It was around 1820 when Turner painted his now famous view of Richmond Hill. In the years that have passed the view remains very much the same and is just as beautiful. My walk began as I left Richmond train station and headed towards the river.
Slipping down a narrow alley more or less opposite the station brings you out onto a back road but a few hundred yards to the left you’ll see the magnificent Richmond Theatre located on Little Green. Built in 1899 it is one of Frank Matcham’s most beautiful theatres.
After admiring the grade II listed architecture of the Richmond Theatre I walked a little further and on into Richmond Green. Described as “one of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England” Richmond Green is indeed very pretty it’s approximately 12 acres and is essentially square in shape. For over 400 years the green has been edged by houses and commercial premises mainly built to service or provide accommodation for people visiting Richmond Palace. In 1625 Charles I brought his court here to escape the plague in London.
If you’ve got time it’s worth stopping at one of the oldest pubs in Richmond, The Cricketers, if it’s a nice day grab a drink and maybe something to eat, take it outside and watch the world go by.
As you walk around the green stay on the left side and you’ll come to the old gate house from the Richmond Palace, this along with the Trumpeters House and the Wardrobe are the only original buildings that remain from the palace. Built in the early 1700’s the whole area encircles a tranquil and attractive courtyard.
I carried on walking through the narrow and pretty streets heading towards the river passing a lovely little pub on Old Palace Lane called The White Swan, it’s not really on the tourist trail but let me tell you they serve great food here!
Walking straight to the end of the road you’ll come to the river and I think Richmond is on one of the prettiest parts of the Thames. Turn right and you can walk into Kew or left and you’ll come to the Richmond riverside. I turned left and walked towards Richmond Bridge, on the way you’ll pass another pub and riverside favourite the White Cross, it’s got a nice cosy atmosphere on cold days and a great outdoor area for when the weathers warmer.
Carry on for about another 10 minutes along the river and you come to Buccleuch Gardens from there you can use a small underpass to gain access to the Terrace Gardens. Once there you can either spend some time around the gardens or start the walk to the top of Richmond Hill where you’ll see that famous view. If you need a refreshment break there’s a small cafe in the park. It’s a steep walk but believe me it’s worth it for the view from the top.
I just think the view up here is breathtaking so take a seat and take some time to enjoy it.
Next stop for me was Richmond Park, it’s only a few minutes walk and I really wanted to go to see the view from King Henry’s Mound. Entering the park at Richmond Gate you just follow the path that goes to the right and into Pembroke Lodge Gardens, King Henry’s Mound is well signposted. Legend has it that this is where Henry VIII stood on 19th May 1536 to watch a rocket being fired from the Tower of London. It would be the signal that his wife Anne Boleyn had been executed. That story is unlikely to be true and the area was probably a burial chamber from the Bronze Age. On a clear day the view from here stretches all the way to St Paul’s Cathedral in the east and Ham House and the Thames Valley in the west. Depending on how fit you’re feeling will help you decide on how much of Richmond Park you want to see. It’s the largest enclosed space in London. I decided to leave the rest of the park for another time and to head back into the town centre.
Leaving the park at the Richmond Gate (where I entered) I followed the road back to the Terrace Gardens passing the old Star & Garter home on the left, sadly now being turned into luxury flats. I found the best way back into town was to walk down Richmond Hill, great if you’re nosy like me as there’s some stunning property here and you might even spot one or two of it’s famous residents.
Richmond is a bustling place with a reasonably good selection of shops, restaurants and bars. My feet were killing me so before I got back on the tube to head home I decided to stop for a coffee and some cake at one of my favourite places, the Hummingbird Bakery. It’s a fairly new addition to Richmond but I know them from their original shop in South Kensington and I just love their cakes!
Coffee and cake finished I wandered back to the station and got my tube home having thoroughly enjoyed my walk around Richmond.