So I went and did the very thing everyone is doing, purely because I’m terrified of missing out and I needed that picture, and that hue, on my feed.
What did I do, you ask? I went to a lavender field.
Truth be told, I researched this thoroughly to ensure 1) we were not stepping on someone’s property illegally; 2) we were supporting the local economy, and 3) it didn’t break the bank. Enter Mayfield Lavender Farm, the arch popular, family-owned farm featured in basically every single influencer’s Instagram account.
Spending the day in the fields has been one of the highlights of the summer. I bonded with a good friend and had the chance to be silly and take cute pictures, but also I had the time to think about the way we act in “Instagrammable” destinations.
Instagram has changed the way we travel
Nowadays it seems we let geotags rule our itinerary. We’re desperate to comply with what us Spanish people call #postureo and get a unique shot that portrays us as something we aren’t – be that richer, more interesting or better travelled. It’s really all just make-belief. It’s the culture we’ve built around the figure of the Influencer via the democratic power of the Like.
Travelling is about impressing strangers online as much as nurturing our knowledge of the world. It gives us satisfaction to literally see people’s approval of our activity – even if it’s fleeting and lasts less than half a second. According to our social media, our lives are curated aspirational posters and our friends, props to demonstrate our popularity and busyness.
This is not to say that posting pictures of your holidays and day-trips with friends is to be discouraged. Our society now involves a certain type of creativity that’s accessible – and coachable – to everyone. I’m starting to appreciate more and more the talent in developing an interesting social media feed. After all, we all like good content and even better if we know the protagonists by first and last names.
Influencers taking pictures there doesn’t make it OK
I’m not the first one to say this, and I won’t be the last one either. If there’s a fence between you and a waterfall, there’s a reason. If a field looks like a farm, smells like a farm and has people working in it – it’s probably a farm and you should not assume it’s ok to rampage around.
As travellers and content creators (we all are, see above), it is our duty to give credit where credit is due. Finding a gorgeous location and posting about it online is fine, as long as you request permission from the owner/workers. If it’s a public place, make sure you respect local rules and protocols – and that you demonstrate so in your online life, too. Just because an influencer has posted an image in a secluded place, it doesn’t mean you’re able to. Do your research and make the call that feels right.
There are people who want to enjoy beautiful places offline
Instagrammable locations mostly become so due to their genuine beauty. The more I travel and experience these places with my own eyes, the more I understand why they’ve become small pilgrimages. And yet, we forget that they are beautiful on their own right – with or without social media.
There are people who are happy simply soaking it in. In the case of the lavender fields, I saw a few families who were content with letting their toddlers get lost in between the flowery bushes and the trigger friendly visitors. I saw a group of friends hiding in a secluded corner having a chat and enjoying time off. All of these experiences are as valid and important as the desire to capture a landscape and it should be respected as such.
All things considered, it was one of the best days of the year. My friend and I had a lovely day together, we posed and cheered each other on; we found each other’s best angles and acted like teenagers. The last time I spent so much time taking pictures with my friends, I was seventeen. There’s a special joy in being silly and making your friends show their beauty. So Instagram or not, Lavender Fields are a godsend.
Visiting Mayfield Lavender Farm
The second you enter the farm, you’ll want to take out your camera or phone and start taking pictures. The place is so beautiful that it seems there isn’t a bad angle, and it’s delightfully adorned with props such as an empty phone booth or a tractor. Of course, taking pictures is a big thing at Mayfield Lavender Farm.
Don’t be afraid to be silly and take all the cute pictures you’ve wanted to – but be mindful of the flowers. Aim to get there early since most visitors arrive around or just after noon.
You can drive there if you have access to a car, although the parking lot filled up very quickly and there was a long queue to get in. The most practical way to visit the fields is via public transport.
From London, take a train from Waterloo to Clapham Junction, and then board a train to Horsham and get off at Coulsdon South. From there, follow the signs to the centre of town and you’ll see a Tesco – there’s a bus stop opposite where bus 166 will pick you up and take you right to the lavender bushes.
How much to budget
There’s an entry fee of £2.50 and you can pay both by card or cash. Make sure you’re ready to spend some money on food and treats, too; both at the restaurant and the shop. I’d recommend splurging on a lavender-infused scone – but beware of the bees!Follow my blog with Bloglovin