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A favourite with tourists exploring the outer reaches of London due to its provincial riverside prettiness and wealth of attractions, Richmond lies eight miles to the south west of central London.
This town of 20,000 people was a favourite of royals for hundreds of years – monarchs from Henry I in 1327 to the unlucky Charles I, who was executed in 1649, patronised, and sometimes in the case of Edward I, lived in Richmond Palace, which is now entirely lost to the sands of time except for the surviving Gate House.
One favourite pastime of the regal set was hunting in Richmond Park, a beautiful wild green space with great views of the Thames valley and a large population of deer. Many tourists head to this part of London for the famous views from Richmond Hill, and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (Kew Road, Richmond, 020 8332 5655, www.kew.org), a world heritage site for its collection of living plants, the biggest on earth. As well as the 30,000 living species, museums, conservatories and galleries, there’s Japanese temples, pagodas and a treetop walkway to delight the two million visitors who head to Kew every year.
Back in town, life is very much defined by the river – you can hire a boat for the afternoon, there’s plenty interesting places to eat and drink at the water’s edge, or simply take a stroll along the Thames walkway, passing the Royal Star & Garter Home, a residential hospital for disabled ex-servicemen dating back to WWI and near to the factory where ex-soldiers make the poppies sold on Remembrance Day.
There’s excellent shopping facilities, three cinemas including a big Odeon (72 Hill Street, www.odeon.co.uk) and Richmond has two theatres: the Orange Tree (1 Clarence Street, 020 8940 3633, www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk), well known for new plays and undiscovered classics in the round with a high quality programme, and the mini-West End Edwardian splendour of Richmond Theatre (The Green, 0844 871 7627, www.ambassadortickets.com/richmond-theatre) for major touring shows and big musicals en route to Covent Garden.
The now-generic Bull pub (1 Kew Road) has a place in legend as the home of the Crawdaddy Club, the 60s r’n’b night that launched the career of the Rolling Stones; Mick and Ronnie Wood liked Richmond so much that they still live here.
Richmond is served by the District Underground line, overground and national rail services.
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|Richmond Station||4||District||0.88 miles|
|Kew Gardens Station||3||District||2.63 miles|
|Hounslow East Station||4||Piccadilly||3.81 miles|
|Osterley Station||4||Piccadilly||3.96 miles|
|Gunnersbury Station||3||District||4.40 miles|
|North Sheen Station||1.67 miles|
|Kew Gardens Station||2.66 miles|
|Isleworth Station||2.85 miles|
|Mortlake Station||3.00 miles|
|Brentford Station||3.44 miles|