My winter wanderings in London’s neighborhoods continue. So after my walks in Hampstead, Brixton and Kensington series next is West London with his strongest card, Richmond. December and January can offer amazing images of seasonal change and reveal to us the stripped beauty of a place.

RICHMOND

Richmond’s green district, with vast open terrain and high quality of life, has been voted by Londoners as the ideal area to live in the city. Richmond can boast fine dining, historic pubs, boutique alternatives, luxurious architecture, Thames walks and finally for its green gem – Richmond’s Royal Park, England’s second largest with an area of 10,000 acres. If you want to feel the English countryside without travelling outside London, all you have to do is take the Green Line and get down to Richmond terminal. It has a well-organized public transport network from central London with easy access.

A WINTERY WALK IN RICHMOND

Put your gloves on; wrap your scarf because a winter stroll in the beautiful and icy Richmond just starts.

Coming off the subway you see the main commercial artery, The Quadrant. Take a few minutes of your time to catch the pulse of the neighborhood. Life here rolls calmly and loosely. Turn left and take down The Quadrant, staring at the storefronts, all the way to Waterloo Place.

Follow the cobbled path with the two storey English, making a difference in the heart of Richmond, ending up in Prince Str. Turn right and the first narrow left to walk in the triangle of gastronomy and fine coffee, before you find yourself back in the bustling The Quadrant.  After this little detour continue at The Quadrant until you meet the Church Walk. In the serene square Church Court is built from the 16th century the Anglican St. Magdalene Church with its eight bell towers and great musical tradition. Exiting Paradise Rd and through Church Terrace walk in the narrow brick passage, Patten Alley, which is part of Richmond’s original 17th-century paths.

Take the first narrow left to get out on Ormond Rd and from there slip to Castle Yard to cut off road.

Head left towards Heron Square, which is tucked between Hill Street and Bridge Str. An impressive courtyard surrounded by elegant buildings with coated ochre and terracotta facades following the British Queen Anne style. Simple lines, large windows, stone gables, strict corners and perfectly bilateral symmetry characterize the houses.

Heron Square, an old center of the Jewish community, maintains some of the aristocratic residences of that time, such as Heron House and Hotham House. Just before you go out to the River Thames, right in front of Whittaker Avenue you’ll see the Richmond Memorial War. It is a monument in memory of the local fallen of The First and Second World Wars.

RICHMOND UPON THAMES

From Whittaker Avenue, follow the Richmond Riverside park path to find yourself in front of Richmond’s water gem, the Thames. The long body of Thames River wraps the suburb of Richmond with its waters and gives it extra beauty and charm. On its banks there are countless all-day café-restaurants and pubs. White Horse pub, which is a classic choice and stunning views of Richmond Bridge, stands out.

To the left of the pub’s start the path along the river, the Buccleuch Passage. Follow it and let yourself drift on the romantic journey of the waters of the old -Thames. To your right is Richmond’s arched stone bridge and to your left before TIDE TABLE CAFES the only rowing club based on the Thames. The streets on the bank of the river are always pulsing since it is a place of meeting. Continue your relaxing walk enjoying the human side of this city.

PETERSHAM RD

From the small green Cambourne Path climb up on Petersham Rd. A road that runs almost by the river. Crossing it, you ‘ll steal glances to the Thames. Although main street remains quiet, green enough with wonderful residences. At the height of Compass Hill stands still the sign RICHMOND BREWERY STORES the building of the former brewery.

Right behind you, you might see the building of THE POPPY FACTORY, the hisstoric charity for the financial support and rehabilitation of veterans. Have you noticed the trend in the UK with red poppies every autumn? Operating since 1922, The Poppy Factory is a craft that manufactures commemorative red poppies worn by all Britons, Royals or not, in their lapel in honor of World War I fallen. The events take place every November and culminate on November 11, known as Remembrance Day.

TERRACE GARDEN & TERRACE FIELSD

Cross the iron gate and wander through the winter scene. Three 18th-century estates came together to create this huge open space, which was given to the public in 1887. The garden blooms on a steep slope surrounded by nature and lush vegetation. Various statues adorn it with the most popular and controversial of Alan Howe’s Aphrodite, also known as Bulbous Betty. As you go up, you will probably catch eye of eyes the café, Hollyhock. Take a breath and enjoy a cup of coffee accompanied by a delicious piece of cake. Some sweet traditions have to be adopted without remorse! Then follow the path that will lead you right next to the sloping meadow, Terrace Field. Turn your head to enjoy the unique view of the Thames and the small Glove Island.

It is said that with clear skies the castle of Windsor can be seen. The long paved steep path will lead you to the top of the hill, Richmond Hill.

RICHMOND HILL

The view from the Richmond Hill has inspired many artists and poets. In 1788 Sir Joshua Reynolds captured the Thames Valley on his canvas in his work The Thames from Richmond. Turn right and continue your walk to the picturesque street that hosts alongside gourmet cafes, hotels, and even the most beautiful residences with views. Highly classy and imposing is the former military hospital building and later a nursing home, The Royal Star and Garter Home.

Today, luxurious homes are housed. In front of the roundabout is one of the few remaining works of architect T.E. Collcut, The Collcutt Cattle Fountain. Just opposite Richmond Park.

RICHMOND PARK

As you pass the main gate from Sawyer’s Hill you may be chocked of the expanse in front of you. You will not know which direction to go. Whichever route you take, the sure is that a whole day is not enough to go around it.

As you pass the main gate from Sawyer’s Hill you may be chocked of the expanse in front of you. You will not know which direction to go. Whichever route you take, the sure is that a whole day is not enough to go around it. The con of winter is that you have limited time. Turn left and take sideways on its wavy grassy paths to enjoy the fluffy English land. Walk on the thick carpet of golden-red leaves, listen to the fragile sound of birds and let your eye rest in the winter beauty of the landscape. Get out on Sawyer’s Hill, cross it and fall back into the endless bare meadows of silence like another Jane Austin. Deep in view is White Lodge, a former Georgian Royal residence that now houses the Royal Ballet School.

You are most likely to meet the most famous residents of Richmond, a herd of deer.

Θα σε κοιτάξουν με τα μεγάλα ζωηρά μάτια τους χωρίς ιδιαίτερη καχυποψία και θα ποζάρουν με χάρη στο φακό σου.

They will stare at you with their big, lively eyes without much suspicion and pose with grace of your lens.

Get back on the same road, Richmond Hill and turn right on Friars Stile Rd. Dusk sweetly embraces Richmond’s neighborhoods and the lights of the city are on. At the end of the road stands the gothic St Matthias’s Church. Follow Mount Ararat Rd until you meet Paradise Rd and head to The Ivy Café Richmond for a delicious dinner. End up your romantic night with a last glimpse of the aglow Richmond Bridge.

Richmond is human, has a quality of life and it is without a doubt one of London’s most beautiful neighborhoods. With this post I hope you find inspiration and discover not only its hidden but its visible corners, as well!

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