Things to do in Richmond
Attractions in Richmond
Richmond upon the Thames is a stunning part of London that is loved by the people that live there and visitors alike.
In many ways, Richmond itself is an attraction, a picturesque village by the river with cobbled streets and parks where wild deer roam free. It’s sometimes difficult to believe that this haven is actually part of London.
There’s so much to see and do in and around Richmond, here are some of the best attractions.
One of London’s most famous attractions and one of the most famous horticultural centres in the world.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is one of the most important centres in the world for botanical research. As well as a place that attracts nearly 2 million people a year to see the wondrous plant species, it is also a place that employs more than 1,100 people who are at the top of their profession when it comes to flora.
There are almost eight and a half million specimens of plants at Kew and more than 27,000 can be enjoyed in the form of living plants.
Tickets are £12.50 for adults and £3.50 for children.
Hampton Court Palace
Apparently, the favourite place to stay of one Henry VIII and it’s easy to see why. The Tudor palace screams magnificence from the exterior, and that’s before the state rooms and galleries inside have been taken in.
The huge kitchens are also something to behold, high standard catering facilities are something that would be expected inside a home of Henry VIII.
During summertime, the gardens are pretty special too, there are over 60 acres of carefully manicured scenery to enjoy, including a famous maze.
Tickets are £21.30 for adults and £10.70 for children.
Covering 2,500 acres, Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London. Richmond may be a peaceful village in itself, but Richmond Park takes tranquility to the next level with its ancient woodlands, greens and ponds.
There are plenty of animals about the place too, from beautiful butterflies to a famed herd of more than 650 deer.
There are man-made facilities too, in order to make visits as comfortable as possible. These include public toilets, children’s play areas and cafes & kiosks for food and drink.
The park is free to enter.
A beautiful red brick Victorian building located next to the beautiful Richmond Green, this theatre opened in 1899.
The interior is laid out in the traditional way with upper circles, dress, and stalls done out in plush red materials and tilted details on the surrounds.
A range of performances can be enjoyed at the theatre, including the curious British pantomime tradition around the holiday period.
Ticket prices will differ for each performance.
London Wetland Centre
This is a wildlife haven covering 105 acres and one of the most relaxing attractions to be found in the capital.
The wooden walkways through the ponds, wetlands, and fields allow the natural wildlife to flourish whilst still being enjoyed to the full. This allows dragonflies, moths and other insects to thrive as well as amphibians, snakes, birds, and mammals such as water voles and bats.
Tickets are £11.30 for adults and £7.11 for children. There is also a family ticket option for £35.19.
Museums in Richmond
Richmond has the reputation of being a leafy scenic part of London where many of the attractions feature the great outdoors, wildlife, greenery, and general tranquility. However, Richmond has plenty going on culturally too. It has a rich history, not in the literal meaning of the term, although it is an affluent area with a close association with royalty!
There’s also plenty of other things that Richmond is associated with. Its museums are a testament to this.
Eel Pie Museum
This unusually named restaurant may strike confusion into the minds of many. It may even strike fear into the minds of some.
Eel pie is exactly as it sounds. A pie filled with eels. It’s a traditional London dish which is liked by a few but horrifies many many more.
Fortunately, this museum has nothing to do with the dish after which it is named. Bizarrely it is actually a celebration of the great music heritage that is associated with Richmond upon Thames. It is a place to see memorabilia from some of Britain’s most well-known bands and music artists, including Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones.
Tickets are £3.00 for adults.
Museum of Richmond
This museum tells the story of Richmond and starts back at the time before history. It then moves through the ages, exploring how Richmond developed as a town and significantly how it became a favourite haunt of royalty.
The museum opened in 1988 and now contains over 5,000 items, including outfits, toys & games as well as significant local archaeological discoveries.
The museum is free to enter.
London Museum of Water & Steam
Given Richmond’s proximity to the water, this is an apt place to find a museum like this.
It’s a much more family fun kind of museum than the name suggests. It explores the ways that water got to people’s taps from the Thames in historic times, exhibiting the huge pumping machines that were tasked with it.
It also dips its toe into water and sewage’s association with public health in Victorian times, and how that was successfully dealt with.
However, the self explanatory ’Splash Zone’ is probably where most children will enjoy themselves most.
Tickets are £12.50 for adults and £5.50 for children. There is also a family ticket that can be purchased for £30.50.
World of Rugby Museum - Twickenham
Twickenham stadium is the world famous home of English rugby, in the country where this sport started. For anyone lucky enough to get a ticket for match day, the atmosphere is unrivalled. Anybody who has only visited a major stadium for a football match should experience it.
For those not lucky enough to get a ticket, a behind the scenes tour will have to do. The tour goes into the England player dressing room, the Royal Box, the tunnel from which the players emerge and of course the hallowed turf itself.
There’s also plenty of memorabilia from rugby around the world to enjoy too, making it a must visit for anyone with even just a passing interest in the sport.
Tickets are £25.00 for adults, £15.00 for children and £60.00 for a family ticket.
Royal British Legion Poppy Factory
One of the most important events to take place in the UK each year is Remembrance Day. A day when the entire country comes together to remember the fallen of war.
The traditional sign of this event is the poppy and the majority of the British public will be wearing them at this time. Every year, this factory makes 32 million poppies as well as 80,000 wreaths including those laid by dignitaries at the Cenotaph.
The factory provides tours to see how it’s done. This is a unique opportunity to see the makings of a very British tradition.
Entry to the museum is free but donations are expected.
Food & Drink in Richmond
There are a lot of fantastic eateries to be found in Richmond and the surrounding areas. Many are special restaurants catering to the more affluent members of the local community, but others just offer great quality food at a reasonable price. Here is a selection.
A well-priced eatery offering great food for all three meals of the day. As the name suggests, this is an Aussie themed restaurant that delivers what you would expect from the menu, red meats, and grilled fish served straight from the BBQ. The barramundi is a particular favourite but the steaks are great too.
This Richmond restaurant opened as a consequence of the success of its sister restaurant in Kew, so it’s a formula that has been tried and tested.
Address: 30 Hill St, Richmond TW9 1TW
As the name suggests, this place is named after the famous German beer glass and as you would therefore expect, this is actually a huge beer garden.
This is a place best enjoyed in the summer months. It may not be Munich, but it is a 300 seater outdoor drinking and dining experience on the tranquil banks of the River Thames.
The beers are obviously great, but the sausages and pretzels are pretty good too!
Address: Richmond Towpath, TW10 6UX
The Ivy Café
The Ivy is a London restaurant associated with the stars and paparazzi. It was traditionally where the ‘in crowd’ ate and paying through the nose for traditional British fare was considered a necessary extravagance.
The Ivy Café is a local spin-off from that restaurant, cut from the same cloth. It serves traditional English meals with a twist from breakfast, through brunch and lunch and on to evening meals.
Address: 9-11 Hill St, Richmond TW9 1SX
For those who like the pompous but welcoming formality of French dining, there’s La Buvette, a restaurant that is traditionally gallic in every sense.
The menus are scrawled on the blackboards, the tablecloths are old school chequered and the wine list is strictly French only. Moules marinière are on offer of course, alongside rustic fish soup and chicken terrine, on the usual menu.
However, it is Sunday Lunch where La Buvette has achieved local legendary status.
Address: 6 Church Walk, Richmond TW9 1SN
Rock & Rose
This is both a restaurant and a cocktail bar. It’s glitzy and flamboyant but this isn’t reflected in the prices which are pretty reasonable.
There’s candles, mirrors, pattered wallpaper, funky furniture galore, creating a modern mismatch of genres.
The cocktail menu is impressive and the food offerings are eclectic, from champagne and oysters and duck à l’orange to racks of ribs and Asian party nibbles.
Address: 106-108 Kew Rd, Richmond TW9 2PQ
Architectural & Historic Buildings in Richmond
Any visitors to the Richmond Museum will find out that Richmond and other towns in the area have a long and varied history, especially during the times when it was seen as a favourite hang-out for the British Monarchy.
It was around these times that the town began to see the grandeur arrive, the beautiful buildings and architecture that high society demands.
Many of those buildings can still be seen today.
Marble Hill House - £7.80 adult, £4.70 child, £20.30 family
During the eighteenth century the banks of the River Thames between Richmond and Hampton Court Palace was grand villas and mansions standing side by side, separated only by the huge manicured gardens they had around them. Marble Hill House is the last one that still remains completely intact.
It was built in 1724 for a lady called Henrietta Howard, who was the mistress of the Prince of Wales, who would later become King George II.
It was designed by some of the most well-respected people of the time, including the poet Alexander Pope, who was a frequent visitor to the house with other intellectuals.
This spectacular house is found amongst an equally spectacular backdrop, the 2,500 acres that are London’s largest Royal park, Richmond Park.
The lodge itself is set within 11 acres of its very own landscaped gardens, the house sitting in an elevated position offering some breathtaking views to the area west of London.
It has seen some well-known tenants and owners over the years, including the legendarily beautiful Countess of Pembroke, who in 1787 was said to be close to George III. It has also seen the Victorian Prime Minister Lord John Russell and the philosopher Bertrand Russell spend time there.
Entry is free.
Hampton Court Palace may be arguably one of the most stunning Royal Palaces, but Kew Palace is undeniably the smallest one.
The house is a four storey brick hose built in 1631 and closely resembles Dutch houses built at the same time. This is because, before the Royal Family took it over in 1781, it was built by and lived in by a Dutch merchant.
As part of Kew Gardens, the palace price is incorporated in the ticket price.
Ham House & Gardens
A good word to describe seventeenth-century life in Richmond would be ‘opulent’. Royal Court life has seemingly moved into the area full time and in 1610, when Ham House was first constructed, the are was the centre for European fashion and culture.
The house was extended to its current glory in 1670 and includes an Orangery, ice house, still house and dairy.
The gardens are also a great place to stroll through during the summer months.
Tickets cost £5.20 for children, £10.40 for adults and £26.00 for families.
When it was built in 1729 by Lord Burlington it was considered one of the finest buildings of its time. Almost three hundred years later very little has changed, it is still thought of as a classic example of English Palladian villas.
There’s something for everyone here, beautiful gardens, children’s play areas, and a fine art collection to rival most galleries.
Tickets cost £5.90 for adults, £3.50 and £15.30 for families.