Richmond area guide
Watching the boats bob along downstream, it’s easy to see why life in Richmond is just a dream. With exceptional views, magnificent green spaces, historic homes and a charming village vibe, Richmond is the perfect blend of town and country and it’s regularly voted the happiest place to live in London.
The capital’s greenest borough is understandably one of the most sought-after spots in the UK, boasting top-notch schools, fast links to London, luxurious leisure clubs and a glorious, meandering stretch of the Thames which is easily one of London’s prettiest.
Add royal parks, a bustling town centre, some charming farmers’ markets and a stunning botanical garden to the mix – alongside excellent country pubs and a host of elegant fine dining restaurants – and you’ll discover an idyllic London lifestyle that’s truly hard to beat. Join us for a stroll along the Thames as we explore this much-loved London location.
Architecture and property
Regal Richmond retains an aura of quiet prestige and its architecture and properties are suitably sophisticated. There’s plenty of diversity on offer, from classic Georgian homes and luxurious listed properties to more contemporary new builds, art deco apartments and stunning conversions.
In the centre of Richmond, quaint rose-clad cottages line small leafy streets, offering a charming old-world feel, while large Georgian and Victorian terraces and detached family homes can be found around the park and up towards Richmond Hill. The streets around Richmond Green, as well as River and Sudbrook Lanes, are among the most coveted, with homes fetching in the region of £5m. Any roads within the catchment areas of Richmond’s best schools, such as The Vineyard and Marshgate, are highly sought after and command high prices.
For renters, Church Road offers a number of elegant Victorian conversion apartments, while the area between Richmond Hill and Queen’s Road has the best streets for families and those with bigger budgets. One bedroom apartments in Richmond start at around £1,500 per month, while 2-3-4 bedroom houses can be found for between £2-5,000 per month. Penthouses and historic homes in Richmond’s most desirable areas can run into tens of thousands per month.
Who lives here?
Richmond’s leisurely pace attracts families and couples seeking tranquillity and a high quality of life, rather than those wanting to be in the razzle dazzle of London’s bright lights. With spacious homes, some of London’s most beautiful green spaces, and such excellent amenities that you’re genuinely spoilt for choice, Richmond is incredibly popular with those from the UK and overseas who can afford its upscale price tags. There’s also a strong European presence here, thanks to the German School, which teaches the International Baccalaureate and adds to the area’s cosmopolitan air.
Notable past residents include the green-fingered Sir David Attenborough and actor Richard E. Grant, while families considering a move to the area may be convinced of its allure by the fact that Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall raised their children here in a Georgian mansion. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were also reported to have stayed in Richmond with their children whilst Jolie was filming on location in London.
Richmond was founded following Henry VII’s building of Richmond Palace in the 16th century, from which the town derives its name. Over time, the area slowly spread to encompass the section down by the river and across to Richmond Park, and when the railway station opened in 1846, Richmond was soon absorbed into a rapidly expanding London. During that era, the area’s stately elegance made it a favourite playground of the royals, including Queen Elizabeth I, who spent much of her time here and enjoyed hunting stags in Richmond Park.
Drinking and dining
Whether you’re looking for an enchanting riverside pub, a cosy café or a seriously stylish restaurant, Richmond has a superb range of top-class cuisine. Rustic country pubs with dog-friendly beer gardens are ideal for resting weary legs and soaking up the views, while in town, much-loved family bistros make for enjoyable weeknight suppers. There’s also an impressive variety of elegant fine dining options for weekends and special occasions, including the Michelin-starred Glasshouse, Dysart Petersham and Bingham Riverhouse Hotel.
Matsuba, a family-run sushi restaurant on Red Lion Street, is the go-to for excellent Japanese cuisine, while Gaucho is a popular Argentinian steak house with an attractive waterside terrace. Al Boccon Di’vino – ‘a divine mouthful’ – is something of a Richmond institution: with no menu or wine list, diners sit at long tables as if at an Italian wedding, ready to be served an array of exquisite Venetian cuisine. Stein’s is a popular riverside hangout, where Bavarian bratwurst and schnitzel are washed down with a large selection of German draft beers.
For a more traditional experience, it doesn’t get more British than The Cricketers. Situated on Richmond Green, this pub is one of Richmond’s oldest – and ideally placed to while away a sunny day, watch a spot of cricket or meet friends ahead of Twickenham games.
The White Horse and The Marlborough are other favourite local pubs, while No.1a Duke Street comes recommended for cocktails. And no visit to Richmond is complete without a trip to the White Cross pub: each spring at high tide, pedestrian access to the pub becomes submerged beneath the Thames, leaving its patrons no choice but to sit back and enjoy their beverages until the waters recede… a thoroughly charming, if slightly nerve-wracking experience!
For coffee and a slice of cake, Richmond Hill Bakery is the place to go: grab a pretty pavement table if the weather’s good and spend a few hours watching the world go by. Last but certainly not least, Petersham Nurseries Café is a superb choice for lunch and dinner. Set within a glorious plant-filled glasshouse filled with trailing jasmine and bougainvillea, it’s truly a plant-lover’s paradise and was recently awarded a green Michelin star for sustainability. Choose from sumptuous seasonal menus or indulge in afternoon tea at one of Richmond’s most delightful dining spots.
Upmarket Richmond has a wonderful balance of high street and independent stores – conveniently offering everything you might need without having to travel to central London. The main shopping area is by the train station, in and around George Street, where the usual high street names are muddled in with beautiful boutiques and designer clothing stores such as Feather & Stitch, Rawluxe and Anthropologie.
Due to its high number of couples and families, there are plenty of upscale baby shops like Newbie and JoJo Maman Bébé, pet stores and grooming services for posh pooches like Tails and Riverdog Studio, as well as premium leisure wear brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty, where Richmond residents deck themselves out for riverside runs, yoga and pilates.
Antique lovers are also catered for in Richmond, with a couple of delightful shops to browse including Richmond Hill Antiques. Foodies will enjoy exploring the culinary delights on offer at Duck Pond Markets every Saturday and Sunday, and at nearby Kew Village Market on the first Sunday of each month. Meanwhile, the health conscious will find everything they need at Whole Foods Market on George Street.
Arts and culture
Just moments away from Richmond Green, the gorgeous Richmond Theatre has been at the heart of the local community since 1899, presenting a wide range of quality drama, musicals, opera, dance and family entertainment.
Richmond’s Orange Tree is a popular theatre-in-the-round showcasing independent and avant-garde works, while Richmond Performing Arts Festival has been supporting local amateur performers and launching careers in the arts for almost a century.
There’s no shortage of historic buildings to discover in the district, from Richmond Palace to Ham House and Garden: this National Trust property is something of a local treasure and home to a superb range of art, textile and furniture collections. Its stunning formal gardens include a spectacular cherry garden – a must-see in spring!
Richmond also has a pleasing number of distractions for art lovers, including Clarendon Fine Art, The Bowman Gallery and One Paved Court, while movie buffs have two cinemas to choose from: the Odeon, which is quirkily spread between two buildings, or the Curzon, a luxury cinema showing independent and arthouse titles.
Transport and airports
Located within zone 4, Richmond’s tube station sits on the District line, making Victoria station accessible in around half an hour.
The fastest way to reach central London from Richmond is by train: frequent and fast national rail services run to London Waterloo (20 minutes) via Clapham Junction, as well as Willesden Junction, Euston and Stratford. London Overground trains connect the area to north London.
Richmond has access to a good selection of bus routes, including those serving Hammersmith (33), Clapham Junction (337), Kingston (65) and Heathrow Terminal 5 (490).
Richmond’s road links are excellent: the A316 takes you directly to west London, meaning the shops, bars and restaurants of Mayfair and Kensington are only half an hour’s drive or cab ride away. When you need to get further afield, the nearby M3 and M4 offer easy access to the west and south west, while the M25 makes most of London accessible.
At just 25 minutes’ drive from Heathrow, London’s biggest airport, Richmond is an ideal choice for frequent travellers. Gatwick airport is also just a 40-minute train ride away, while travel to London City airport takes just over an hour.
Schools and hospitals
Richmond is well known for its high-performing schools: the best state primaries include the Ofsted-rated outstanding Vineyard and Marshgate schools, while the top state secondaries are Grey Court School, Richmond Park Academy and Tiffin School in neighbouring Kingston.
The area’s independent primary and prep schools include Broomfield House, Old Vicarage School and Unicorn School, while popular local independent secondaries include the German School and Kingston Grammar School.
At nearly 2,500 acres, Richmond Park is London’s largest Royal Park, and many consider it the most beautiful too. With ancient woodlands and glorious wildflower meadows, the park is most famous for its fabulous free-roaming deer, which were first introduced by Charles I in the 17th century and make for an iconic photo… But don’t get too close!
The Tamsin Trail is the biggest walking trail in the park, while other activities include cycling, golf, horse-riding and fishing. If all that sounds too much like hard work, simply take a leisurely stroll to enjoy the birdsong and views.
The Isabella Plantation is a must-visit corner to the south of Richmond Park, bursting with an incredible array of flowers, plants and rare trees and shrubs, which provide colour and interest all year round. King Henry’s Mound is another highlight, offering jaw-dropping views over the town, river and to Kew and Twickenham beyond. If you look east on a clear day, you may just be able to see St Paul’s Cathedral which is around 10 miles away.
Away from the park, Richmond Green is a charming open space in the centre of town. On a summer’s day, it’s a great spot to catch a cricket match – best enjoyed with a picnic, a jug of Pimms and some strawberries and cream.
If you’re feeling more active, scramble your way up to the top of Terrace Gardens and you’ll be rewarded with views so green you’ll be hard pushed to believe you’re still in London.
Finally, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are surely the emerald in Richmond’s crown. With its iconic Victorian glasshouses, elegant art and sculpture and over 30,000 species of plants to discover, this UNESCO heritage site is a must visit. Many Richmond residents become a member so they can enjoy Kew’s changing seasons all year round: the rockery, rose garden, arboretum and Japanese garden are amongst the most beautiful highlights.
Sports and leisure
One of the best things about life in Richmond is surely the lazy days spent messing about on the river: from boating and kayaking to ferry rides across the Thames, there are plenty of ways to get waterborne here.
If you fancy a dip, head to Pools on the Park – Richmond’s outdoor heated lido, which also has indoor pools, fitness classes and a gym. Richmond Hill Health Club and Richmond Olympus are the most popular local private gyms, and branches of boutique fitness brands Digme and Bootcamp Pilates can also be found in Richmond.
The district has a number of popular golf courses, including Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club and the Richmond Golf Club, tennis clubs such as the Richmond Lawn Tennis Club and Priory Park Club, and the stunning Ham Polo Club located next to Ham House.
Considering a move to Richmond?
If you’ve fallen in love with Richmond and dream of calling one of its beautiful historic buildings home, we can help. We specialise in finding property in central London’s most sought-after areas and our extensive industry network means we have access to properties marketed both publicly and off-market. Our service is discreet, confidential and we are comfortable working under non-disclosure agreements for high-profile clients.
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