Inner city sailing and a Sunday roast

Here’s the thing: If you live in or around South London, and you have a family, you absolutely must have a Sunday like we’ve just had…

At 11am this Sunday morning we were up at Wimbledon Park Watersports Centre for a birthday party with a difference; a canoeing party. It certainly beat pass the parcel. And afterwards, a five minute drive took us to The Gardeners on Merton Road, Southfields, a stylish, very family friendly pub with a terrific atmosphere, uber-friendly staff and a mega Sunday carvery.

Within minutes of arriving at Wimbledon Park Watersports Centre, the kids were life-jacketed up and having a brief training session before hitting the water
El practices his oar skills
All smiles and ready for the off
The instructors kept the kids safe and took them through all sorts of challenges during their hour on the water
Fresh out of the boat, El prepares for another type of plunge…
We thought the instructor guys were joking when they said the kids could jump off the pier…
…they were deadly serious. This utterly “awesome” (his word, not mine) activity party is £10 per child per hour with a minimum spend of £100
One proud mum, one damp child
Wait…what is this? Sun? Surely not. Time to get some use out of my HUGE new sunglasses (TK Maxx, £10)
I love sequins in the sun (well what else would you wear to watch your son canoeing on a Sunday morning? And nothing better than sequins for a raging hangover)
All that canoeing action gave us a healthy appetite – on to The Gardeners, an exceptionally family friendly pub just around the corner in Southfields
My other half strikes again with his stunning signwriting
The inside (which is freshly refurbished) remains traditional but with lots of quirky touches and someone here has a flair for fun but chic interior design
More artwork courtesy of the old man
Leave your name on the fireplace
The “potting shed” out the back is a small snug area leading to a cute enclosed garden
All dried off (and slightly sulky) the sailor chills with fluffy cushion
See the jacket sparkle in the sultry light of the pub! It’s from Topshop, natch and the green apple necklace is in the Accessorize sale
I don’t usually drink Bloody Marys, but the DIY element caught my eye (the carvery lunch with one of these babies is just £10 – Sunday Bloody Sunday indeed)
The Bucket List is a fab idea if you just want a bar snack, all served in little silver buckets – there’s a kids menu too, free wifi and a large decked seating area at the front
El had picnicked in the park, but he was still keen to try a couple of buckets – the handcut chips were pretty spesh
And home made sausage rolls – mmmmmm
But you couldn’t keep us from the carvery
This, my friends, is the ultimate hangover cure
I won’t forget this beast in a hurry; succulent beef, just the right amount of crunch to the veg, crisp roast potatoes, heavenly stuffing and a Yorkshire-class pudding
Does it make you hungry, baby? Get down to The Gardeners to try this delish feast for yourself
Written by Johanna Payton