Car-free around RichmondGreater London

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Explore Richmond Park, the gardens at Kew, the palatial grounds of Hampton Court or the little villa that the painter JMW Turner designed for himself. Get there by bus, bike or even boat; walk along the Thames or climb above it. One of London’s finest areas for a riverside stroll, Richmond offers scenic stretches of the long distance Thames Path or Capital Ring. And whether you fancy a pint in a waterside pub or tea in a hilltop mansion, this is a refreshing car-free destination for everyone. You can get to Richmond in half an hour on a district line tube from Victoria, in 20 minutes via a train from Waterloo, or on the Overground line from North London. To use the 2 for 1 train offers (and there are several locally) make sure you follow the link and print the voucher.

  • County: Greater London
  • Great for: arts | boat trips | music | nature reserve | palaces | Picnics |
  • Refreshments: Lots of pubs and cafes to choose form
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch:
ferry - Richmond car-free adventures
  1. 4. Hampton Court by train, bus or boat

    Henry VIII’s palace is a justifiably popular tourist attraction. Surrounded by acres of magnificent parkland, this riverside gem is conveniently near the train station.

    • Trains run from London Waterloo frequently; you can get on at Vauxhall, Wimbledon and other stations and a travelcard is valid as it’s still in Zone 6. If you’re getting a train from Richmond, change at New Malden.
    • The station is just five minutes walk from the palace. Come out onto the main road and turn right over the Thames, enjoying the fabulous views from the bridge.
    • From Richmond, it’s simpler to catch bus R68. Hop on outside the railway station at stop C and step off outside the palace half an hour later.
    • In summer, you can even catch a boat – with Thames River Boats (33% off if you’ve got a travelcard).
    • Follow Good Journey’s directions.
  1. 5. Visit Turner’s House in Twickenham

    Bus R68 stops, on its way to Hampton Court, next to Marble Hill Park, with a great view of the white riverside mansion at the heart of this grassy field. It’s a four-minute walk from here (up Sandycombe Road) to the villa that the artist JMW Turner designed for himself in 1813. After a recent fundraising campaign, Sandycombe Lodge was saved from rot, damp and later extensions and restored. Turner also painted the local views, like the panorama from the top of Terrace Gardens.

    • Sandycombe Lodge opened to the public in summer 2017 and you can now visit on Wednesday-Sunday afternoons.
    • It is worth booking ahead as places are limited.
    • There’s no café, but plenty of options nearby including the The Crown on Richmond Road, which offers a 20% discount to people visiting Turner’s House (get a code when you visit).
    • You can catch the R68 or other buses, stroll over Richmond Bridge and down the road, or hop on a train to St Margaret’s station, one stop further west.
    • St Margaret’s is also a handy station for visiting Marble Hill House, a riverside mansion full of grand furniture, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and Georgian portraits. The Coach House café, open all week, can do you tea and lemon drizzle cake in a rustic setting or there are the pubs and cafés near the station.
  1. 6. Kew Gardens

    Bursting with flowers and jungle-scented greenhouses, Kew is a great destination in any season: from snowdrops, blossom and trailing palm-house orchids to autumn leaves and carpets of crocuses, there’s always something spectacular. Kids will love the treetop walkway or the giant water lily leaves and there are acres of safe, traffic-free lawns to run across. And it also offers two tickets for the price of one to visitors arriving by train.

    • Kew is one stop from Richmond by train or tube (in summer there are boats here too), but bus 65 is also an efficient way of getting there. Running ten times an hour from stop C opposite the station, it takes eight minutes to trundle up the main road to Kew and drops you right outside the main Victoria Gate into the gardens.
    • There are plenty of cafés inside the gardens and around Kew tube station, but for a local treat, don’t miss the Maids of Honour teashop, almost opposite the bus stop. Supposedly, Henry VIII originally named these custard tarts, when he found Ann Boleyn and other maids of honour eating them from a silver dish.
    • The Musical Museum at Kew Bridge, just up the road, has a collection of mechanical instruments, from theatrical organs to clockwork music boxes is a treasure house of pre-electronic magic.
    • Follow Good Journey’s directions.


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