The river Thames flows for more than 10 miles through Richmond, a borough which was once known as the 'Garden of London' and which has more green space than any other part of the city. Although just 25 minutes from the centre, the area has a distinctive character and history, and for centuries it was a country retreat for Royalty. Our students always enjoy exploring and getting to know the place better. Read on to find out about some of our favourite Richmond attractions.
First laid out by Charles I in 1625, Richmond is the largest London’s eight Royal Parks. It’s about 15 minutes way from the school, and we often go there to enjoy a walk, practise speaking English and to spot its wildlife, including its world famous herd of deer. If the exploring makes us hungry, then we usually stop for a traditional English Cream Tea at Pembroke Lodge, a large mansion located at the highest point in the park, with incredible views across the Thames Valley to the west.
The Thames Path
The Thames Path is a riverside path running184 miles from the Cotswolds in the west of England to the Thames Barrier at the eastern edge of London. It's 5 minutes from our door and a nice place for a lunchtime walk, or to explore at the weekend. Every year in Spring, Richmond English School teachers and students join a quarter of a million Londoners on the Thames Path for 'Boat Race' day, when teams from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge compete against each other in a rowing race. The atmosphere is amazing, and it's a great day out.
Richmond Town and Riverside
We are 4 minutes by train to Richmond's busy town centre. It's a charming place, which often feels more like being in an English home counties town than in part of London. You can visit one of its many shops or cafes, explore its picturesque lanes, or follow a cricket match on The Green. For the adventurous there are rowing boats to hire and even stand up paddle boarding classes. In the evening you can relax in one of its cinemas or theatres, or go out for supper at a riverside pub or restaurant.
Kew Botanical Gardens
Just a 20 minute walk away from the school along the Thames Path, Kew Gardens is a World Heritage site, housing the most diverse plant collection in the world. Among its many attractions are a 40 metre high Giant Redwood tree, a scenic 5 acre lake, a vast Chinese Pagoda, its iconic glasshouses and Kew Palace, smallest of all Royal Palaces, and refuge to George III, "the mad King who lost America." Kew is most famous as a world class scientific establishment, with around 350 full-time scientists and a vital mission to help protect the future of life on Earth.
The London Wetland Centre
The London Wetland Centre is a 30 hectare wetland reserve made from 4 huge, disused reservoirs. It was featured on BBC Television as one of natural the wonders of London, and is home to a large variety of wild birds not found elsewhere in the area. You can explore its lakeside walkways, bird-watch from one of its many hides, take part in one of the daily tours or watch its resident family of Asian short-clawed otters, who can be seen swimming and splashing under their waterfall or sleeping in their specially designed 'holt' (the place where otters live).
Barnes is 10 minutes from the school and has a traditional village feel, complete with ducks and geese on the pond. When you're here it can be difficult to believe how close you are to central London. As well as some lovely delis, pubs and restaurants, Barnes is home to The Olympic Sound Studios, now a cinema and restaurant, but which used to be one of London's most important music studios, where artists like The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix recorded some of their best known songs.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court is a huge Tudor Palace once owned by Henry VIII, England's most infamous King, who married many wives and separated England from Rome. It's 20 minutes away from us by train, or if the sun is out then you can travel there by river boat from Richmond Pier. Not only can you explore its enormous Kitchens and grand State Rooms, its 60 acres of gardens and its famous maze, but the Palace also has a diverse programme of seasonal events, such as the Hampton Court Palace Festival, a big music festival which takes place in every June.