Things to do in Richmond

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Richmond is unique in that it is the only London borough to sit on both sides of the River Thames.

Located in the south-west of the capital, Richmond upon Thames – as it is officially known – is on the outskirts of London but it’s only 20 minutes on the Underground from Earl’s Court on the District line.

So why should you make the effort?

Twickenham Stadium

Address: Whitton Rd, Twickenham, TW2 7BA

This humongous 82,000-seater venue is the home of England rugby union and the second largest stadium in the UK after Wembley.

Aside from hosting England’s home test matches, not to mention the Rugby World Cup in 2015, it has also been used for live concerts by The Rolling Stones, The Police, Genesis, Rihanna, U2 and Beyonce.

Even if there aren’t any matches or events going on, there is still plenty for casual visitors, with a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, which takes you into the royal box and players’ tunnel, alongside the pitch and to the very top of the stadium. Tour tickets also get you into the World Rugby Museum.

Museums galore

Speaking of museums, Richmond offers a refreshingly low-key approach to its museum and galleries, compared to the mega collections found in central London’s British Museum and National Gallery.

Amongst its offerings is the Museum of British Military Music at Kneller Hall (TW2 7DU), the rotating schedule of Orleans House Gallery (TW1 3DJ), Wimbledon’s Lawn Tennis Museum (SW19 5AE), the Museum of Learning Disabilities at the Langdon Down Centre (TW11 9PS), Teddington’s Landmark Arts Centre (TW11 9NN) and the White Lodge Museum & Ballet Resource Centre (TW10 5HR).

Finally, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning the Riverside Gallery (TW9 1TP), Twickenham Museum (TW1 3DU) and the Museum of Richmond (TW9 1TP).

Go to the theatre

Richmond boasts a smattering of compact yet charming theatres.

The 55-seater Puppet Theatre Barge (TW10 6UT) is indeed a barge sat on the Thames with a puppet theatre inside.

There’s also the Richmond Theatre (TW9 1QJ), Hampton Hill Theatre (TW12 1NZ), Normansfield Theatre at Langdon Down Centre (TW11 9PS), Hammond Theatre (TW12 3HD) and Petersham Playhouse (TW10 7AA).

Performances may not be as frequent as in the West End but you’re sure to enjoy a great show in a unique and characterful setting at any of these venues.

Appreciate nature

Being out of central London’s hustle and bustle, Richmond boasts some lovely green spaces.

There’s the 74-acre Crane Park (TW2 6AA), the lush Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (TW9 3AB) and Richmond Park (TW10 5HS) – the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, covering 2,500 acres.

We also have to plug Hampton Court Palace (KT8 9AU), with its majestic 750-acre park and world-famous gardens.

Retail therapy

You won’t find any humongous shopping centres here. Instead, Richmond specialises in quaint and personable independent shops, run by friendly and passionate experts.

Everything from jewellers, fashion and bridal shops to chocolateries, cobblers and children’s bookshops can be found here.

If you do require something a little more mainstream and convenient, there is the Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth (SW18 4TF) with a plethora of recognisable high street names such as Debenhams, Mothercare, Topshop, H&M, Next, Gap, River Island, Waitrose, Trespass, Decathlon, Cotswold, Hotel Chocolat, Argos, New Look, The Entertainer and Boots. It also boasts a cinema and two gyms.

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