Lives in London, England
Since May 2009
Travel writer/blogger and flashpacker. Visit me at https://www.followingtherivera.com/ to see the latest in boutique and luxury hotel travel. Read my full review on Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort: https://www.followingtherivera.com/2018/06/11/what-to-expect-from-cape-santa-maria-beach-resort/
Gardens, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, History Museums
Arenas & Stadiums
History Museums, Speciality Museums
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, History Museums
Architectural Buildings, History Museums, Gardens
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks
Architectural Buildings, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Castles, Historic Sites, Mysterious Sites, Gardens
A popular venue for weddings and special occasions, Pembroke Lodge offers more than simply a location to exchange nuptials. A Grade II listed Georgian mansion, the lodge is also home to the Tea Rooms where you can sample homemade sandwiches, cakes, salads, and cream teas.
It would be impossible to visit Richmond and not come across its wonderful and truly enormous park. The largest of all Royal Parks in London, Richmond Park was originally envisioned as a deer park by Charles I. Today, it is not only still home to many deer (630 Red and Fallow varieties) but it also stands as a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. Any travellers planning on visiting in the autumn might witness the course of nature taking place. Autumn is traditionally breeding season for the deer, meaning plenty of roaring, barking and clashing antlers.
Flora and fauna enthusiasts will certainly enjoy a rendezvous in the Isabella Plantation located within Richmond Park. A 40-acre woodland garden renowned for its collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, and trees, the plantation was first opened to the public in 1953. Open all year round, there are four trails to choose from, varying in distance. The trails are also colour-coded within the garden to make it easier to stick to the desired path.
In the UK, any time is tea time, but at the Tea Box, tea takes on a whole new meaning. Sample a traditional English afternoon tea that includes, among other treats, cucumber finger sandwiches, Devon scones and clotted cream, and of course, a pot of loose leaf tea. The Tea Box also celebrates all things tea-related, such as an alcohol infused Tipsy Tea cocktail and a green tea cake. Simply delicious.
Grab an authentic taste of Lebanon at the reasonably priced Beirut Street Kitchen. Try a stone baked Lebanese wrap (from their special oven) containing traditional ingredients like falafel, Lebanese spicy sausages or tabbouleh. Their coffee is also worth a try!
An ideal choice for fans of theatre as well as of architecture, Richmond Theatre is worth a visit - whether short or extended. The Victorian theatre, which opened 1899, is a masterpiece from the hand of English architect and designer, Frank Matcham. Fast forward to the present day, and the show listings have something suitable for all, including musicals and classic plays.
Stein's offers a Bavarian dining experience with a view of the Richmond waterfront. Satisfy your hunger with traditional pork sausages (wurst) served with sauerkraut and potatoes (mashed or pan-fried). Lager lovers will enjoy the imported beer from a Munich Oktoberfest brewery.
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, waffles and cupcakes... this sweet little cafe is a piece of heaven in Richmond. Great quality ingredients and generous portions - expect to loosen buttons on trousers after a visit. No wonder the Farmery is a favourite with locals.
A beautifully maintained 17th century house on the banks of the River Thames, Ham House and Gardens is a real treat for history and architecture enthusiasts. The purpose-built bathroom provides a fascinating snapshot of the bathing rituals of the Stuart era, and the impressive collection of paintings and furnishings is sure to delight art and history enthusiasts.
Established in 1926, Ham Polo Club is one of the oldest active polo clubs in Greater London. Visitors are welcome on match days (Sunday afternoons) and you can bring you own picnic to enjoy on the sidelines.
Tucked away in Brewer Lane The Britannia pub delivers more than its exterior promises. Along with the traditional ales and lagers you would expect to find at the bar, the Britannia's food is of restaurant style standard. Take a seat either in the beer garden or on the roof terrace.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, Ruben’s Bakehouse is one establishment that sits high on my list whenever I'm in Twickenham. Lovers of sourdough pizza baked in a wood fire oven will not be disappointed with the offerings, particularly my favourite, the Quattro Formaggi pizza.
For anyone unfamiliar with rugby, it is probably most similar to American football in that a ball may be carried, kicked, and thrown to fellow teammates. Sports enthusiasts will not be disappointed with a visit to the home of the England Rugby Union, Twickenham Stadium. Visit on match day or book a stadium tour, you will be sure to leave feeling better educated about the game.
Staying with the rugby theme, the World Rugby Museum, located in the East Stand of Twickenham Stadium, delves further into the history of the sport. Tickets can be purchased solely for the museum, or as part of the stadium tour.
A short distance from Twickenham train station is local coffee shop and patisserie Lulu’z. While I don't know the story behind why there is a ‘z’ and not an ‘s’ at the end of the name, I do know that the fare served at cafe is popular for valid reasons. Whether you opt for a smoked salmon bagel or a free range omelette, Lulu’z is worth considering as a breakfast or brunch option.
Twickenham has many places of historical interest to visit, and none grander than Marble Hill House. A Palladian villa set within 66 acres of parkland, the house is a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of central London. Originally built for the mistress of King George II, Marble Hill House has been masterfully restored to showcase Georgian living at its finest.
Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic revival architecture, Strawberry Hill House is a striking villa that showcases many items from the collection of owner Horace Walpole. Restored in 2012 complete with magnificent renaissance glass, each room in the villa offers visitors an insight into Walpole’s eccentric and unique style. The nine acres of land surrounding the house are equally as pleasant, where the gardens have also been restored to their original appearance.
Orleans House Gallery was originally built as a residential dwelling, but today is a popular art gallery for local residents and visitors. The house - built in the Palladian style typical of the time - not only houses art exhibitions and works, but also has many activities ideal for adults and children.
A family-friendly 'gastro' pub with a beer garden and live music every Saturday night, The Three Kings has something to satisfy everyone. Locally sourced ingredients are used to serve popular dishes such as herb crusted cod with Jersey potatoes, and British classic, apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard. If your interests lie in the pub’s liquid offerings, the selection of wines, ales and cocktails should not disappoint.
Exiting either Barnes Bridge or Barnes train station, the area certainly doesn't feel like London. The ‘village’ feel extends into Barnes Village, with its selection of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. Tree-lined streets and beautiful houses are the norm here, while the specialist shops along the high street reflect the growing Scandinavian community. The Barnes Trail (a short walk that incorporates Barnes Village) is circular, so start at whichever point is most convenient to you.
Voted the best coffee in Barnes - at least according to the blackboard outside the shop - Fresh Cafe is an independently run establishment pleasing locals and visitors alike. Offering visitors a deli-style menu, the cafe serves a wide variety of club sandwiches, omelettes, and salads.
A perfectly-sized park, Barnes Green only adds to the character of the village. With the pond as the focal point of the park, the Green is ideal for getting some essential peace and quiet.
Tea, tea, and more tea is the star attraction at this Barnes tea room. Informal and inclusive, everyone is welcome (and really made to feel so) at Orange Pekoe. Serving the finest loose leaf teas from across the globe, the cafe does a superb afternoon tea, and reasonably priced too.
This deli-wine bar is located along the Barnes Trail on Castelnau, offers a wide range of specialities (mainly Italian) from around the world. Organically sourced, Sips & Bites serves coffees, salads, paninis, smoothies, traditional pasta dishes, a wide selection of cheese and charcuterie, and of course, wine.
The Royal Botanic Gardens has plenty of iconic buildings and glasshouses such as the Princess of Wales Conservatory. It also has an arboretum with trees from around the globe, plus museums and galleries that house exhibitions all year round. Those keen on gaining a bird’s eye vista of the trees and the gardens below will definitely appreciate the treetop walkway. 18 meters high and 200 meters long, the walkway is an opportunity to observe nature and the wildlife at closer range.
A Grade I listed building within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Palace is more a mansion than a palace. Step into the shoes of royalty as you explore the house that has been restored and maintained to resemble the house as it was in the days of Queen Charlotte. Entry to Kew Palace is included in the ticket price for the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Old Deer Park is another lovely green space in Richmond and is in close proximity to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The park serves as training ground for a number of local sports clubs, including the famed London Welsh Rugby Football Club and Richmond Cricket Club.
Established in Kew and an alleged favourite of King Henry VIII, the ‘Maids of Honour’ delicate tarts are handmade and hand baked on the premises. The bakery still adheres to its traditional methods of baking and serves quintessential English fare, such as homemade savoury pies, as well as my favourite, cream tea. If you enjoy a good picnic in the park, but not the hassle of arranging it yourself, the bakery can deliver a traditional English picnic hamper. Prices vary according to choice of picnic box, but the treats are certain to satisfy empty stomachs.
Aside from its reputation as one of King Henry VIII’s few surviving palaces, Hampton Court Palace offers visitors more than a historic royal residence. Easily accessible by train from central London, the attraction has an active events calendar, with activities to suit both the young and the young at heart. A unique architectural mix of Tudor and Baroque styles, the infamous King’s Hampton home has so much to see and do it is difficult to know where to start. The oldest Medieval hall and one of the UK’s oldest theatres, the Great Hall showcases the opulence of its owner, while the newly rediscovered Chocolate Kitchens is equally fascinating. The tranquil yet colourful surrounding gardens present plenty photo opportunities with the vivid colours of the bulbs and fauna decorating the parkland. All in all, a brilliant day out, and that’s not even taking into account the palace’s bustling events program.
A sophisticated end to a visit to Richmond, the Petersham restaurant serves great quality food, in a location that overlooking the glorious Richmond Park. For lunch or dinner, this restaurant situated in the Petersham Hotel is a local favourite for valid reasons.