RICHMOND AND FAMOUS
Stop to smell the roses and the money
BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW
Richmond is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. The regal London borough is a mere 30 minutes by train from the city centre but enjoys protected meadows along with rock star mansions: think Keith Richards writing It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll in the basement of Ronnie Wood’s manor.
My room at The Bingham looks down on to the tow path along the Thames just the other side of the hotel garden which is awash with foxgloves and purple, orange and white blooms. Family boats with names such as Eider Duck and Sandpiper are moored on the water while a barge drifts past and joggers and walkers with dogs pass by.
Richmond’s the kind of place where people who like to visit London but not stay there can find an oasis of peace.
It’s on the border of Richmond Park – where wild red deer and fallow deer still roam the 1011ha – which you don’t have to be rich and famous to enjoy.
On the edge of the park is Kingston Riding Centre, where actor Keira Knightley is known to take her young daughter for lessons.
Chris Hemsworth turned up with his family but after famously bulking up to play Thor, he was deemed too heavy for the centre’s 82.5kg limit. His kids rode anyway.
Kew Gardens are just one stop away by train, Wimbledon and Hampton Court easily accessible and there are plenty of pubs for lunch or just a beer to sit down with while you watch the Thames flow past.
So you don’t expect to find a country lane in London? Turn off Petersham Rd down Church Lane and at the end of the dirt track is another surprise: Petersham Nurseries.
On the border of Petersham Meadow, a protected field where fat cows graze, we walk past standard roses and heavenly smelling lavender to eat al fresco among jasmine and
KEW GARDENS IS A REMINDER OF HOW ENGLAND IS A NATION OF GARDENERS