RICH­MOND AND FA­MOUS

Stop to smell the roses and the money

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DESTINATION BRITAIN - JANET FIFE-YEO­MANS

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.

EAT­ING

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

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