Sunday, 23 November 2014

Richmond



There can't be many London walks better than this. Steeped in history, people watching in posh London, magnificent views, a deer park, stately home and a saunter along the Thames. The walk is from 'Walking London' by Andrew Duncan - Thirty Original walks in and around London  and 4 1/2 miles.

How to Get There
Easy, jump on the train at Harringay Green Lanes, then catch the Richmond train at Gospel Oak, takes about an hour. 

Tea and Cake 
Where do you begin? We stopped off at Pembrook Lodge in Richmond Park.

The Walk 
The walk starts from Richmond station -  the red dot. 


It would be easy to just wander down the high street, chocker with designer stores and miss the history. Instead, out the station, cross the road , through an arch and turn left toward Richmond Green, a Tudor jousting ground. This was the place to have your royal palace when the Thames was London's main highway,  Westminster palace an hour down stream and Hampton Court a few bends up. 

The green is surrounded by lovely Georgian houses, after you turn right along another side of the green you come across houses for the maids of honour. Just after, you can see the remains of the old palace, here since the medieval period. Elizabeth I was the last royal to use the place. As you go into old palace yard, the building which housed the royal wardrobe is on the left. Out the other side of the yard and turn left into old palace lane and down to the river. 

Left along the tow path until you get to the bridge, up the steps, continue up to a roundabout, turn right and take the fork up the hill. As you climb the hill you come to Terrace Gardens with views of the river. 
The Thames from Terrace Gardens Richmond
At the top of the hill you enter Richmond Park through the large gates and take the path on the right along the edge of the hill. 
Richmond Park
The park was created by Charles I in 1637 for hunting deer, 600 or so still roam the grounds. Before Pembrook Lodge you come to King Henry VIII's mound, where he waited to see the rocket fired from the Tower of London to mark Ann Boleyn's beheading, or so they say. Today two lines of trees neatly frame the little blip of St Paul's in the distance. 
St Paul's in the distance from Richmond Park. 
Through the gardens of Pembrook Lodge and out through a gate the other side you begin the descent down hill. When you hit the path at the bottom turn right until you come out of the park. Cross the road and turn left through Petersham Village, with its large, impressive 17th and 18th century houses. Follow the road round a sharp left hand bend and just before the pub (Fox and Duck) turn right and follow the signs to Ham House a grand Stuart house on the banks of the Thames, managed by the National Trust
Ham House
and boasts what is believed to the first bathroom in a private household. For ceramic nerds, there are replica delftware drug jars


Basement Bathroom at Ham House
and original delft tiles in the bathroom. 
Delft Tile at Ham House
Then back to Richmond along the Thames.
The Thames

The Thames looking towards Richmond 

Richmond's Georgian Bridge and others beyond.