Richmond town guide 2015
PUBLISHED: 13:59 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 15:04 18 September 2015
A romantic destination that has inspired generations of artists, musicians and residents alike, Richmond remains an oasis on the edge of the city with top restaurants, historic houses and stylish boutiques
Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life
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Did you know?
1 The largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, there are over 2,000 acres to explore at Richmond Park. Originally created in the 17th century by Charles I as a deer park, there are still around 650 red deer to be seen grazing.
2 Now owned by The National Trust, Ham House is a 17th century Stuart house set on the banks of the River Thames. This magnificent building has a superb collection of paintings, furniture and textiles collected by the Duchess of Lauderdale. Also, don’t be put off by this but the house has the reputation of being the most haunted in Britain.
3 Built in 1899 as the Theatre Royal and Opera House, this beautiful theatre is renowned for being one of the most successful in the country. Johnny Depp and co descended on the theatre for Finding Neverland, the semi-biographical film about playwright JM Barrie.
4 In 1915, Leonard and Virginia Woolf moved to Hogarth House in Paradise Road, which is marked by a blue plaque. The Hogarth Press was founded in 1917 by the couple and was named after the house, where they began hand-printing books.
5 Carved out of the grounds of Petersham House, the vibrant Petersham Nurseries has grown into an amazing centre of horticultural and gastronomic excellence. The café is so popular that it can count Jerry Hall and Richard E Grant among its regular diners.
6 Did you know that every single one of the 49 million poppies we’ll be pinning to our lapels for Remembrance Sunday are made at the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory in Richmond?
7 Originally built in the 1830s as an elegant retreat for London’s holidaymakers, the Eel Pie Island Hotel became a hotbed of rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans in the 60s with its sprung ballroom floor. It later had a spell as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden, which hosted Black Sabbath, but was eventually demolished.
8 Founded in 1759, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew spans some 300 acres and showcases literally thousands of different species. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gardens provide the perfect setting for a stroll.
9 One of the world’s best-known naturalists, Sir David Attenborough has lived in the same house in Richmond since 1952. For a time, he was known to bring back some of the exotic finds from his travels.
10 During the first half of the 19th century, the Star and Garter Hotel on Richmond Hill gained an enviable reputation under the management of Joseph Ellis. Charles Dickens and his wife stayed there. The writer would often include mentions of the town in his works.
A pocket guide:
Drink at: Don’t miss The Pig’s Ears, which is a fantastic cellar beer bar with far more than a few evenings’ worth of choice.
Eat at: Down in Petersham, both The Dysart and Petersham Nurseries come highly recommended.
Stay at: With The Petersham, The Bingham and Richmond Hill hotels all on the Hill, you’re spoilt for choice.