London Guide - The Borough of Richmond - Upon - Thames
The London Borough of Richmond - Upon - Thames is situated 8.3 miles south, west of central London.
The area is reknowned for it's many parks and open green spaces, being home to London's two largest royal parks, and for being the site of Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens, Twickenham Rugby Club and The Marc Bolan shrine.
The borough consists of 19 districts including the tourist attraction towns of Kew, Mortlake, Richmond and Twickenham.
The area is located by the post codes of TW1 through to TW14 and is served by both national rail stations and London underground stations.
The borough is unique for being the only London borough that is situated both north and south of the River Thames.
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Richmond lending library and theatre.
Richmond - Upon - Thames was built along the banks of the River Thames and aquired it's name from the former 16th century Royal Palace that was once situated there, that was built by King Henry VII in 1501 and which was the official residence of King Charles I and his family.
Today the town is reknowned for it's open green spaces, it's wealth of Georgian buildings, it's grade I listed bridge over the River Thames and for being a haven for canoeing and rowing enthusiasts.
The 18th century bridge at Richmond is a stone, arch bridge built betwen 1774 - 1779. It is 300 feet long and 36 feet wide and is the oldest of the London bridges that span the River Thames.
Other eminent buildings situated in the town include the former Richmond Palace Gatehouse, The Royal Star and Garter Home, The American University and the red brick, Victorian library and theatre, the latter of which, was once a famous Edwardian music hall.
The town is set in a picturesque area which is home to a myriad of quaint shops, pubs and restaurants.
The area is also reknowned for it's many towpaths and river walkways, which are a magnet for walkers and joggers.
Nearest access station - Richmond.
The White Lodge, Richmond Park.
Richmond is home to four parks, including London's two largest Royal Parks.
Richmond Park is London's largest Royal Park at 2,360 acres and is a nature reserve and site of special scientific interest.
Home to over 700 red deer, the park is also the U.K's second largest walled park, that also includes Pembroke Lodge - a Georgian town house set in 11 acres of gardens - and White Lodge, originally built as a hunting lodge for King George II in 1727 and now home to The Royal School of Ballet.
Bushy Park is London's second largest Royal Park at 1,100 acres and is home to Bushy House, built in 1663 by William Samwell for member of Parliament, Edward Proger, who was awarded the house by King Charles II for his loyalty to King Charles I during his exile.
Home Park is a 700 acre Red Deer park and the Old Deer Park is a 360 acre Red Deer park. The Royal herds of Red Deer have roamed these parks since Tudor times, when the whole area was once private land of the crown set aside for royal hunting parties.
Bushy Park is accessed at post code - TW12 2EJ
Richmond Park is accessed at post code - TW10 5HS.
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HAMPTON COURT PALACE.
Was built between 1514 and 1529, by King Henry VIII for Cardinal Wolsey.
The palace is the most famous landmark in the area and is reknowned for it's beautiful interior - which houses several antiquities of fine art paintings, ceramics and furniture - and it's gardens that include several landscaped,formal gardens and The Hampton Court Maze.
This famous maze was planted in 1680 by George London and Henry Wise for King William of Orange and is set on 1/3 of an acre of land.
For those that would like to visit the maze, I have included a map of it's route, but for those of you that would rather find out for yourself, I have positioned it right at the very end of this article, so as not to spoil your enjoyment.
One interesting feature of the palace is it's living theatre, where the palace's guides dress up in Tudor costume portraying various people who were connected with palace life, whom the public can speak to and learn all about their lives,from the palace's Tudor period.
The palace also hosts several exhibits and historical enactments about Tudor Britain.
ADDRESS - East Molesey.
POST CODE - KT8 9AV.
Nearest access station - Hampton Court.
Image courtesy of David Iliff GFDL/CC-BY-SA, wikimedia commons.
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew - The Temperate House.
Kew is the home of The Royal Botanical Gardens ( www.kew.org), the world's largest collection of living plants, which has over 7 million specimens.
Created in 1759, the gardens are set in 121 hectares of land that is a designated UNESCO Royal Heritage Site.
The grounds also include 4 Grade I listed buildings, 36 Grade II listed buildings and collections of 750,000 plant books and 175,000 plant pictures / drawings.
The gardens are also a world reknowned botanical research centre and educational institution that employs over 600 botany scientists.
Nearest access station - Kew Gardens.
Kew is also home to the National Archives Office (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), the British government's official home of private records, maps, court documents, cabinet papers and public records office.
The building covers over 1,000 years of British records, including archives from the Doomsday Book.
Nearest access station - Kew.
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Twickenham Rugby Club Ground.
Is another Thameside town that is home to the headquarters of the Rugby Football Union.
The rugby stadium located here, which was founded in 1910, is the largest rugby union venue in the United Kingdon with seating for over 82,000 spectators.The stadium, which also houses a Rugby museum, is the home ground of the Twickenham Rugby Club (rfu.com/TwickenhamStadium).
The stadium also regularly doubles as a concert venue.
ADDRESS - Rugby Road, Twickenham.
POST CODE - TW1 1DZ.
Nearest access station - Twickenham.
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University Boat Race Finishing Stone.
Is another Thameside town that has a few interesting features. As well as being the former home of the Watney's / Budweiser Stag Brewery - where beer has been made since 1487, but was subject to a shock closure in 2010 - it is also the location of the stone that signifies the finish point of the Oxford / Cambridge University Boat Race.
Also situated in Mortlake is the pretty, 19th century, Catholic, church of St Mary Magdalene, whose graveyard features the unusual tomb - in the shape of a Bedouin tent - of 19th century explorer Sir Richard Burton and his wife.
Nearest access station - Mortlake.
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Marc Bolan Shrine, Barnes Common.
Situated between Kew and the picturesque, historic town of Barnes, is the 120 acre site of Barnes Common, a site of special scientific interest, a wetlands conservation area and nature reserve.
The Queen's Ride road that traverses through the common is the location of the Marc Bolan Shrine.
Marc Bolan, who was leader of the 1970's glam rock band, T.Rex, died in an auto accident on the 16th of September 1977, when the car he was a passenger in, crashed against a sycamore tree, killing him instantly, at the age of 29.
This tree has now become a shrine for fans of the glam rock singer, who regularly place flowers and pictures of Marc, around it.
Access to the shrine is by road only and is situated just beyond Gypsy Bridge on the Queen's Ride.
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Title image courtesy of David Iliff GFDL/CC-BY-SA, wikimedia commons.
MAP OF HAMPTON COURT MAZE.