Go for an evening stroll through Regent’s Park, and you won’t be alone: the millennials are massing in the warmth and sunshine of London, hanging out, having fun, playing games. Often caricatured as a generation obsessed with technology, millennials -- we twenty somethings -- are of course constantly attached to our phones and addicted to social media. The trouble is, it’s not quite true; look up from your iPhone for a moment and there we are, the same as everyone else, determined to enjoy the summer and be at one with nature.
The UK has welcomed summer with open arms. It starts officially -- meteorologically -- at the beginning of June, or if you’re into the summer solstice, on June 21st. Actually, there was a heatwave in May so either way, it’s warm and sunny and summer has arrived. And despite the country’s reputation for rain, it’s not that surprising: London is drier than both Rome and Brisbane, with fewer days of rain every year than Paris.
Regent’s Park is just one of the ten Royal Parks of London. It sits at the top of Baker Street and Regent’s Street, just under Primrose Hill and Camden town. Bang in the middle of a residential area, it is one of the larger parks, taking up 166 hectares of central London. It is less well known than Hyde Park and St James’s Park which are closer to Buckingham Palace and serve as large tourist attractions in their own right.
Regent’s Park features not only carefully sculpted flower gardens and bits of small wilderness, but is also home to ZSL London Zoo, and various sports facilities and pitches. It boasts four children’s playgrounds. It is used by Londoners rather than tourists.
Close to two different universities, it is not surprising that Regent’s Park attracts the millennial generation. The University of Westminster has a campus on Regent Street whilst Regent’s University London is in the park itself. A prime and central location for young people to meet, it’s got lots of space for games and group activities. A large group gathered in St James’s Park is more likely to be considered a nuisance. The paths are filled with runners and cyclists, and the pitches crowded with teams.
Yet it is the unorganised, casual games that create the idyllic summer evening feel. The most popular game is rounders, a relaxed variation of baseball. All that is needed is a bat and a ball. Ingenuity comes in handy too as makeshift bases are created from hats, jumpers and bags. Rounders is relaxed, fun and sociable.
The game is popular in primary schools and serves as a reminder to millennials of simpler times, not that long ago. Players can relive childhood summer memories while creating new ones. There is no need to feel that sunny afternoons have been wasted in the office or library, when the afternoon extends into a sunny evening.