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Richmond upon Thames, West London

Updated on January 16, 2015

Richmond upon Thames, The Most Beautiful Part of London

Richmond upon Thames is beautiful and historically fascinating borough in west London. Richmond Park was the royal hunting grounds and deer still roam free; Richmond Hill has the best view in London, loved by Turner and many other artists (and home to Pete Townsend of the Who, Mick Jagger and Ronny Woods of the Rolling Stones, David Attenborogh...); Kew Gardens are the old botanical gardens with plants from all over the world; Twickenham is famous for Rugby and the towns of Richmond, Kew, East Sheen, Barnes and Twickenham all offer some excellent dining and cultural experiences. Wimbledon, the home of British Lawn Tennis (and Croquet), is also less than 8 miles from Richmond.


This web-site is about this wonderful part of London which is less than 10 miles and just a short tube-journey from central London. I have included reviews, travel tips, advice and recommendations for:

My Favourite restaurants

Theatres

Kew Botanical Gardens

Richmond Park

Twickenham

Richmond Hill

Map of Richmond, West London - Map of Richmond, Twickenham, East Sheen and Kew Gardens

show route and directions
A markerRichmond upon Thames, England -
Richmond upon Thames, England
get directions

B markerTwickenham, England -
Twickenham, England
get directions

C markerEast Sheen, London -
East Sheen, London
get directions

D markerKew, England -
Kew, England
get directions

Richmond Upon Thames

The most beautiful borough in London

Excellent restaurants and theatres

Acres of parkland

Wonderful views

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens are probably the best and most famous botanical gardens in the world and the model on which many others are based. There are several interesting buildings including a royal palace and large glasshouses ranging from a few years old to several hundred years housing tropical plants and even oldest pot-plant, which lives in the Palm-house. Outside there are plants and trees from all over the world. There are indoor and outdoor restaurants including one in the Orangery building. Kew Gardens is also used as a venue for summer concerts.

See my separate Kew Botanical Gardens article...

Inside one of the Glasshouses in Kew

Pagoda in Kew Gardens

Richmond Hill

The Terrace at the top of Richmond Hill looks down into the Thames Valley below, at the most beautiful section, where the river bends round towards Kingston, with Twickenham across the river and some small islands and moored boats in between. The beautiful Richmond Bridge to the right and the gates of Richmond Park just a few hundred yards away. The Terrace extends for several hundred yards, with a wonderful view from it's entire length and many wooden benches to sit on, and maps in front detailing the various points of interest in the view. Mick Jagger's house overlooks The Terrace and the clientele from the beautiful little pub, The Roebuck, empty out onto the Terrace, which makes a perfect place to enjoy a drink. .

The Best View in London

The view is the best in London. Ham house is visible from The Terrace. Parking is difficult on Richmond Hill, where it is mostly restricted to residents, but free parking is available in the park. Traffic on summer weekends is terrible, so coming by train or bus would be far better. It is free to visit the hill and the terrace, and inexpensive food is available nearby, or very expensive beer from the pubs on the hill.

Star and Garter Home, Richmond Hill, Surrey

Star and Garter Home, Richmond Hill, Surrey
Star and Garter Home, Richmond Hill, Surrey

Famous People Who Live on Richmond Hill

and Richmond Borough

Richmond Hill is home to many famous people including Pete Townsend the songwriter and guitarist from The Who (lives at "The Wick" on the Terrace), Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, the multitalented David Attenborough who is most famous for his BBC Natural History programmes and a career spanning 50 years and his older brother Richard Attenborough, the film director.

Other famous actors who live in Richmond (or have lived here), include: Joss Ackland; Joe Anderson; Helen Baxendale, Georgina Chapman, Peter Davison, Oliver Golding, Richard E Grant, Jerry Hall, Keeley Hawes, John Hannah, Amanda Holden, Jane Horrocks, Edmund Kean, Matthew McFadyen, John Mills, Robert Pattinson, Peter Sallis... to name but a few

Other famous musicians, artists and TV personalities from Richmond: Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd); Terry Britten (singer and songwriter); Rod Burton (children's TV presenter and musician); Richard Dimbleby (broadcaster); George Eliot (writer); Mary Elizabeth Braddon (novelist) The Fades (indie rock band); Bamber Gascoigne (television presenter); Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac); Guy Hollingworth (Magician) Mollie King (The Saturdays); Philip Lynott (Thin Lizzy); Brian May (Queen); Hugh McIlvanney (sports writer); Jason Bradbury (writer and TV presenter); Lawrence Dallaglio (rugby player); JMW Turner (artist); Rick Wright (Pink Floyd); Rudolph Nureyev (Ballet Dancer); Malcolm Arnold (composer); Richard Ashcroft (The Verve)

Restaurants in Richmond: San Marco

Richmond upon Thames suffers from the same problem as so many towns in England, with most of the independent restaurants on the high street gradually being replaced by the usual chain restaurants. In the main shopping areas there is a selection of good and not so good restaurants, but fortunately, a short walk from this area gives you access to several very good independent restaurants. San Marco is a good example of an Italian restaurant run by real Italians. I have eaten there many times over the last ten years or so, either at lunchtime, to get away from the hoards of shoppers or in the evening.

San Marco is at the bottom of Richmond Hill, near Richmond Bridge and next door to The Richmond Park Hotel on the Petersham Road. It is only a few hundred yards from the end of the main shopping area, but far enough to dissuade most shoppers from dropping in for lunch. It backs onto the river, but does not have access to the wonderful view, nor any outdoor dining space at the rear. The restaurant is quite small with probably just 20 tables, but has a very friendly and informal atmosphere. The decor is very simple with good-sized round tables with white tablecloths and plenty of space between them.

The cuisine is classic Italian, with the usual range of antipasti, primo, secondo and dolce courses. They do not however serve pizza.

The food is more expensive than the nearby chain restaurants, with a typical three-course meal with wine costing £70 or more. Main courses cost between about £12 and £18, but vegetables will cost extra, although are generous portions that can be shared. Pasta dishes are less expensive at £10 or less, which could make an excellent light luncheon on their own and antipasti range from about £5 to £10.

San Marco is a proper Italian restaurant in a great location serving good food and it is always an enjoyable experience eating there.

For a full review of San Marco, please read this article

Restaurants in Richmond: La Buvette

Les Amis de Brula (Three small French restaurants in Richmond borough)

In my quest for good independent restaurants, rather than the usual chain restaurants found on so many high-streets, I stumbled upon this wonderful little restaurant in the heart of Richmond upon Thames. It is only a very short distance from George Street, the main shopping area, set in a small courtyard accessed by a pedestrian only passage, Church Walk, running down the side of Tescos Metro and the church. It would be easy to miss, despite being so central, unless you knew that it is there. Arguably this is a chain restaurant in that it is the "sister" restaurant of Brula, which is just a mile or so away in St. Margaret's and a third restaurant called La Saveur in East Sheen. The three restaurants together are known as "Les Amis de Brula"

The particularly charming thing about " La Buvette is the courtyard, which has a few tables and a canopy in case of showers and makes an ideal place for a leisurely lunch in the summer. It is quiet, away from the busy main roads and shoppers. The restaurant is an old refectory and also provides a very pleasant dining area for when sitting outside isn't a viable option. At the weekends it tends to be quite busy, so booking would generally be required, rather than just turning up, but occasionally when there have been just two of us they have managed to accommodate us without booking.

The food is of a classic, simple, French bistro style, with a menu consisting of a few starters, soup, a selection of meat and fish main courses, a few desserts and a cheese platter or a two or three course lunchtime Prix-Fixe menu consisting of a subset of the full menu for £12 or £14.50. There is a reasonable selection of wine or the house wine for just £12.50 or so a bottle which can also be served in small carafes or by the glass.

The food and atmosphere at this lovely little restaurant give a very good approximation to a real French experience. It is reasonably priced and does not have the feel of a chain restaurant. I would certainly recommend eating here if you are in or near Richmond.

Please Read the Full review here...

Summary: Proper French cuisine in a great location

Restaurant: Zizzi (Italian)

I try to avoid eating in chain restaurants, but sometimes there is little other choice. On any high street you may be quite close to a small independent restaurant, but they are rarely in the more expensive prominent, convenient locations, so unless you know of their existence a good consistent chain restaurant may have to suffice. Zizzi is just such a place, serving consistently good quality, simple, Italian food. The pizzas are particularly good and excellent value too. Everything is approximately Italian in style, rather than Italian American, albeit never quite as good as the real thing.

There a quite a few Zizzi restaurants in London and have found them to be fairly consistently good. My local one, in Richmond, is the best that I have been to, partly because the staff very are good, friendly and seem to care about the job.

Pizza and Calzone

There are twelve pizzas and two calzone ranging from £6.50 for a Margherita to £10 for the Pizza di Mare, which are generally a very good approximation to a proper thin-crust Italian pizza, cooked in an authentic way in the large wood-burning oven. The Diavola is a potent hot pepperoni pizza with chilli, but all pizza are served with chilli oil if you like a bit more kick.

Drinks

The wine list is fairly small but includes some good value wines such as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or Frascati ranging from £13 to £26 or £45 for the best Champagne. Italian lagers and soft drinks are also available.

For a full review of Zizzi Restaurant please click here...

Richmond Park

Birds in Richmond Park

Birds in Richmond Park
Birds in Richmond Park

Deer in Richmond Park

Deer in Richmond Park
Deer in Richmond Park

Richmond Park

Richmond Park
Richmond Park

Wild Parakeets

This photo was taken from my lounge window in Richmond.

Indian ring-neck parakeets, a kind of small parrot, live wild in the parks in Richmond Borough and are gradually spreading across the country. There are various stories about how they got there, but my favourite is that they escaped during the making of a film in Richmond Park (Richmond is a popular place for film-makers because of the natural beauty, proximity to central London and the film studios and a selection of ancient architecture nearby) The escapees formed a breeding colony in the park which has an abundance of trees and food for these amusing birds and a surprisingly mild climate. They are also fruit trees in the gardens of the wealthy Richmond residents (The parakeets are not universally popular).

Photographic Equipment

I have written a review of the best digital SLR and digital compact cameras:

digital SLR cameras

digital compact cameras

Richmond Town

Richmond has a lot to offer for tourists, either for a day trip from central london or as a place to stay.

Theatres

There are three theatres (i.e. real theatres, not cinemas) within walking distance of Richmond train and tube station:

Richmond Theatre, Richmond Green

The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond centre

Mary Wallace Theatre, Twickenham

Places to eat

Jamie Oliver's Italian Trattoria, Richmond (inexpensive Italian restaurant created by Celebrity Chef, Jamie Oliver)

La Buvette (see separate review)

San Marco (See review)

The Bingham Hotel

Cafe Mama, Kew Road (excellent family run Intalian)

Cinemas (i.e. Film Theatres)

The Odeon

Pubs

The White Cross, on the river, Richmond centre

The Cricketers, Richmond Green

Hotels

Richmond Park Hotel

Richmond Hill Hotel

The Bingham Hotel

Richmond Riverside

Richmond Riverside
Richmond Riverside

Twickenham

Twickenham is famous for rugby, but it is also an ancient town, which features in the Doomesday Book. It is just a mile from Richmond, over the bridge, or or a slightly longer walk along the tow-path of the river.

Other places nearby

Things to see and do in Richmond Borough

Barnes Village

A beautiful village with good restaurants a train ride away from Richmond. There are many good pubs and restaurants and home to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre and excellent place to see wildlife in London.

East Sheen

Richmond was originally called Sheen, before Queen Elizabeth moved into the Palace and the town changed its name to Richmond. East Sheen, is a short walk away, next to the park and also has a good selection of independent restaurants including the excellent Lofty Turtle Restaurant and Bar (formerly known as the Naked Turtle)

Kew Green

The main gate of Kew Gardens is on Kew Green. This ancient green has a good selection of architecture, restaurants and bars, but is spoilt a little by the big road running through it and over Kew Bridge.

Strand on the Green

Next to the river near Kew Bridge, and Kew Green. Three excellent old riverside pubs: The Bell & Crown (1751), The City Barge (1786) that featured in the 1965 Beatles film Help! and was previously known as the Maypole Inn until 1807 and The Bull's Head (1722)

Please tell me what you think

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    • profile image

      overcliffehotelkent 5 years ago

      I really appreciate your content. The Blog has actually peaks my interest.

      I'm going to bookmark your site and hold checking for new information.

      Thank you very much.Hotels Near London

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a beautiful place. I would love so put my dad in richmond retirement homes. I think he would really love it! This the perfect mix of old and new for him and the family.

    • gregoryolney lm profile image

      gregoryolney lm 5 years ago

      I once had a flat with my mates on Richmond Green - in the 1960s. Best place I ever lived, wish we could afford to move there now !

    • profile image

      dannystaple 5 years ago

      I love this spot, and somehow, I remained ignorant of it for years living in London. THis is a truly beautiful area. Being seconds from the Terrace Gardens has been one of the most dramatic changes in my life.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Was here many years ago.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Thanks very much. Yes. All of the pictures here were taken by me, over the years I have lived in this area. [in reply to JaguarJulie]

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Andy, that picture in the module, "Inside one of the Glasshouses in Kew" -- did you take that? OMG, it is beautiful!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens!

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      Superb lens Andy! Lensrolled and featured to my Southampton UK lens ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I know you love fine dinning Andy, so I'm sure that the restaurants in Richmond have been reviewed by yourself personally. It must be a lovely place and one that I'm sure I could enjoy very much. - Seen this lens on the Top 100 list today! That's great! :))

      Susie

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I just knew Poddys would love your photos and storie. You two could meet up sometime!

      Love this lens Andy! It is just beautiful! 5*'s

      Thanks for the journey...[in reply to poddys]

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nice lens Andy, 5***** I had an uncle who used to paint in Kew Gardens back in the 1950's, I have some of his that were made into postcards, as well as a large painting of my grandmother's house. I found one of his up for sale in Iowa several years ago which was surprising. I love Richmond Park too with it's deer.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to Evelyn_Saenz]

      Yes, London is very green. I can't think of a capital city anywhere in the world that has as many trees. Many visitors only see central London which is very built-up, but even in the centre, we have Hyde Park and St. James Park. I think much of this land belonged to or still belongs to the Royal Family making it impossible to build on.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      I had no idea that there were so many trees in London. I hope to some day visit the Kew Gardens. Thank you for introducing me to so many beautiful places.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      What a beautiful lens full of remarkable scenery. It is really wonderful, as usual. Love it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      great photography--beautiful, particularly the waterflowers

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 8 years ago

      Beautiful pictures again and great lens as always!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      awesome pictures

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      I don't think I've ever been to Richmond. I know Poddys and I plan to go to Kew at some point in the future. I have a cousin in Surrey who has flocks of the parkeets that reguarly visit his garden...he's not too keen on them for some reason! 5*

    • Lynx92 profile image

      Lynx92 8 years ago

      I have to agree, Richmond is very pleasant. I have visited the area many times, mainly for work purposes, but a couple of times for social events, too. I must try and arrange another trip there soon, probably wait until spring is in the air though!

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      Mayflowerblood 8 years ago

      that bird is so cute. =] great llens!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 8 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and lots of interesting info! Next place to visit! 5*

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work. For a categorized list of my travel lenses and other lenses see my Lensography..

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Welcome to All Things Travel.