Everyone else may have decided to run for the literal hills over the last two years and move to the West Country, but not me. I mean, for a committed and hardcore Londoner, Richmond upon Thames basically *is* the countryside. 

With Richmond Park up on the Hill, and Terrace Gardens and Petersham Meadow that run down to and along the banks of the Thames, this little pocket of southwest London is one of the greenest parts of town. But it is not just a nature-lover’s paradise, because we are also spoilt for choice with our restaurants and shops, so it’s no wonder Richmond is often voted London’s happiest borough.

It’s pretty easy to while away a day in Richmond and I am going to tell you how I would do exactly that, should money and time be no object – just make sure you bring some comfy footwear and a stretchy waistband.

Early morning

If I am not being so goddamn bone idle and still in bed – as usual – I will grab a croissant at the Richmond Hill Bakery and head up to King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park, where I will watch the sunrise and admire the view all the way towards St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Coffee

I definitely need some caffeine by now, so I am going to head out of the park, towards Terrace Gardens and Hollyhock Café. I almost didn’t share this hidden treasure with you, but this vegetarian, fairtrade café that looks like it has been delivered from Middle Earth and overlooks the river, must not be missed. 

Brunch

That sunrise croissant has barely touched the sides and my tummy is probably rumbling at this point, so off I go to the Ivy’s Richmond outpost for some eggs benedict and a mimosa. The Ivy is supposed to be a “celeb magnet” and so we live in futile hope that the more times we visit, the higher our chances of spotting local Richmond resident Tom Hardy.

Morning Activity

Shopping! It’s the best way to digest, I find. I will spend a small fortune on handwash in Aēsop; perhaps I will have a facial there too. Then to Bramble & Moss for some flowers and Teddington Cheese for some runny gorgonzola.

Pre-Lunch Snack

There’s nothing like a whizz around the shops to make you hungry again, so I head to Chango, just off Richmond Green. They do the most delicious empanadas, which they will heat up for you, and which you can enjoy on a nearby bench, imagining what it might be like to live in one of the beautiful Georgian townhouses overlooking the Green. 

Lunch

From the Green I will wander down to the river, and along it towards Petersham Meadow, where I will have a well-deserved lunch in the greenhouse at Petersham Nurseries. I am liable to be quite drunk on their delicious Prosecco by now and so it cannot be helped if I give my credit card a further hammering in their shop. 

After Lunch

I may need a siesta now. And as money is no object, I have no qualms in booking a room for a couple of hours at the Bingham Riverhouse, a luxury hotel overlooking the Thames, and once I’ve had my disco nap, I will make myself at home in their garden or the drawing room and have some afternoon tea. Or, I’d head to The Richmond Club, Richmond’s first private members’ club, for a drink out on their terrace garden – the perfect outdoor oasis. 

Sunset

There is only one place worth watching a London sunset, and that is up on Richmond Hill, where you can gaze at the only view in England protected by an Act of Parliament. After all my dining and snacking, I may have to be rolled up the Hill by at least ten Olympians, but it’ll be worth it. I will get a G&T from the Roebuck, which allows drinks to be brought out onto the hill. 

Dinner

The Olympians will roll me back down the Hill for dinner at The Fat Badger. The Lord only knows how I will manage to fit any more food into me by this point, but the FB’s sublime mushroom Marmite eclairs alone are worth a try. 

After Dinner

If I fancy a nightcap I will go to No.1 Duke Street, a neighbourhood bar that is nestled between the Green and the High Street. Just one teeny weeny martini and then straight home… tired, full, poor, probably a little bit drunk too… but very happy with the box of gorgonzola for my midnight snack.

 

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