed the sky.
Lavender blooms in late June, so by the time we arrived, in late July, the world had quite literally turned purple.
At the farm shop on the corner of the site, there was even purple bunting and purple paper cups from which to sip lavender Earl Grey while eating lavender cupcakes (surprisingly delicious) under big purple umbrellas.
Mayfield stretches over 25 acres and is a family owned and run farm. Their lavender is organic - they don't use any chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides to grow it.
You can't pick your own lavender but you can buy it in bunches at the farm shop for £4 each (or 3 bunches for £10)
The farm is open between 9am and 6pm every day during the summer months. It's free to visit, although parking will cost you £2.
We wandered around in the lavender for a couple of hours, becoming increasingly relaxed, until both of us decided we could do with a nap!
The calming properties of lavender are well known, with the herb often used to organically treat the effects of anxiety and depression, including insomnia.
It also has a whole host of other brilliant health benefit type properties that I didn't know about. It can act as pain relief, an antidote to an upset stomach and many more things - read about them here.
Mayfield Lavender Farm also run an annual photography competition on their web site. I certainly wasn't the only one wandering around with a camera (or three) that day, but I thought I'd have a shot at it anyway!
It was a lovely couple of hours and I definitely hope to go back soon. I'm an advocate of travel adventures not necessarily meaning you have to go far from your front door, and this is a perfect example of a smaller road trip adventure that will stick in my mind forever.
You can see more of my photos from our lavender adventure at my Flickr page.