I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in London than exploring one of the city’s many neighborhoods. Today my wanderlust has brought me to Richmond, one of southwest London’s most beautiful areas. From a leafy park full of deer to a riverside walk packed with life, this is one of the city’s loveliest villages.
Right at the end of the District Line, Richmond seems like a different world. Stepping out of the station and onto the high street, I feel like I’ve traveled farther than just a tube journey. But I’m still in the city, and the number of people out reminds me I’m also in a popular part of it.
Things to Do in Richmond, London
And its popularity stems from the fact that there are so many things to do in Richmond. From the shops to the river, the green spaces to the lanes, this London neighborhood is packed with opportunities.
The High Street in Richmond
I start my day in Richmond exploring the high street. There are a lot of great stores, restaurants, and cafes here, including chic coffee shops with names like Kiss the Hippo. And that’s to say nothing of all the cute puppies.
The Little Lanes in Richmond
But it’s what comes off the high street that catches most of my attention. Richmond has great little lanes and alleys to explore. From Waterloo Place with is rose-clad cottages to Brewers Lane with its old-world atmosphere, they provide endless pleasant distractions as I make my way into the heart of the area.
And the heart might just be Richmond Green, one of the prettiest places in the neighborhood. The park hosted jousting competitions in the Middle Ages, and today I take in a cricket match as I walk along the border.
Richmond Green is lined with some of the prettiest brick houses in London. The details on their facades and the vines growing up around them are a delight to take in.
The green is also home to historic pubs like The Cricketers, which dates back to 1770, and the Richmond Theatre, which has been hosting performances since 1899.
The Thames in Richmond
From the park I make my way to the river. Richmond is on the Thames, and one of the highlights of any visit is spending time on the waterfront. Or in the water, for that matter. From kayaking to boating and ferry rides, there’s no shortage of ways to get waterborne here.
Even the drinking establishments sometimes end up in the water. The entrance to The White Cross pub—one of the best riverside pubs in London—is famous for getting partially submerged at high tide.
Safe from the tide up the large waterfront steps, I discover the Duck Pond Markets, which have food on Saturdays and artisan goods on Sundays. I walk around the food market, taking in the aroma of freshly cooked sausages and the sight of fresh pastries as I go.
There are more places to eat along the Thames, but I’m here to walk. The Thames Path runs along the river here, and I’m going to follow it for a mile or so to Ham House.
Ham House is a 17th-century stately home on the Thames. Beautiful inside and out, it also has extensive gardens to discover.
I spend a few hours at Ham House taking in the rich interiors with paintings by Van Dyck and intricately carved wooden staircases.
Outside I wander through the grounds, marveling at the Cherry Garden’s manicured hedges and perfect symmetry.
The Wilderness Garden has a lot of secrets, and every time I round a corner I discover a hidden path or secluded gazebo. There’s even a kitchen garden with edible flowers to taste and raspberries coming into season.
Back on the Thames Path, the obvious place to go is Richmond Park. It’s one of the biggest green spaces in London, and the neighborhood is famous for it. But I’ve explored the park on previous visits and my legs are tired from my day of walking around the area. I decide to leave it for a future trip.
Because there will be a future trip soon. Every time I come to Richmond I’m reminded why I love it here. From the high street to the lanes, the green spaces to the stately homes, this London neighborhood has everything I love all in one place. And what a place it is.
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