Itinerary

Riverside Ramble: Escape to the Countryside Without Leaving London

by CB Cowling

posted on February 17, 2019

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If all you see of London are the palaces of Mayfair and the sleek streets of the city, you’re missing out. Part of what makes the city so beloved and appealing is the villagey feel of many of its neighborhoods and surrounding areas, with none more picturesque than the postcard-perfect Richmond. With the winding Thames at its center and elegant Georgian terraces lining its leafy avenues and alleys, it already contains plenty of sights to draw the discerning daytripper. But it’s the location at the edge of the great Richmond Park that makes a visit so transportive: just a thirty-minute tube ride from central London, the village feels like it’s in the heart of the bucolic countryside, surrounded by open space and nature, with views back across London and out to the sweeping fields of Surrey. The best way to experience the area is on foot, with towpaths, quiet lanes, and hilly cobbled streets linking up to create the perfect circular itinerary. So lace up your walking shoes and escape to a quieter, slower version of city life.

This 100-year-old café serves up iconic British dishes with a touch of flair that makes them hip again. The extensive menu has something to please everyone from breakfast through to afternoon tea, with reliable quality and a nice wine list.

Checkout: Afternoon tea, tuna carpaccio, blackened cod, goat cheese salad, flourless cappuccino cake

Photo courtesy: The Ivy Cafe

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Walking Distance

0.20 miles

First proposed as a privately owned wooden bridge, this elegant stone structure finished in 1777 and widened in 1937 stands the test of time. Connecting Twickenham Meadows to Bridge Street, the bridge features five arches for the Thames' small boats.

Photo courtesy: kelvinjay

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Walking Distance

0.58 miles

Sit outside on the river view terrace in summer or stay warm and comfortably cushioned in winter as you gaze out the windows of this rustic hideaway cafe. Fairtrade-sourced vegetarian soups, coffee, lunches, and cakes tempt taste buds in all seasons.

Checkout: Popina tarts, jacket potatoes, vegetable and bean chili , vegetable lasagna, organic juices

Photo courtesy: aqueerius_89

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Walking Distance

1.36 miles

This Stuart mansion along the Thames is frozen in time. The 17th c. furnishings, paintings and textiles are nearly all original, down to the pots in the historic gardens. Come during the Christmas season, when you can tour the home by candlelight.

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Walking Distance

0.87 miles

Dirt floors are part of the charm at this bright, plant-laden greenhouse eatery. Don't let the rustic garden furniture fool you — the slow-food meals are impossibly Euro-chic and perfect for special afternoon occasions. Reserve well in advance.

Checkout: Lasagnette with wild mushrooms, pomegranate bellini, clementine sorbet, gorgonzola and pear, Bramata polenta

Photo courtesy: Cafe Petersham Nursery

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Walking Distance

1.85 miles

Imagine life as a royal as you meander through the formal gardens in Richmond Park or go on a grand adventure through the ancient oaks. Located in the heart of London and at 1000 hectares, this is the largest green space in an urban area in Europe.

Photo courtesy: rp website

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Walking Distance

1.71 miles

Roebuck is where you meet up with mates for traditional pub atmosphere and stick-to-your-ribs eats. They offer daily drink deals, classic stained wood and stone decor, views of the Thames and you can sip drinks outside before sitting down for supper.

Checkout: Mushroom wings for vegetarians, mezze ham tomato flatbread hummus platter, steak & red wine pie, Beavertown Neck Oil IPA, organic kombucha

Photo courtesy: tek.moirai

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Walking Distance

0.46 miles

A touch of romance and lovely views of the Thames make this boutique hotel a gem. Well-appointed rooms combine touches of the modern and the Georgian era, and service is exceedingly friendly. The in-house restaurant and bar are excellent options.

Photo courtesy: Bingham

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