Thames Ditton: where to eat, shop and visit
PUBLISHED: 17:03 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 12:08 28 February 2013
A beautiful riverside village within striking distance of Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace, Thames Ditton is the perfect place to while away a day strolling along the river, admiring the historic homes and relaxing in one of the great pubs
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2012
A beautiful riverside village within striking distance of Henry VIIIs Hampton Court Palace, Thames Ditton is the perfect place to while away a day strolling along the river, admiring the attractive historic homes and relaxing in one of the great pubs
Words and photos by Matthew Williams
Need to know:
Where to eat: The Albany (0208 972 9163) on Queens Road and Ye Olde Swan (0208 398 1814) on Summer Road both offer riverside dining in relaxed surroundings. Meanwhile, The Rose (0208 398 4233) on the High Street serves up great Bangladeshi cuisine. Where to drink: The George and Dragon (0208 398 2206), a Shepherd Neame pub just off the High Street. Something to take home: That pot youve taken such care to paint (see above)! Somewhere to stay: The family run Ditton Lodge bed and breakfast hotel (0208 224 1897) on Lovelace Road in Long Ditton. Top tip: If walking to Hampton Court Palace from Thames Ditton, be aware that its not quite as straightforward as just strolling along the bank and a short detour is required out and then back into Hampton Court.
Thames Ditton has its own rail station but is also walkable from Hampton Court and Surbiton if the weather is fine and youre feeling active. The village is located on the Portsmouth Road.
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Live folk and blues music
Okay, so it may not actually take place on a Saturday, but if you want to make a full weekend of it, why not head into Thames Ditton on the Friday evening for a visit to The Ram Club, which is held weekly at the Old Cranleighans Club. Running since October 1983, they offer a varied programme of folk and acoustic artists and bands, with Telephone Bill and the Smooth Operators, and Martha Tilston, so far lined up for January.
With fresh fruit and veg from Paulls, which opened in the summer on the High Street; pastries from the family-owned Bachmanns Patisserie on Portsmouth Road; and two fantastic delis in The Lime Tree and The Deli; independence tastes great in this picturesque village. If you fancy waiting until May, then The Dittons Fair an old-fashioned village fete on the cricket green takes place annually (albeit on a Sunday).
The Pottery and Craft Studio is a ceramic painting studio on the High Street owned and run by two friends who originally met in the vehicle insurance industry. Opened in 2007, they offer a choice of over a hundred different pre-fired bisque items to take your creativity out on. The perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Explore the giant houses in and around the village, several of which are marked with blue plaques placed by the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents Association to celebrate the areas historic places and people. The first was put up on Stags Court on the High Street, which celebrates the site of the Old Slaughter House, the oldest secular building in the village. Another opportunity to explore arises in June, when a host of secret gardens normally hidden from view throw open their gates.
Fit for kings
Henry VIIIs most famous residence, Hampton Court Palace, will host the Olympic road cycling time trial this August, as well as the last leg of the Olympic torch relay, but for now it is also just a stones throw from Thames Ditton, providing a picturesque riverside walk.
Livingby the river
The village didnt get its name by accident, of course, and the river is often at the heart of life in Thames Ditton whether its riverside dining at the Ye Olde Swan pub; the sight of the Ferry Godmother heading off to the private Ditton Island; or sailing at The River Club or the Dittons Skiff and Punting Club. Every May, the Thames Ditton Regatta, established in 1948, sees racing taking place upstream on a 1,000-metre course stretching alongside Hampton Court Palace.
My Thames Ditton weekend...