The picturesque riverside walk of west London in Richmond

Richmond's Thames bankside has something for everyone, from the charming residential streets and independent shops to the stunning river views and family-friendly activities. So grab your walking shoes and come discover the hidden gems of Richmond's Thames bankside!

Edited by Victoria Bhouddhavongs

Prepare to be swept away by the beauty of Richmond Riverside and the banks of the Thames!

This area is an absolute hotspot for visitors, and the main reason is none other than the majestic Thames itself. There’s an endless array of activities to keep you entertained, from leisurely walks and energising bike rides to sports and delicious dining experiences.

Don’t let the occasional surge of the tides dampen your spirits. With almost 5 meters of water level change at times, some paths may become temporarily impassable. However, you can stay one step ahead by using a useful tide forecaster that will help you plan your route accordingly. And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, head over to the White Cross pub’s beer garden, where you can sip on your favorite beverage while watching the Thames rise beneath you – it’s a one-of-a-kind sight you won’t soon forget!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your walking shoes, bike, or sports gear, and get ready to explore this mesmerising area. And when you need a break, there’s no shortage of charming cafes, bars, and restaurants to choose from. Richmond Riverside and the banks of the Thames are waiting for you!

Tide Richmond Riverside

Cholmondeley Walk

If you want to get the most out of your Richmond Thames bankside walk, consider starting from Cholmondeley Walk. Cholmondeley Walk is easily accessed from Richmond Green‘s west side, through Old Palace Yard‘s palace arch, or Old Palace Lane. Along Old Palace Lane, you will find some of the most charming residential streets and a delightful pub that locals frequent called the White Swan

Old Palace Yard

Just after the White Swan you’ll see the historic Asgill House, a Grade I listed 18th century Palladian house that overlooks the Thames. It has been painstakingly restored to its original design by its current resident and amongst the most important villas erected on the Thames bankside. Facing the river, taking a short brisk walk to the right you’ll reach the Richmond Lock and Old Deer Park.

To the left, there is a lot more of Richmond’s Thames bankside to explore. You’ll find plenty of benches along the idyllic Cholmondeley Walk to sit and enjoy the scenery, including wildlife and boat houses that sit on the Twickenham side. The beautifully landscaped gardens of Queensberry House will catch your eye, complete with a fountain, although you cannot enter it, since it is a private property. Following Queensberry House, you’ll begin walking along the Richmond Riverside.

Cholmondeley Walk

The Richmond Riverside

The Riverside extends from Cholmondeley Walk up to Richmond Bridge, where you’ll find old-world rowing clubs that restore traditional wooden boats. On the Cholmondeley side you’ll find Liquid Gold Cave within the arches of historic homes, offering premium Greek products such as honey and olive oils. Next to it is Christina Gascoigne’s pottery studio and shop, known for her unique, rustic style. These independent shops deserve your attention!

Further along the river, after White Cross, you can’t miss Simeon Telesford‘s natural coconut drinks at his Fruit Village stall. Much loved by locals, Simeon has lived in Richmond for decades after moving from Trinidad. Once, a resident said to him he knew Simeon when he was nine years old, and is now forty!

Fruit Village stall

What could be better than a fun day out by the river? You can enjoy paddleboarding and rowing boats rentals on the Thames, as well as leisurely cruises. And after a long stroll along the picturesque Riverside, head over to the Tide Tables Cafe nestled within the iconic Richmond Bridge arches for a delicious meal and some birdwatching. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic swans, playful ducks, and soaring seagulls!

The Richmond Duck Pond Market in Heron Square is a must-visit every Saturday and Sunday, featuring a fantastic variety of local produce and street food. Located around the square is home to some of the world’s biggest brands such as eBay and PayPal.

The Richmond Duck Pond Market in Heron Square entrance

If you are looking for a lunch or a refreshing beer by the river, Richmond Riverside’s only pubs are Slug & Lettuce, The White Cross, and Pitcher and Piano – great spots for enjoying cold beers! The balconies at The White Cross and Pitcher and Piano offer incredible sunset views across the river. The Peggy Jean, a floating boathouse restaurant with Australian style vibes and BBQ, is just across from Pitcher and Piano and excellent for lazy brunches. Without a question, great spots to spend time with partners, friends and/or family!

Lately, Riverside’s fine dining options include The Ivy, Bingham Riverhouse, and Scott’s (both with views of the river).

The Peggy Jean, a floating boathouse restaurant

Richmond River Thames Towpath

The Thames Towpath, the longest stretch of the bankside walk, lies just after the Richmond Bridge. You’ll notice more and more nature taking over as your journey progresses! You can rent paddle boards and rowing boats right on the riverside steps near the Tides Tables Cafe.

A bit further up there’s Gaucho, a specialty steak restaurant and Stein’s, popular for its bratwurst dishes and German Steins. They’re great spots to have a hearty meal before or after taking a Thames cruise. Bingham Riverhouse is one of Richmond’s most treasured venues, known for its stunning views of the river, great food, and popularity with newlyweds. It’s worth checking out if you can manage it!

After Bingham Riverhouse and passing the Richmond Canoe Club, you’ll be able to access the picturesque Terrace Gardens easily. If you’re thinking of visiting the Terrace Gardens, you can climb up to Richmond Hill for the best views of the Thames Valley and access Richmond Park

Terrace Gardens

If you’re not going up the Terrace Gardens, Buccleuch Gardens has several pathways that lead to Petersham, Ham and beyond.

For family fun, don’t miss the Puppet Theatre Barge, featuring shows from traditional children’s tales such as the Brer Rabbit stories and Aesop’s Fables (in Richmond From the 20th Aug until the 1st Oct 2023).

Puppet Theatre Barge

The Petersham Hotel is easily accessible from the garden, perfect for afternoon high tea. The Rose of York Pub & Hotel in front of the Petersham Hotel is a really quirky pub, filled with taxidermied animals and old fashioned interiors. The best paths to take for long walks are the riverside Towpath or the Capital Ring.

The Capital Ring path cuts through the Petersham Meadow, where you’ll find happy, roaming cows! A popular Richmond spot, Petersham Nurseries, can be accessed easily by this path. There is a fairy cafe and teahouse on the grounds where you can eat before taking home plants or gardening supplies. Occasionally, the nursery releases coveted Super Club tickets for candlelit dinners in its greenhouse! You might want to consider grabbing some during the summer to finish off your day.

Petersham Nurseries

Just after Petersham Nurseries is The Dysart Petersham, Richmond’s only Michelin starred restaurant. This Arts and Crafts building dates back to 1904 and features beautiful woodwork. Traditional husbandry, moderation, and connecting with nature are deeply ingrained in the restaurant’s values. During the colder months, a large fireplace creates a cosy atmosphere while a pianist performs. To experience the explorations of their culinary art to the fullest, the tasting menu with wine pairings is highly recommended.

As the river curves, Ham Polo Club, the only polo club in London, follows Petersham Nurseries and Dysart. Saturdays and Sundays are open to non-members, who can enhance their experience with Clubhouse brunches on Saturdays and picnics on Sundays. 

Just in front of Ham Polo Club on the Towpath route, you’ll come across Hammerton’s Ferry that’ll take you to the Twickenham side. Be sure to check out the White Swan pub and restaurants in Church Street in the evening in Twickenham if you’re feeling adventurous.

It’s not a surprise the area is still on the top list of the happiest place to live in London!

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