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Nestled on the banks of the Thames in west London, Richmond is a riverside gem that offers historic houses, superb shopping and one of London’s biggest green spaces (with deer freely roaming around!). Easily accessible from central London, Richmond is one of our favourite west London spots and we genuinely discover something new each time we visit.
Here is our guide to the top things to do in Richmond:
Things to do in Richmond
1. Richmond Park
One of London’s eight Royal Parks with a whopping 2500 acres of parkland to explore, for us, Richmond Park is a peaceful place to roam or cycle around for hours at a time without a care in the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll also encounter Richmond’s most famous inhabitants, the deer who roam the park and can often be spotted snoozing in the shade. The last time we visited, they’d set themselves up in the paddock next to the Pen Pond Cafe.
Even if you don’t have a car or bicycle, Richmond Park is walkable from Richmond town and train station. The best route to take is via Richmond Hill Road, so you can also enjoy the Richmond Hill Viewpoint on your walk up. Isabella’s Plantation is also home to woodlands, ponds and a variety of wildlife you won’t see elsewhere in Richmond Park.
2. Richmond Green
Popular with picnicking families (and weekend cricketers), Richmond Green has to be one of the prettiest parks in the whole of London. Nestled amongst the Victorian splendour of Richmond and surrounded by old buildings and pubs, Richmond Green has been a focal point of the area since the Middle Ages, when jousting tournaments were often held here.
Nowadays, although the peace and tranquility can be disturbed by the overhead flight path (Heathrow is in the vicinity), Richmond Green is used by lots of locals as a meeting point as there is lots of shade and all the main shops and bars are very close by.
3. Church Court and Church Walk
Church Walk in Richmond is located just off the main George Street thoroughfare and is a cute, cobbled street home to a nice Fullers pub – The Angel and Crown, with an outdoor area within Church Walk itself.
In addition there are several independent shops such as The Alligator’s Mouth childrens book shop. Continue through to Church Walk to see the St Mary Magdalene Church in all its glory.
4. Richmond Riverside and Richmond Bridge
The riverside at Richmond is also its star attraction, people meet here in their hundreds on warm sunny days, with ample space to sit on the lawns or benches, plus lots of neighbouring bars and restaurants overlooking the water. There is also a Richmond Farmer’s / Duck Pond Market held every Saturday near to the river.
If you want to head out on the water and row, row row your boat merrily down the Thames, you can hire a boat from the boathouses beneath Richmond Bridge. Alternatively, you can peddle along the towpath all the way to Twickenham or beyond by hiring a bike from the punnily titled ‘Blazing Saddles Bike Hire (great name!)
5. Richmond Laneways – Brewers Lane and Golden Court
There are two equally charming laneways worthy of your time in Richmond, both leading to Richmond Green from George Street – Brewer’s Lane and Gold Court. They each have cafes, pubs (the Prince’s Head is a particularly nice pub) and sweet treat stalls hidden down their narrow lanes and are a nice traffic free diversion, away from the smog of the high street.
6. Old Palace Lane / White Swan Pub Richmond
Village life in the heart of Richmond, the Old Palace Lane, accessible from Richmond Green or the riverside, is home to a host of cute cottages covered in wisteria (giving Fulham Palace a run for its money in the wisteria hysteria stakes). It also has a charming and cosy inn bedecked with flowers, the White Swan Pub.
7. Richmond Pubs
Richmond has lots of bars and pubs to drink in, from sunny riverside spots to outdoor terraces overlooking Richmond Green. The best pubs in Richmond include:
The White Cross
A Victorian boozer situated right on the River Thames, with a beer garden and terraces overlooking the water. It can get incredibly busy in the summer so arrive early if you want to bag a prime outdoor spot.
One of Richmond’s oldest inns, a pretty pub overlooking Richmond Green built in the 1770s, getting its name from the cricketing activity that takes on the green – ‘howzat for a delightful drinking spot?
We’d recommend the Roebuck for its incredible views of the river from Richmond Hill – the fact they serve cold beer is purely a bonus for us.
Richmond Piano & Pitcher
A chain pub that makes up for its so-so service with good views of Richmond River, especially if you bag one of the coveted balconies, like we did in the picture below.
8. Richmond Terrace Gardens and Richmond Hill Viewing Point
High on the hill overlooking Richmond and the River Thames, you’ll come across Richmond Terrace Gardens, a public free to visit park with lots of colourful flowers in the summer, a greenhouse and cafe but most importantly, wonderful views of the river and surrounding meadows.
Richmond Hill Viewing Point
Head to the very top of Richmond Terrace Gardens (or walk the steep slope up Richmond Hill from the town centre) and you’ll discover a lovely shaded spot with lots of park benches and a superb viewing point where you can see all the boats on the river and aerial views of such spots as Ham House.
Enjoy the views even more by grabbing a pint from the aforementioned Roebuck Pub located right next to the Richmond Hill Viewing Point and supping it on one of the benches here.
9. Richmond shops
Richmond High Street is a good mix of chain and independent stores – you’ll certainly find all your retail needs here, from organic goodness at Whole Foods Richmond through to the beautifully dressed Petersham nurseries, a 10 minute from Richmond High Street.
Whilst visiting Richmond Hill Viewpoint on our most recent trip, we discovered Bramble & Moss, an elegant florist with a beautifully laid out store and sublime store front.
10. Richmond Cinemas
There are two main Richmond cinemas – the larger more mainstream cinema in Richmond is the 7 screen Odeon Richmond (72 Hill Street, Richmond). If you’re after more independent or arthouse films, the Curzon Richmond is nearby, tucked down Water Lane.
11. Richmond Theatre
Overlooking Richmond Green and entertaining Londoners with all manner stage shows and their annual pantomimes for over a century, Richmond Theatre opened in 1899 and is one of the best preserved Victorian theatres in the whole of London (Grade II listed).
12. Richmond River Walk to Twickenham via Marble Hill House and Orleans House Gallery
If you are planning to make a day of your trip to the Richmond area, one option once you’ve finished exploring Richmond is to walk along the banks of the Thames to Twickenham and continue your journey from there.
Along the 3 mile journey (all very flat), you’ll see Marble Hill House and Park, home to its very own White House, namely a Paladian villa built in the 18th century by King George II for his mistress Herietta Howard – admission fees apply.
You’ll walk past the Orleans House Gallery as well, a recently restored art gallery located close to the water’s edge, another former Palladian villa built in 1710
13. Ham Village and Ham House
Nearby to Richmond you’ll find the charming village of Ham and Ham House, one of London’s finest historic houses, built in the early 1600s and boasting one of the most ornate gardens in the country. Read our full guide to things to do in Ham here >
Transport links with Richmond are all really easy as it connects with the Underground and Overground trains along with a mainline train station meaning you can get here with no difficulties from pretty much any part of London.
Richmond Station is also within walking distance of all of the Richmond attractions listed in this article, plus amongst all the main bars and restaurants. Most buses to connecting destinations stop outside Richmond Station too.
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