Richmond, England may sound familiar if you’ve watched Ted Lasso, but this beautiful town on the outskirts of London has been famous for more than 500 years. King Henry VII built a palace here, jousted in Richmond Green and hunted in Richmond Park (now open for us commoners). Just 20 minutes from London Waterloo on the train, it’s worth a day out of London to stroll the Thames riverside and marvel at the hundreds of deer in the park. This itinerary is not for the faint of heart. To do it all in a day, plan to walk 20K+ steps or stay overnight!
Take the fast train (2 stops) from London Waterloo to Richmond station. Alternatively, Richmond is on the Tube’s District Line.
What to See
Leave the train station and turn left to walk up Richmond’s High Street. Grab a coffee at Ole & Steen or Oli & Ben and cut down historic Brewer’s Lane to Richmond Green. If it’s hot, pop into Danieli gelateria for a scoop of the top-rated ice cream in London.
Richmond Green: Turn left and circle Richmond Green clockwise (or stop and have a picnic as many do on a sunny day). Literary giant Virginia Woolf of the famous Bloomsbury group lived in #17 in the early 20th century. Ted Lasso fans will recognize The Princes Head pub on the corner, and a few steps into Paved Court reveal the door to Ted’s flat (11a). Return to the green and continue left to see the remains of Richmond Palace and Gate, one of Henry VIII’s many homes on the Thames. Continue on and turn left onto Old Palace Lane to reach the river. In spring, this little lane’s cottages are covered in wisteria!
Riverwalk: Turn left at the River Thames and stroll to Richmond Bridge, the oldest surviving bridge in London. Stop as you like at the White Cross pub or visit Duck Pond Market for lunch or shopping on the weekend. Walk under the bridge and enjoy a coffee or tea at Tide Tables Cafe. Continue on and after passing the Richmond Canoe Club, cross the street to walk up the hill to Terrace Gardens. (You can never go far without finding a cafe…Hollyhock is in Terrace Gardens and also serves light lunch).
Richmond Hill: At the top of Terrace Gardens, turn right and join the gravel path overlooking the river. This protected view is also what makes Richmond famous. Fun fact: In 1737, colonist William Byrd II looked over the James River in Virginia and was reminded of this very spot, naming the new town in America: Richmond. Grab a pint from The Roebuck pub and enjoy the view with other locals and weekend visitors.
Richmond Park: Time to continue walking into Richmond Park, London’s largest Royal park. Continue down the gravel path to Richmond Gate, across from the historic Star and Garter, which used to be a hotel that housed Charles Dickens, was later a WWI veterans home, and is now luxury flats. Enter Richmond Gate and turn right at the first roundabout to a walking path. Turn left and within a few steps you will see the London skyline on a clear day. Walk as long as your legs will last, looking for deer (but staying far enough away) or visiting the Pembroke Lodge and Gardens.
Kew Gardens: Really only possible to fit in on a second day in Richmond, the Royal Botanical Gardens are worth a half day to marvel at the Victorian greenhouses, treetop walkway, Kew Palace and more. From the Richmond train station, take a 65 bus to the Victoria Gate and don’t forget to browse the expansive shop at the end of your visit.
Where to eat
Where to stay
Richmond Hill Hotel to be near the park and the views
The Bingham hotel on the riverfront which has a fantastic (fancy) restaurant