Richmond is considered London's most attractive borough, which for centuries has been a favourite retreat of Royalty, the rich and famous. It currently has a population of approximately 187,500, and is only 15 miles from central London.
A Brief History
Richmond was originally part of an area known as Shene. It became Richmond when Henry VII had a palace built there in 1501, which he named Richmond Palace, after Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire. The town which sprung up around the palace also adopted the name 'Richmond'.
The River Thames runs through the heart of the borough for 21 miles linking Hampton Court Palace, Richmond town centre and Kew Gardens with central London.
A 20-minute walk along the river from Richmond town Centre will take you to Ham House and Garden, an atmospheric Stuart mansion from 1610. The house remains a treasure trove of rare and unusual objects, with spectacular interiors and faithfully restored formal gardens.
On the opposite bank of the Thames, attractively connected by Hammerton’s passenger ferry, lies Marble Hill House, an elegant Palladian villa built in the 1720s for Henrietta Howard, the beloved mistress of King George II.
The world-famous Hampton Court Palace, surrounded by its amazing gardens on the banks of the River Thames, was the residence of Henry VIII, William III, Mary II and other royals from around 1500 to the first half of the 18th century.
Kew Gardens, the world’s first and greatest botanic gardens, originated in the late 17th century. Kew Palace, the earliest surviving building inside the Gardens was once home to King George III, Augusta’s son, known as the ‘mad king’.
The jewel in the crown is majestic Richmond Park, with its gently rolling hills, ancient copses and herds of free-roaming red and fallow deer, a landscape which has changed little from the days of Charles I. From selected vantage points within this largest of the Royal Parks it is possible to view St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and other iconic central London landmarks.
Out on the water, passenger boats cruise upstream to Hampton Court or down to central London, offering an alternative and unique method of transport and an opportunity to discover the Thames from an entirely new perspective. If you are feeling energetic you can even hire a traditional Thames skiff or rowing boat and be captain for an hour, or a day! The river hosts many local events, ranging from regattas to dragon boat racing, and of course not forgetting the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and the annual Great River Race, held every year in September, which lays claim to being the longest river race in Europe.
Last updated 09/02/2015
Historic Timeline of Richmond, London and Richmond, Virginia