10 things to see and do in Richmond
- Credit: Archant
Famous for its park and royal connections, and recently named one of the best places in the UK to live, there’s plenty to uncover in this riverside town
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, this is a truly beautiful area with over 2,000 acres for walking, cycling or just having a relaxed picnic. Created in the 17th century by Charles I the park is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. On a clear day, you can spot St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound, and with 600 Red Deer in the park you have fabulous subjects for your camera – but best to use a telephoto lens for this or you may end up with a nasty antler-shaped injury!
Richmond Park Office, Holly Lodge, Richmond Park TW10 5HS
Describing itself as “a place of beauty, an emporium of goods and a celebration of the seasons”, this is a very special place on the edge of Richmond, where the Boglione family have crafted a nursery with a difference. Created in the grounds of Petersham House, the business has grown and expanded into a place where you can browse, dine in style and take part in workshop events.
Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond. TW10 7AB
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Built in 1899 as the Theatre Royal and Opera House and designed by the famous theatre architect Frank Matcham, this Grade II Listed building is renowned for being one of the most successful theatres in the country. Part of the Ambassador Group of theatres with booking available online.
The Green, Richmond TW9 1QJ
We know our Surrey Life readers enjoy the little oddities we find, so if you are in Richmond, it really is worth a quick couple of miles drive out to this completely bizarre mausoleum in the churchyard of St Mary’s. Not the famous actor we hasten to add, but the Victorian explorer who died in 1890. He and his wife now lay buried in a stone reconstruction of a Bedouin tent decorated with Islamic crescents and stars. And it gets better – if you pop around the back, you can peer through a glass plate to see the coffins of the two occupants surrounded by a collection of lamps and helmets!
St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church, 61, North Worple Way, Mortlake SW14 8PR
There are few people who haven’t heard of these famous gardens. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kew has the largest and most diverse collection of plants in the world. If you enjoy anything to do with gardening this is the one place you have to have on your bucket list. There is The Hive, a multi-sensory “bee” experience, the Marianne North Gallery of paintings by this celebrated Victorian artist, a treetop walkway and of course, the famous recently restored pagoda which stands watching over these magnificent grounds. Don’t forget the camera!
Richmond TW9 3AE
There are those who, similar to wine buffs, treat cheese as an experience to revel in, carefully describing flavours and textures as if sampling a fine Bordeaux. This delightful little independent, perched above a leafy road into the town, probably has every cheese you could name off the top of your head. With cheese masterclasses every month and hampers, biscuits and chutneys as well, that block of Cheddar from the supermarket just won’t do ever again. Surrey Life cheese tip: go for a piece of Gubbeen – an Irish number that is just heavenly.
74, Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UB
We’ve done the cheese, now for the Ham. Owned by The National Trust, Ham is a 17th century Stuart house set on the banks of the River Thames. This magnificent building has a superb collection of paintings, furniture and textiles collected by the Duchess of Lauderdale whose father, William Murray, was a close companion of King Charles I. There is a gift shop, an orangery café with home cooked food and a string of events.
Ham Street, Richmond TW10 7RS
Perfect for a pint after a wander around the park is this splendid pub near the top of Richmond Hill. With food, drink and entertainment – there are live performances of the best emerging artists every second Thursday – the Lass is a perfect venue if you’re visiting the town. Menus change daily but as an example you can try the Lass burger with cheese and ale onions, the Barnsley lamb chop or a slow cooked short rib bourguignon. They’re fond of their puddings here too – who could refuse a warm treacle tart with clotted cream?
8, Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JJ
Turks can trace its origins back over 300 years of building and operating pleasure boats in the area. With Richmond sitting fairly and squarely on the Thames, you just have to take a trip on this most famous waterway. St Helena Pier, on Richmond Riverside, is a private boarding point right next to The White Cross pub (handy for a quick tot of rum perhaps) where you can hop on, buy your ticket on board and watch the world go by while you cruise along to Kingston (one hour) or Hampton Court (one hour 45 mins). Plenty of sailings from 11am Tuesday to Sunday.
Town End Pier, 68, High Street, Kingston Upon Thames KT1 1HN
Another intriguing place we’ve found for you right in the middle of Richmond is this delightful little factory that makes the famous poppy worn by millions each Remembrance Day. Established in 1922, the Poppy Factory is still an independent charity that provides work for wounded, injured and sick ex-service men and women. Tours last two hours and are available in groups of 10 to 35 people when you will be shown around the factory, including making your own poppy. Tours are free but donations welcome. Book via the website where you can download all the information.