25 minutes heading west from South Kensington, Richmond is a wealthy district bordering the Thames River. Very famous for its outstanding Kew Gardens; Richmond has a lot to offer, but you need to go back several times as the distances from a borough to another are quite important. It was a happy day as Charlotte was back in London for the week-end. So, we organized again one of our famous ‘discovery day’ by a windy Friday. What better choice than Richmond when you crave for an immersion in a ‘back in times’ district?
Indeed, Richmond was founded following Henry VII’s building of Richmond Palace in the 16th century, from which the town derives its name. Then, Elizabeth I spent her last days. A lot of aristocratic people build their Georgian houses there and amongst the vast parks and forest, we still can spot a lot of heritage places.
We started our day from the Richmond tube station. We were right away in the middle of the main street lined with fancy stores, trendy coffee shops and the usual British take-away shops. We were under the impression to be in a rich city in the UK offering all the same facilities as a common district in London. But when we went to the Thames, we discovered a lot of charming pedestrian lanes. Our first stop was in the Britannia, an elegant gastro pub a bit hidden, made of dark wood and housing a protected terrace. We had to wait they had printed the menu of the day (always a good sign) and I had some delicious wild mushroom pasta with truffle oil whilst Charlotte chose the creamy artichoke soup and the Dover sole.
After this perfect break, we headed down the streets to reach the Thames. We followed it for 30/40 minutes, crossing several parks and a forest, admiring the terraces, nice houses and impressive manors. Life must be quite pleasant there.
We visited the Ham House, built in 1610 by William Murray, who was educated with Charles I, and who created for a daughter Elizabeth, Duchess of Lauderdale, a beautiful countryside retreat full of paintings and furniture. The gardens surrounding it must be quite incredible during the summer. During our visit, some costumes from the BBC documentary ‘a Stitch in Time’ were exposed. Inspired by classical Flemish and French paintings, it was nice to discover these garnements.
15 minutes walking later on, we discovered the highlight of our afternoon: the Petersham nursery, a incredible place gathering several green houses, a coffee for a casual lunch – excellent mocha and latte along with a house made pistachio shortbread- and a classy restaurant. Inside we also found a beautiful selection of goods for the house and a natural cosmetic product range. Everything is – of course – expensive but it is definitely worth having a look as the room created is astonished. The place where to have a brunch and to spend your Sunday afternoon.
written by Marine with Charlotte’s pics (I love to write that again!)