Visit London Blog » richmond Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top Five River Thames Experiences Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:00:41 +0000 A guest post by Totally Thames Festival Director Adrian Evans

Throughout September, Totally Thames festival celebrates the River Thames with a 30-day programme of river-inspired events, including colourful regattas, river rallies and community festivals. Totally Thames Festival director Adrian Evans shares his top five must-do River Thames experiences:

1. Walk the towpath between the lush riverside villages of Kew and Richmond.

The Thames path at Richmond

The Thames path at Richmond

2. Soak up the view of the Thames Barrier, which spans 520 metres across the Thames at Woolwich Reach. Then take a stroll around the picture-pretty Thames Barrier Park.

Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier

3. Take a ride over the River Thames on the Emirates air line, London’s cable car. During the 10-minute journey, you’ll be treated to eye-popping views of East London as you travel between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

Emirates Air Line

Emirates Air Line

4. Stroll amongst the wilderness at the RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve.

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes

5. Ride the Thames Clipper from Westminster Pier to Woolwich.

Thames Clipper

Thames Clipper

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Spotlight On: Richmond upon Thames Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:00:17 +0000 An iconic river view of Richmond upon Thames

One of London’s most attractive boroughs, picture-pretty Richmond upon Thames has for hundreds of years been a favourite retreat for royalty, the rich and famous. Sited 15 miles southwest of Central London, the borough can be reached in 15 minutes via a fast train from London Waterloo.

The River Thames runs through the heart of the borough for 21 miles linking Hampton Court Palace, Richmond town centre and Kew Gardens with central London. With beautiful Royal Parks and historic houses, theatres, museums and galleries rich with exhibits, and town centres bursting with shops and restaurants, there’s loads to do in this picturesque borough. Here, the borough’s tourist board Visit Richmond have suggested five of the area’s unmissable attractions:

Richmond Park deer

Richmond Park
With 2,500 acres of hills, woodlands, gardens and grassland, Richmond Park is London’s largest Royal Park. Home to herds of red and fallow deer, the gated park is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and Nature Reserve. Adventurers can enjoy a host of activities, such as horse riding and cycling. The park also houses the magnificent Isabella Plantation and the gardens at Pembroke Lodge.

Treetop walkway, Kew Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Delve into a rainforest, stroll a soaring walkway amidst the tree canopy and explore world-class gardens. Kew Gardens contains the finest plant collection in the world and offers a unique day out. There is also a fantastic year-round programme of festivals which includes workshops and family activities.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace
Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence is famous for its maze and plush State Rooms. New for 2014 is the royal Chocolate Kitchen, open to visitors for the first time in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchen was once used by Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I.

Ham House

Ham House and Gardens
Built in 1610, Ham House is a beautiful and atmospheric Stuart house beside the Thames that’s full of paintings, furniture and textiles that were acquired 400 years ago. Its 17th-century garden is a perfect picnic spot.

Richmond's riverside

River Thames
A total of 21 miles of the River Thames run through Richmond; it is also the only riparian borough to be both north and south of the River Thames. Richmond boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of the riverside in London, together with the historic Richmond Bridge, which is an English Heritage Grade 1 listed structure (as it is the oldest bridge that still spans the River Thames).

The river has a special magic in Richmond upon Thames, offering an opportunity to spend tranquil hours exploring its banks on foot or by bike, which can be hired from one of the boathouses near Richmond Bridge.

This blog post was provided by Visit Richmond, which offers information VisitRichmond_Logoof what there is to see, do, explore and experience in Richmond upon Thames. Follow Visit Richmond on Twitter @Visit_Richmond1

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Spotlight on: Kingston upon Thames Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:00:40 +0000 Kingston's falling over phone boxes

The picturesque riverside town of Kingston upon Thames is just a 30-minute train journey from Central London and is well worth the short journey.

Here’s why:

For messing about on the river

Kingston’s stunning location on the River Thames is a big part of its appeal. In summer watch the world go by while dining al fresco in Charter Quay or enjoying a health bite at The Terrace Eatery or drink on the terrace of the ever popular Woody’s pub.

Alternatively experience the river up close on a cruise. Turks Launches has 300 years of boating heritage and operates regular cruises between Kingston, Hampton Court Palace and Richmond.

Jack Wills in Kingston

To shop until you drop  

No trip to Kingston upon Thames is complete without a spot of shopping. With over 500 stores the town has something for every taste and budget, ranging from designer brands and high street fashion in large retail outlets like the The Eden Walk Shopping Centre and The Bentall Centre, to independent boutiques that appeal to those seeking one off or unique finds.

A great area for more unusual purchases is Old London Road – marked by Kingston’s famous falling over phone boxes (officially named ‘Out of Order’ by artist David Mach).

Old London Road is also home to the Kingston Antiques Centre, one of the biggest, liveliest and most affordable destinations for collectors in the South-East of England with more than 100 dealers offering a startling array of antiques and quality vintage items.

For its rich history

Kingston is a town steeped in history. In 1208 it was granted its first Royal charter by King John and it is said that seven Saxon kings were crowned here – the Coronation Stone remains to this day.

Discover the town’s rich history at the fascinating Kingston Museum. Housed in a beautiful, custom-built building, the museum has three permanent exhibitions. Two tell the story of the borough from Saxon times and the third details the life and work of renowned Kingston-born Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

See its historical sites up-close on a guided walking tour. Tours take place every Sunday during summer and on the first Sunday of the month in winter and depart from All Saints Church.

Rose Theatre

To see a show

Catching a show in the 900 seat Rose Theatre is a real treat.  Its circular design brings great intimacy and epic scale to all the productions that appear here.

The Rose works with internationally-renowned theatre companies and many West End stars appear here. The theatre even has a pit area where audiences can sit on cushions to watch performances, a popular option for families or those on a budget.

For fabulous food

Visitors to Kingston are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Choose from homely pubs, like the Druids Head, and riverside restaurants to al fresco cafes and stylish and even stately venues for afternoon tea.

The ancient market place is home to a six-days-a-week market, featuring a fabulous range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Also choose fresh fish at Webster’s Fishmongers, pick out delicious meat cuts at Jimmy’s Meats or sample the flavours of Morocco at Exotic Tagine and tasty fresh sushi at Namu.

This blog post was provided by Kingstonfirst, which is branding for the Business Improvement District (BID) of Kingston Town Centre. The branding is used for the delivery of all events, services and marketing undertaken.

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What’s On This Weekend: 10-12 May 2013 Mon, 06 May 2013 09:00:08 +0000 It’s another action packed weekend in London: check out an exciting range of festivals that feature everything from live music on the tube to the hottest international burlesque stars.

The Sound Tracks Festival on the East London Line

Enjoy a day of great music throughout East London during the Sound Tracks Festival. Not only will a great variety of bands be playing

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at venues such as Dalston Roof Park, The Geffrye Museum and the Brunel Museum, but you can also listen to live music on the East London Line as you travel between venues. Wristbands, which allow entry to all the festival venues, are £15. 11 May

The Richmond May Fair

Head to the pretty green at Richmond for a traditional May Fair, which features craft stalls, a vintage carousel and all-day entertainment. Don’t miss the crowning of the Richmond May Queen, or the dancing around the Maypole! Entry is free. 11 May

The Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium

Combine rugby and fancy dress at the Marriott London Sevens, which is known for its carnival atmosphere. Not only can you watch a series of exciting short matches throughout the weekend, but there’s also live entertainment and competitions galore. This year’s fancy dress theme is ‘safari’, so dig out your adventure gear and animal costumes! Tickets are £25. 11-12 May

The World on Regent Street

Regent Street will be pedestrianised for this free one-day festival, which features entertainment and activities from around the globe. Visitors can enjoy Argentine tango lessons, Trinidadian steel band music, Chinese drumming and much more. All of the street’s shops will also be open – perfect for some retail therapy. 12 May

The London Burlesque Festival

Be dazzled at the glitzy London Burlesque Festival, a ten day extravaganza of burlesque and cabaret that takes throughout London. At this international festival, which is the largest of its kind in the world, you can see everything from the best of home-grown talent to the biggest stars of ‘boylesque’. Event times and ticket prices vary – see the festival website for full details. 10-19 May

More London events

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Inspired by Bradley Wiggins’ Gold Medal Win? Take a Cycling Tour of London Thu, 02 Aug 2012 10:00:33 +0000 If you’ve been inspired to take to two wheels by Team GB’s greatest ever Olympian, Londoner Bradley Wiggins, people might suggest you set off on a Boris Bike.

And you’d definitely be getting into the cycling spirit. But what if you’d rather get more from your London trip? Perhaps you’d rather take a traffic-free route around London’s landmarks, but just aren’t sure where to go? The following guide-led cycling tours of London will not only get you freewheeling around the best the city has to offer, you’ll also learn as you turn those pedals. (Wearing a yellow jersey and inked-on sideburns is, of course, optional…)

1. Capital Sport – Gentle Cycling
Choose from a variety of London tours organised by Capital Sport: from a half-day tour of London’s Heart (taking in Buckingham Palace, Tate Modern, the Thames and more) to four-day trips from London to Richmond to Windsor and back! I particularly like the London to Greenwich and The Barrier and back tour: “a day tour with 8 or 15 miles of virtually traffic free flat cycling” – sounds like my kind of ride!

2. Fat Tire Bike Tours
Family-friendly and fun, the Fat Tire Bike Tours offer two unique cycling tours through London: Royal London and River Thames. With baby seats and super-comfy bikes for hire, Fat Tire Bikes are suitable for the whole family. If you’re a really inexperienced cyclist, try the Royal London Tour, which spends much less time on London’s roads, instead sharing with you the best of London’s Royal Parks.

3. London Bicycle Tour Company
The London Bicycle Tour Company has one of the largest selection of bikes for hire in London. They offer daily tours of central London and the West End, as well as weekend tours around East London and the London 2012 Olympic sites. Their new hire centre is just 3 miles from the Olympic Park at Camp in London, and is open daily from 8am to 8pm.

4. Mind The Gap Cycle Tours
With the Mind The Gap Cycle Tours, you really can travel in Bradley Wiggins’ footsteps. (Or should that be pedals?) Riding from Richmond to Hampton Court Palace, you pass Ham House and some great local pubs before visiting the very place where Wiggins started his historic time trial yesterday. Then you can leave the bikes to the guides while you enjoy a look around Hampton Court Palace before returning to London on public transport.

5. Association of Professional Tourist Guides
Finally, you can take a fully-guided cycling tour from the best tour guides in the business: London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides. These guides are known throughout the world for the accuracy of their information and their incredible enthusiasm for sharing London’s most fascinating stories. They’ll even create a bespoke bike tour for you; find out more here.

Do you have any tips for exploring London by bike? Please share them with us in the comments below.

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Free 2012 Events Outside Central London Wed, 11 Jul 2012 15:00:54 +0000
The Olympic Stadium isn’t in Central London, and neither are all the celebrations for the Games: London’s outer boroughs are also putting on fantastic shows to mark London 2012. Here’s just a taste of what’s happening.

Richmond has a plethora of London 2012 events thanks to the Mayor of London’s Showtime festival, which is visiting Richmond Riverside on its tour. Visit the outdoor arts festival on 22 July to catch acts including kids performers Plunge Boom, who could invite audiences to pet vegetables in Victorian prams for their act the Vegetable Nannies. Choreographer Rosie Whitney-Fish will be offering dance workshops from 4-5 August for the Dear Lido project (also part of Showtime) at the borough’s  Diamond Jubilee Gardens. If you want a rest after the exercise, there will also be vintage tea parties.

The Olympic torch relay will reach Brentford at 11.40am on 24 July, which calls for a gold-themed celebration. Stilt-walking dragons, jugglers and living statues will turn Brentford Market Place into a carnival. Sit on some hay bales around the main stage for the final two-hour programme of live music including jazz, pop and reggae.

Victoria Park is the setting for the Labyrinth Youth Festival on 28 July – once again thanks to the Mayor’s Showtime festival. One stage will be dedicated to local performers and another will have an open mic session and DJs for young people with learning disabilities. You’ll bump into other acts all over Victoria Park, including the fabulous paper hats of Chapeau Magique and the RASPO Steel Orchestra, one of the UK’s leading steel drum ensembles.

Redbridge is not being put off by the fact that the Olympic Torch relay arrives in the borough at 7.19am on 22 July. It’s celebrations for the arrival of the torch are particularly impressive, including a dawn chorus, breakfast barbeques, a mass Tai Chi display and early morning sports, should you be so inclined. It is also celebrating the arrival of the Paralympic torch on the evening of 29 August with sports and arts activities in a Paralympics Extravaganza Festival in Ilford Town Centre from 2pm that day.

Will you be celebrating the Games away from the centre of London? Let us know how below.

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Video: Omid Djalili Loves Walking Around Ham House Tue, 18 Oct 2011 14:00:19 +0000

Here’s a lovely video by the National Trust featuring favourite Omid Djalili’s favourite walk.

The actor and comedian is a fan of walking around Ham House and Gardens in Richmond, and from this gorgeous video, we can see why!

The video is part of the National Trust’s Walking Festival, running from 22 to 30 October. Find out more, and vote for your favourite walk at

Walking is one of the most popular ways to get around London. Check out our Guide to Walking around London

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London Photo of the Week: The Thames at Richmond Sat, 08 Oct 2011 08:00:35 +0000

Peter Denton shared this lovely photo of the Thames at Richmond, taken last weekend which was the warmest October weekend on record.

Richmond is a beautiful part of London, and perfect for pottering about by the river. Check out our romantic Richmond guide for a perfect day out.

What are you going to do in London this weekend? Don’t forget to add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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In The Night Garden Live Coming to Richmond and Brent Cross Tue, 21 Jun 2011 13:00:06 +0000

BBC bosses struck TV gold when they commissioned In The Night Garden for CBeebies.

Aimed at pre-schoolers, the award-winning show was devised by the team behind The Teletubbies.

Like that phenomenally successful global brand, In The Night Garden speaks to pre-school children in a way adults find nigh on impossible to comprehend. Nevertheless, however baffled you may be, if you’re a parent of a tiny tot you’re probably familiar with the show’s incredible ability to mesmerise your little one.

Now fans have the chance to meet their heroes, up close and huggable. In The Night Garden is coming to London this summer and it’s bringing its own inflatable venue. Big, white and fluffy, the weatherproof showdome looks like something out of the surreal series. The live event will play at two venues in the capital. The first run will stretch from July 30 to August 13 in Richmond’s Old Deer Park. Then on September 10 it will reopen for a fortnight in Brent Cross.

We caught a sneak preview at Woburn Abbey. My son was a huge fan, but I wondered whether he would still be interested having recently turned three. I needn’t have worried. He had a huge smile across his face from the moment we sat down. While we waited, he delighted in the moving images projected on the ceiling of the dome.

Then as the lights dimmed, the magic began. Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka were brought to life by puppeteers and actors in costume. While most of the audience (including my son) sat captivated, the excitement proved too much for some who burst into tears. But that didn’t ruin it for those other wide-eyed little ones who truly believed that they had been transported to the Night Garden.

Tickets cost between £14.50 and £25, depending on the date. The running time is 50 minutes, which may leave you feeling a little short-changed. Nevertheless, it’s long enough for children that young to sit still and concentrate.  

If your kids come out demanding more, more, more, there is the opportunity to meet the characters. But be warned: the show’s organisers are charging £15 extra for the privilege.

In The Night Garden: Old Deer Park, Richmond, 30 Jul-13 Aug 2011 and Brent Cross, 10-24 Sep 2011. Visit for tickets and information

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Chile in London: Hidden Reminders of Chile in London Tue, 23 Nov 2010 16:30:45 +0000

Chilean blogger Maria Jose Ovalle, writer of (@verybusymama on twitter) tells us about her hidden reminders of Chile in London for our World in London project

Being homesick is a feeling like no other. A strange feeling of unpleasantness comes over you. Living away from the sights, smells, and noises you are accustomed to leaves you feeling like you don’t belong.

I have been an expat for a big part of my life, yet I always feel a pull to Chile, the long skinny country in the last corner of the earth. I have been living in London for five years with my American husband and our son, and despite Chile not having a large community here in the UK, I find London is scattered with little bits of Chile among the busy streets, even if it’s only me who sees the similiarities.

Those hidden reminders of Chile in every corner of the city always bring a smile to my face. Getting on the Tube one day I was transported back to riding the subway in Santiago all those years ago. Seeing children walking to school in their matching uniforms reminds me of being rushed off to school by my mother and adjusting my tie before heading out the door. Sitting down to have a cup of tea and cake on a cold winter day reminds me of being in my grandmother’s house and the warmth of the kitchen after baking all afternoon. On a recent family walk in leafy Richmond, I came across a small statue in honour of our founding father Bernardo O’Higgins. I always knew it was there, but not planning to come across it brightened up my day.

Chile has been in the news quite a bit lately, with the devastating earthquake in February, our long-awaited appearance at the World Cup in South Africa and most recently with the rescue of the miners. These events really made me realise just how much I miss my home, my people, my foods (even if I am thousands of miles away) and helps refuel my national pride even more.

I have a pretty good group of Chilean friends here and we tend to have dinners and barbeques. Nothing like a barbeque among friends and familiar accents. When my husband and I are craving a little something special like Chilean “empanadas”, we head over to El Vergel. You won’t find any other Chilean restaurants in London, but this small, quaint café does the trick. Just the smell of fresh baked bread brings tears to my eyes. The restaurant serves South American cuisine, but it is Chilean through and through.

I write about life as a new parent, being an expat and bringing up my son bilingually on my blog Mummy’s Busy World. I may not be in Chile, but London never fails to deliver a little piece of home to me in its own special way.

Do you know any more hidden Chilean gems in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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