The palaces that once graced London’s river
to the south and west of the city centre were built in places that
remain popular today, from Hampton Court and Richmond in the west,
downriver to Greenwich. There, on a deep meander in the Thames, a vast
Tudor palace was the dramatic first sight of the city for anyone
arriving by ship. That palace has been replaced by Wren’s handsome Royal
Naval College, a stunning riverside building that is the high point of
this World Heritage Site and the start of the many delights of Greenwich
Park. These include the Royal Observatory Greenwich, home of world
time. Richmond’s palace has also disappeared, but opposite the Park lies
Kew Palace in the grounds of the incomparable Royal Botanic Gardens.
Chiswick House, Ham House and Syon House are the best of a number of
palatial mansions near Richmond, while culture is catered for in the
Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Horniman Museum.
The ruins of this enormous royal riverside palace
lie beneath the Old Royal Naval College green. Many of the Tudor
monarchs lived here, including Henry VI, Henry VII and Henry VIII.
Abandoned under the Commonwealth in 1652, it was eventually demolished
for Wren’s present buildings.
this historic, royal Tudor palace and its extensive grounds is a
popular day out from London. As well as family trails and special
exhibitions, tours of six separate areas with costumed or audio guides
are available. Events held here throughout the year include a week-long
music festival in June, which regularly attracts big-name performers. In
July, the grounds are filled by the world’s largest flower show,
organized by the Royal Horticultural Society. A frequent train service
from Waterloo takes about half an hour but for a delightfully leisurely
trip, catch a boat from Westminster Pier, which takes about four hours .
The World Heritage Site of Greenwich includes Sir Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park,
the Planetarium and the Royal Observatory Greenwich where the Prime
Meridian, Longitude 0°, was established. In the fine park are the Queen’s House and National Maritime Museum.
Greenwich has several excellent restaurants and marine-related shops as
well as a market selling arts, crafts and antiques. The old tea
, is being restored nearby.
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Clock at Royal Observatory
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
former royal garden holds the world’s largest plant collection of
around 30,000 specimens. Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte’s Cottage were used as residences by George III, whose mother, Princess Augusta,
laid the first garden here. Take a Kew Explorer Bus tour of the gardens –
you can get on and off it any time.
Palm House, Kew Gardens
attractive, wealthy riverside suburb, with its quaint shops and pubs
and pretty lanes, is particularly worth a visit for its attractive
riverside walks and its vast royal park There is also a spacious Green, where cricket is played in summer,
which is overlooked by the lovely restored Richmond Theatre and the
early 18th-century Maids of Honour Row, which stands next to the last
vestiges of an enormous Tudor Palace. For some history visit the local
Museum, in the Old Town Hall, where the visitor information centre is
Train to Richmond
Museum of Richmond
Deer in Richmond Park
Carving over entrance to remains of Richmond Palace
Restored façade of Richmond Theatre
Dulwich Picture Gallery
This wonderful gallery is well worth the journey from Central London. Apart from the stunning
collection, there are regular exhibitions, Thursday lunchtime lectures
and friends events, usually including music, food and wine, to which
anyone is welcome.
piece of Italy in London is a high spot of English 18th-century
architecture. The square villa, with its dome and portico, was built for
Lord Burlington, with beautifully painted interiors by William Kent.
Temples, statues and a lake complete the Italianate gardens.
transformed with a new £13 million development, this distinctive museum
appeals to both adults and children. A new giant creepy crawly display
sits alongside an interactive gallery devoted to music and world
cultures. The café looks over the 16-acre garden.
Syon House and Park
sumptuous Neo-Classical villa is home to the Duke of Northumberland. It
has fine Robert Adam interiors and a 40-acre garden landscaped by
Capability Brown and dominated by a splendid conservatory. There is also
a garden and aquatic centre.
Ham House and Garden
outstanding 17th-century house and garden was at the centre of court
intrigue during Charles II’s reign. Its interiors are rich and well
furnished and there is an fine picture collection. The menu in the
Orangery is inspired by 17th-century dishes.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
a view of the famous Centre Court, the museum tells the story of
tennis, from its gentle, amateur beginnings to its exciting professional
status today. The first tennis championship were held in Wimbledon in