One of my favourite things about London is the River Thames and nowhere in my opinion is prettier than the stretch of river around Richmond. If I was advising anyone visiting London then this would be one of the must visit places I’d tell you to see, I really do love it.
I start my walk at Richmond Bridge, take some time to look at the bridge, it’s the oldest surviving bridge that crosses the Thames and it was built between 1774 and 1777. Even though it wasn’t a particularly nice day the area was still busy with people walking or just sipping a coffee enjoying the view.
From the bridge I took a nice easy walk along the banks of the river. There are plenty of places to stop and take a break if you need to including a great little German place called Steins, it’s a sort of cafe / bar / restaurant, all of the tables are outside so the weather needs to be good to really make the most of it. This part of the river is mostly parkland but look around and you’ll see some of the stunning – and very expensive – property that sits along it’s banks. Also in this area is where you can catch some of the river cruises, in season there’s a daily service that will take you all the way to Westminster.
After walking a little further I reached an area called Buccleuch Gardens which was originally the grounds of Buccleuch House which had been built in the 18th Century. Nothing of the house now remains but the gardens and also those of Terrace Gardens above it remain in a similar layout to how they originally would have been.
As I carried on walking the area opens up into Petersham Meadows where cows still actually graze on the land. If you look to the left you will see the Petersham Hotel and behind it the old Star & Garter Home, a most beautiful building with stunning views that is now being turned into luxury flats. At this point the tow path can get a bit muddy and uneven. If you walk about half way down the path just stop and turn around, there should be some great views of Richmond and Richmond Hill.
I keep walking but there isn’t really a great deal to see apart from enjoying the river and it’s views. I’m heading towards Ham House and it’s about a half mile walk.
Just before I reach Ham House on the other side of the river I spot Marble Hill House a beautiful Palladian Villa built between 1724 and 1729 and set in 66 acres of riverside parkland. It looks stunning poking through the bare trees. That has to be a visit for another time.
A little further on and I reach Ham House, a grand Stuart Mansion said to be “unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th century fashion and power”. Unfortunately the day I went the house was closed but I will return as I’m intrigued to find out more about the house, it’s residents and it’s ghosts!
Back on the river and it’s an approximate 2 mile walk before I reach my final destination. As the trees along the tow path start to thin out I get my first glimpse of Teddington Lock. This is where the tidal part of the Thames ends. The lock itself is quite pretty with it’s nicely kept lawns and pot plants and the quaint lock keepers cottages. I cross the first of two footbridges to get to the Teddington town side of the river, on the left you’ll see the weir and the famous Teddington Film & TV Studios (now closed) which was the home to many famous tv programs and films for many years.
Once across the river there’s a couple of pubs if you need to stop for refreshments, my recommendation would be the Tide End. Teddington Studios has many Blue Plaques on the walls outside the entrance so I took a quick detour and turned left onto Broom Road to see them.
Doubling back on myself I follow the road into Teddington’s town centre which is split into two separate parts by the railway line. The first bit you come to is the nicest in my opinion, this is where the smaller more independent shops are. I stopped at a coffee shop called the Fallow Deer which was nice enough, it gave my feet a rest anyway and the coffee was good.
There’s not a huge amount to see in Teddington but it is worth a little wander around and there are some lovely unique shops to browse round if that’s your thing. My next stop was Teddington train station and the start of my journey home.