Everyone who knows me knows about my passion for Richmond. I talk about Richmond all the time. I just love it so much, that it’s become my aspiration to be able to move there and call it my hometown.
My fondness for Richmond arouse in an instant. It was love at first sight. I still remember how I had recently moved to London and the idea of spending a Sunday in Richmond just popped in my mind. I don’t know where it came from. It must have been a remote association that my mind made upon seeing the word “Richmond” on the trainline a few days before. I checked it out on the map to see if it had a park and I was surprised to see how big it was. My curiosity was stirred upon seeing the name “Old Deer Park”. I quickly looked up things to do in Richmond Park and was so happy to discover that my assumption that one could see deers roaming about was confirmed.
Getting to Richmond the first time I was enchanted the very moment I stepped out of the train station. Richmond appeared to me just as I had imagined it: scenic, picturesque, bathing in sunshine, with exquisite shops on the chic high street and beautiful parks and gardens. I was in awe and wanted to make the most of every moment I was there. So, after spending few hours in a few shops that caught my eye, I was set to picnic in Richmond Park. After walking for a while unsure where the map was taking me, I found myself stepping into the Terrace Gardens. The rose beds, the flower arrangements, the fountain, the river filled with boats, the freshly cut grass, the picnickers and easy-goers, the restaurants and cafes on the riverbank terrace – everything was magical and overwhelmingly beautiful. My heart was filled with joy at the sight of all this and I did not want to waste any minute in enjoying it.
The next time I went to Richmond was for one of my friend’s hen parties. Even though, on that occasion, I didn’t get to see much of it, I was so enamoured with it that I decided to stay longer and explore Richmond after everyone else had left to go home.
So, what makes Richmond so "deer" :-) to me?
1. Stunning, beautiful views
Richmond is a jewel in London’s crown. Probably London's most attractive borough, it has long been a favourite retreat for royalty and the rich and famous.
I love all things beautiful and for me Richmond is one of the most visually appealing non-touristy places I’ve been to. Whenever my partner and I go to Richmond for an event and I get out of the car, I instantly feel so happy, uplifted and … at home. I think of Richmond as that wonderful host that always waits for me to come back, with arms open, goodies on the table, everything organised, neat and tidy and ready for me to enjoy. Like it’s quietly whispering to me: I’m here, I’ve been waiting for you and everything is just as you left it last time you were here. And I’m excited to embrace it.
Particular on a hot summer day, bathed in sunshine, Richmond is just spectacular. The way in which the green gardens contrast with the blue river (Thames) and the off-white bridge and terraces is idyllic to me. Think meandering cobbled walks and the most perfectly situated terrace bars and cafes.
I also love the layout of Richmond, with rowing boats, bike hiring places, pubs, restaurants and cafes dotted alongside the Thames, and the highstreet in close proximity, located parallel to the river.
The majestic bridge crossing over the river is centre piece to this beautiful landscape. Whenever I catch sight of it, I feel like I am stepping into a painting capturing nature and human settlement at its finest.
2. It’s the perfect blend of city and village life
To me, Richmond is the place where my favourite city, London, meets the countryside. Part of London’s tube system, Richmond is an extension of the Big City, but at the same time it has the elegant village look and feel, with cobbled streets, large houses, terraces, gardens, vast green spaces (Richmond park, the largest royal park), animals roaming around (who’s not seen deers roaming about in Richmond park?) local market, cafes and pubs.
3. Close-knit community
I love it how Richmond is quite a small area, so people inadvertently know each other. They come together at the Duck Pond Market every Saturday to taste the homemade local specialities, such as pastries and pies, brownies, hummus, oils and sauces.
For some reason, Richmond hasn’t been promoted as a touristy place, so most of the people pondering the streets are locals or nearby Londoners, which, I feel, enhances the close-knit community feeling.
As a market town, Richmond operates quite independently from London. For example, it has its own Christmas lights switch-on event and summer party. I find that this strengthens the community spirit.
4. Relaxing vibes
Whenever I go to Richmond, I lose track of time (which, if you’ve read my articles). With its wide terraces, gardens, parks and beautiful cafes, I feel that Richmond’s primary raison d’etre is recreation.
The laid-back nature of Richmond charges me up with good vibes. I feel like I am on holiday whenever I take a day trip to Richmond.
5. Beautiful cafes and pubs
In line with its laid back nature, Richmond’s coffee scene is staged by independent cafes as well as a few chains.
It was in Richmond where I discovered a Danish bakery called, Ole & Steen, what has now become my favourite café. You can read here what makes it special.
Also, another café that I’ve become fond of is Bhuti. This is a vegan café that’s only in Richmond and it makes the most delicious banana bread toasted with almond butter. Also, it was at Bhuti where I have tried oat milk latte for the first time – which has since become my favourite latte.
Not to mention Petersham Nurseries, with its rustic look and feel and beautiful gardens and flower arrangements.
Also, I’ve recently read in an article that in Richmond resides one of the most beautiful cafes in the UK: The Hollyhock Café, which is a picture perfect place nestled amongst the trees.
Likewise, places like Coffee That, The Hummmingbird Bakery are on my list of coffee attractions that I cannot wait to visit.
6. Great for many sports
On every beautiful day when the sun is shining, Richmond is on my mind. I want to embrace it and roam free in its great green space. I have done all possible sports in Richmond Park from running 10Ks, to long-distance cycling and spinning, all the way to HIIT workouts, yoga on a boat and rowing on the river Thames. I just love Richmond for the fact that it lures me into having an active life and enjoying it to the fullest. As I love playing tennis, I have set my eyes on buying an apartment on set in a residential park with tennis courts.
7. Cherry picked shops
Richmond high street is small and compact with only a select number of shops. But they are some of my favourites (Jo Malone, Anthropologie, L’Occitane, Whole Foods) and I am happy that they are so close together so I can get from one to another within a few minutes.