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There is so much to discover and enjoy here that you should allow a whole day to explore the town, river and Richmond Hill.  You might even have time for a boat trip. Actual distance to walk about 3½ miles

So, from the station turn left down The Quadrant, a busy shopping street. At the triangular traffic island cross over to Duke Street, on the right. At the end is Richmond Green. This was used for jousting tournaments in Tudor times and cricket was played there from the 18th century.  A description of a match played in 1731 which finished in a riot, can be found here: Richmond Green.Turn left for a feast of (mainly Georgian) architecture. 

The Gothick style of No. 3 is a bit of a surprise. No.10 is an up-market optometrist practice with a splendid antique sign, while of all the delicately ornamented doorways, No.11 with its cherubs is especially appealing.  Pass (or not) The Cricketers pub on the corner and wander ahead to one of the town's interesting lanes, Paved Court, with its small shops and houses of the 1690’s. No 1 has an early 19th century bow window.

At King Street turn right to get back to the green for more glorious houses - Oak House and Old Palace Place in Old Palace Terrace. Cross Friars Lane and go right, then left to discover Tudor House and Maids of Honour Row, which was built in 1724 for the attendants of Caroline of Ansbach, wife of the future George I. By a post box there is an information board. At the end of the row pass through an archway in Old Palace Yard, once the outer courtyard of a huge palaceTo the left are some Tudor buildings in the warm red brick and blue diaper patterning of the period (though much altered over the years). They originally formed part of the external wall of the palace where Elizabeth I died in 1603. Ahead of you is Trumpeters House (so-called because of statues that used to stand each side of the portico).  
Turning right at the top of the square you will see some white cast-iron bollards with the initials ‘ER’. This is the beginning of Old Palace Lane with early 19th century cottages on one side and the wall of Asgill House on the other. Built in 1757/8 this neat Palladian villa was used as a summer residence by Sir Charles Asgill, Lord Mayor of London 1761-2. Turn left down this lane to reach the river.You might like to make a detour  to the right, (about 15 minutes in total) going under Twickenham Bridge for the unusual Richmond Lock, (1894). On the way you will cross George III's Meridian line. If you peep through the modern steel posts* you will glimpse the obelisk and Observatory that George III commissioned in order to see the transit of Venus in 1769. He had it set up with three obelisks along his personal Meridian. The Observatory set the official time for London throughout the 1770’s  (a standard national time was not necessary until the coming of the railways). 

The lock is a little further on, and is the last one downstream. Techno-buffs will enjoy the elegant bridge and having a look at the 32 ton barrages that are lowered into place between the arches as the tide begins to ebb. Their purpose is to maintain a regular depth of water between here and Teddington Lock whatever the state of the tide. Up to 1938 there was a fee to use the lock - hence the quaint railway-style ticket office. Splendid view of Richmond from the middle of the bridge.

To continue to Richmond Hill (about 1 mile from here), return to Twickenham Bridge and pass the front of Asgill House. Set into the garden wall is an enchanting pink summer house. This part of the river bank is known as Cholmondely Walk, and is very busy at summer weekends with people admiring the view, boats being hired by the hour and the Yarmouth Belle paddle steamer taking trippers for a cruise.   At Water Lane you will find seats and The White Cross Hotel. Here the path broadens out to create a small square where you can sit in pleasant surroundings and perhaps have some refreshment.

Soon the route is more peaceful, with plenty of grassy places to sit. There are also boathouses, restaurants and large residences whose gardens stretch almost to the water. After the last set of boathouses there is a slope up to Petersham Road. Cross by the lights and enter the 1887 Terrace Gardens. From here you can climb the hill fairly easily, any of the winding paths will do. Don't miss the quirky old café with rustic wood verandah. To find it,  go past the ornamental glasshouse -  the cafe is a few minutes away, up on the right, half-hidden in trees. Once at the top of the hill, you can sit on a bench and enjoy the river panorama, so long admired by artists. These included Sir Joshua Reynolds who in 1772 commissioned Wick House, situated to the south on the gravel esplanade. (Actually, the house next to it, The Wick,1775, is more attractive.) Over the road is the handsome Richmond Gate Hotel, once a country house - if you continue to the end of the esplanade, you will see the gates of Richmond Park from which it gets its name.

To return to the town centre, retrace your steps and then keep walking down the road named Richmond Hill.  You will pass more intriguing properties – especially No. 48, The Old Vicarage School, a cream stuccoed Gothick edifice. The way is now more urban, with small shops. At the point where the street becomes Hill Rise, turn right into The Vineyard.  This is a completely different type of area, generally less grand. There are three sets of almshouses, of which the prettiest are Michel’s Almshouses, 1811, with cottagey garden. Go down as far as Halford Road (note Halford House on the corner). Turn left here - it leads to Paradise Road.  Cross this to pop down Church Walk, an old passageway through the churchyard of St. Mary’s, and you will be back in the bustling centre of Richmond. Turn right down George Street to return to the Underground/train station. At this point I must come clean and tell you that if you coming to Richmond from south east London, the excellent South West train service from Waterloo might be a better option than the Tube.

*The hedge obscures the site-line in summer, so you have to peep through the foliage to the right.
**An easier, step-free, way to get to the top of the hill is to start from St. Mary's Church, reversing the directions given above.

Photos: (to enlarge click on image)
View of the Thames from Richmond Hill
The Yarmouth paddle boat
Optometrists sign
Old Palace Yard/Maids of Honour Row 
Henry VII Archway
Nineteen century cottages
Richmond Lock
Asgill House

Trumpeters' summerhouse
The Old Vicarage School/Michel's Almshouses. 

Richmond is just one route from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to go to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR