High 5: Richmond, London

August 29, 2013

I may have wanderlust issues but I can still appreciate what’s on my doorstep. I’ve lived and worked near Richmond-upon-Thames for almost three years now and it never gets boring or any less beautiful. Here are my top five favourite things to do there:

Tea by the river
Set by Richmond Bridge, Tide Tables is my favourite riverside café. It serves tasty organic food (including a fantastic selection of gluten-free options) and offers a calming view of the river from its large outdoor seating area which is surrounded by trees. If you like to people-gaze, sit on the chairs facing the walkway. Tide Tables also has an equally fabulous sister-café called Hollyhock, found in the Terrace Gardens just along the river towards Petersham.

Cycling in Richmond Park
Pick up a bike from Blazing Saddles Bike Hire and head off on a cycling adventure up Richmond Hill to Richmond Park (be warned, the hill is steep, so don’t be embarrassed if you need to get off your bike and push). Richmond Park is the largest enclosed space in London. The air smells distinctly fresh, there are herds of wild deer, and the Isabella Plantation (an ornamental woodland garden within the park) bursts with exotic plants. You can catch a glimpse of the city skyline in the distance, yet urban life feels a million miles away. Blazing Saddles Bike Hire is located on the opposite side of Richmond Bridge to Tide Tables Café and it only costs a fiver for an hour’s cycle.

Cocktails at So-Bar
Nestled down the very quaint Brewers Lane, this cocktail bar is great for an after-work tipple, or two. There’s happy hour until 8pm on week nights (all night on Mondays!) and it serves up a mean Pornstar Martini, containing Vanilla pod-infused vodka, passion fruit liqueur and apple juice with a champagne chaser…need I say more?

Watch the sunset
The sunset here can be really rather beautiful – especially on a warm summer’s night when viewed from Richmond Bridge, or whilst sipping wine on the balcony of Pitcher & Piano. Its sunset is underrated. I took this photo from the bridge a few days after a holiday in Santorini, Greece, which is world-famous for its sunsets. Sorry Santorini, but Richmond’s sunset is better.

Visit Petersham Nurseries
OK, so it’s not technically in Richmond, but it’s within walking distance. I love wandering through the lush Thames-side water meadows to reach this idyllic greenhouse setting, found in the working Victorian nurseries of Petersham House. At Petersham Nurseries, you can admire the pretty plants and stylish homeware in the shop, enjoy a pot of tea and home-cooked cakes in the Teahouse, or treat yourself to a fine meal of fresh, seasonal gourmet cuisine in the restaurant.

Stephanie Reed