Richmond is a suburb in South West London which feel’s like it could be in the middle of the countryside. It’s pretty affluent thanks to its position right by the River Thames and Richmond Park, and because of this, Richmond is a great place to visit in South London to spend a day exploring no matter what time of year. Although Richmond on a Summer’s day is particularly nice!
Richmond is accessible via Overground Train or by Bus and is in Zone 4. It may seem far away from the City of London but I promise that it’s well worth it and you will feel refreshed after spending the day there.
What to see and do in Richmond?
1 Take a Relaxing Walk in Richmond Park
Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London and is one of the popular reasons that people visit Richmond. It’s quiet, serene and feel’s a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of London.
I’d recommend wearing some good walking shoes so you can really explore the hills and woodland areas of this park without worrying about getting too muddy.
2 Go Deer Spotting in Richmond Park
One of the most magical things about Richmond Park is it’s deer, I couldn’t believe it when I first saw one!
Not only is Richmond Park the largest Royal Park in London but it’s a natural nature reserve too. Deer have been roaming freely here since 1637 and its estimated there are 600+ deer in the park.
The deer that call Richmond Park home are a popular attraction. May-July is when the baby deer are born so this time of a year is a great time to try and see them.
If you want to get a great photo of the deer be sure to go at sunrise, this is the most popular time to take photos as the golden lighting and dewing morning grass make for the perfect photo of the deer.
Be careful though as although they are used to people walking through the park you should still re-main a safe and respectful distance away from them.
3 Find the colours of the Isabella Plantation
In the middle of Richmond Park is the Isabella Plantation. It’s a bit of a hidden gem and once you find it you’ll see bright flowers, little streams and paths.
The best time to visit is mid spring when it is in full bloom although you can visit all year round.
4 Try and see St Paul’s nearly 10 miles away from Richmond Park
Yes that’s right, St Paul’s Cathedral may be nearly 10 miles away but there is a view of it from the Western side of Richmond Park.
Apparently there are rules around building high rise buildings that may affect this view which means it must be pretty special and there may be a historic reason for this so see if you can work it out!
5 Stroll along the River Thames
The River Thames that runs all the way through the center of London also runs right through Richmond, although down here it’s a lot different to the wide river of the South Bank with towering high-rise buildings alongside it. Instead the river is much narrower and the pathway is sheltered by trees and fields.
I find it’s easy to lose sense of time here as it’s so quiet and peaceful so be sure to watch how far you walk and remember that you will need to turn back and walk that same stretch again.
6 Visit the Lavish Ham House and Garden
Located along the River Thames not far from the center of Richmond is Ham House and Garden. Built in 1610 Ham House is a lavish Mansion with an impressive art and furniture collection with some very unique pieces.
It’s Europe’s most complete surviving example of 17th Century Fashion and Power and this can be see when you go inside to visit. The outside of the House has well-manicured, formal Gardens which are lovely to walk around on a nice day.
Tip from Ellie: Be warned that Ham House is known to be haunted so keep a look out for any strange things happening around you as you walk through!
7 Arrive or Leave by Boat
You can get to Richmond via the Overground or Bus, but if you have some time I would recommend getting to Richmond, leaving Richmond, or both by boat. You can get on a boat at Westminster and take it all the way to Richmond.
Seeing London from the water is my favourite way to see the City, it gives it such a unique perspective and there’s plenty of space!
Tip from Ellie: If you’re visiting London for a short period of time it’s a 2 in 1 way to get to Richmond and see the City of London by boat. There are also ticket stands in Richmond where you can purchase a boat ticket to take you into the City after a day of exploring.
8 Watch the Sunset from Richmond Park
Thanks to its Western location Richmond is a brilliant place to watch the sunset from and the vantage point in Richmond Park is the best place to go. Not only does it give uninterrupted views but aside from the possible few photographers it should be very quiet and relaxing.
Just remember that the sunset’s pretty early in the Winter and very late in the Summer in the UK.
9 Chill alongside the River
If you don’t fancy walking too far into the Park or along the River, there are plenty of grassy areas along the banks of the River Thames not far from the streets of Richmond where Londoners like to go to enjoy the Sunshine, get an ice cream or a drink from a pub nearby and just relax.
From experience I can tell you it’s a great way to see Richmond!
10 Shop in the High Street and High End Shops in Richmond
Richmond is not only good for people who want some nature therapy, it’s also good for people who want retail therapy. Due to it being such a nice and affluent part of London there are plenty of high street and high end stores in Richmond.
Think Whole Foods, LuluLemon, Gap, H&M and Marks and Spencers.
Tip from Ellie: The best place to go shopping is along The Quadrant which is outside Richmond Overground Station and then George Street which is the road The Quadrant leads into half way down.
11 Go for a Swim in the Outdoor Pool
Richmond is home to one of London’s many outdoor lido’s so if you fancy a swim to freshen up or want get some exercise on a nice Summer’s day be sure to bring some swimwear down to Richmond with you and visit Pools on the Park.
It has all the facilities you need but make sure you check the opening schedule as they do not open in the Winter or in the Colder months.
12 Visit the Royal Botanical Kew Gardens
Not far from Richmond and still in the same area is Kew Gardens. You can easily spend a few hours walking around the gardens and many buildings that make up Kew Gardens- London’s largest UNESCO Site.
The Glasshouse is one of the main features of the gardens, it’s a grade 1 listed building home to rare and threatened plants. The Hive is also a must see and one of my favourites which highlights the extraordinary life of bees.
In addition to this there is a treetop walkway which is really unique and fun for children and adults. You can walk 18 meters above the woodland below and take in views of the gardens and the nearby areas.
13 Watch a Show at Richmond Theatre
There’s no need to head to the busy streets of Leicester Square to see a brilliant London Show, with showings throughout the day but more so in the evening.
If you want to make a full day of your time in Richmond or perhaps it’s raining and you want to stay inside, see what shows are on at Richmond Theatre.
Not only will you see a high quality show but Richmond Theatre is a sight in itself with its red brick exterior and traditional theatre interior.