Although it is only about 10 miles south-west of central London, the suburb of Richmond enjoys something of a country feel thanks to the 2,500 acres of grassland, hills and gardens that make up Richmond Park. The largest of the city’s eight royal parks, it is home to wild red and fallow deer.
Riverside bars and restaurants make the most of Richmond’s picturesque setting on the Thames. There is a rowing club for those who want to get out on the water, while walkers can stride out on the 184-mile Thames Path that stretches from the river’s source in the Cotswolds to the sea.
The panoramic view of the Thames from the top of Richmond Hill, which has inspired artists including JMW Turner, is deemed so special that it is protected by an act of parliament. Another centuries-old vista, of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park, is protected under planning rules.
Theatre on your doorstep
There is no need to head to the West End for top-quality entertainment. Richmond Theatre is a Victorian gem that was designed by Frank Matcham, the celebrated theatre architect. It attracts touring productions as well as pre- and post-West End shows, while the Orange Tree Theatre offers a more intimate experience by staging productions in the round.
A charming green creates a sense of village life in the heart of town. It provides a welcoming spot on a sunny day to relax with a drink from one of the adjacent pubs and watch cricketers take to the crease. It is overlooked by some of the area’s finest buildings, including period town houses.
Photographs: Paul Kennedy/Alamy; Peter Lane/Alamy; David Woof/Alamy; Dreamstime