London and Richmond-upon-Thames
Kew, Hampton Court, Wakehurst Palace
Introduction by ScubaMom Lynn McKamey
Richmond information by Jim Cain
Even after two trips to the U.K., I have not yet been to London, as in the middle of the city standing in front of Big Ben.  Kenny spent a day there touring around while I was in a business conference and loved it. 

When we returned to Britain in year 2000, our three kids and their spouses spent a few days there, as did a world traveling friend.  While I did research on motor touring the country, Koren undertook the project of finding "proper" London accommodations for all.  She carefully searched through the London hotels for one that had reasonable prices under 150£ (which at the time translated into $225 US), was near a tube, and centrally located in a "nice, safe" neighborhood.  As expected, she found the perfect hotel ~ the Knightsbridge Green Hotel near Harrods and Hyde Park. 

Location of Knightsbridge Green Hotel in London
Everyone who stayed there gave it a big thumbs up, so if you are headed for London, check it out as a good place to stay. 
When Kenny and I flew to London in 1997 in conjunction with a palm (tree) meet at Kew Garden we stayed in Richmond-upon-Thames, a lovely "suburb" on the west side of London and home to the world famous botanical gardens at Kew. 
Glass Palm House at Kew

If you are wondering about seeing palms in England, YES, palms DO grow on the south coast.  They also grow in the wonderful and huge glass Palm House at Kew built in 1844 to house tropical plants gathered by seafaring English botanists from around the world.  I was delighted to finally see and tour this magnificent structure. 
I also discovered that England grows Bluebonnets bigger than we do in Texas.  None of our state flowers come near this size! 

England Bluebonnet flowers
If you like Kew, be sure to visit its "Country Sister" Wakehurst Place located in West Sussex near Gatwick Airport.  One of our day trips during the palm meet was to this gorgeous estate full of woodland trails, tranquil ponds, and huge flowering shrubs. 
pondside walk at Wakehurst Place, Kew's country sister
In Richmond, we stayed at the Bingham Hotel, located riverside and within walking distance of many shops, restaurants, and places of interest.  Below, you'll find detailed information about Richmond, written by a good friend of mine, Jim Cain who visits Richmond often in conjunction with business. 

Jim is also a world traveler - hopefully he'll someday have more time to write reviews like this of all the places he's been and visited. 

Hampton Court Palace on the Thames
Note: before I turn this webpage over to Jim, one more suggestion for a London visit.  Don't miss Hampton Court Palace!  The palm group took a riverboat from Richmond to this "must see".  Our kids easily took the tube from the middle of London to it.  My favorite highlight (besides touring the huge palace) was the wonderful garden maze. 
 (written May 1997, with updates in February 2000)
 by Jim Cain

Miscellaneous Transportation Information for Richmond area: 
Taxis (24 hour radio dispatched) in Richmond-upon-Thames Area: 

  •  Sheen Courtesy Cars, (0208)-876-3000, 0208-943-2225 or (0208)-878-9999; fax (0208)-392-2512 . 38-45£ set fare Gatwick to/from Richmond plus parking (2-3£) and waiting time, if any on arrival side – no extra tips required. 
  • When booking for International arrival at Gatwick, advise how many minutes after your flight arrival you wish to be picked up. You will be charged for waiting time only from the time after arrival that you specified. The driver will meet you at the “General Information Desk” at your arrival terminal, with a sign clearly showing your last name.  If you don't find the driver within 15 minutes after you clear customs, call the above number and check on it (but I’ve never been left in the lurch yet).  (Company is dependable in and around the Richmond area.  If needing a taxi in early morning or any other peak traffic time, be sure and book in advance – i.e. the night before.)  Bingham Hotel can assist you, if needed, as they have the direct numbers on their switchboard.  BEWARE of the Executive Car service advertised in the Bingham as their rates are about 50 percent higher than Sheen Cars.
Bus Service 

It is very easy to move around the Richmond area by bus. One-way fare to either Kew or the office from Richmond is normally 80p, except at peak hours when it increases to slightly more than 1 £ 

  • To Kew Gardens:  Just board Bus 65 (toward town) at Compass Hill (Poppy Factory) – located between Bingham and Hobart Hotels. and get off at Kew’s Victoria Gate or Kew Bridge.  Return Bus 65 just reverses same route, boarding/exiting on other side of the road.
  • To Kingston:  Bus 371 runs between downtown Richmond and Kingston.
“Tube” or Underground and the Train.  An excellent way to move around the London area --- essentially any destination can readily be reached at an affordable price.  These move MUCH faster than Taxis when going to central London. 
  •  Richmond Station is a combination train and “tube” station.  It is the last stop on the Richmond branch of the District Line tube.  For central London sites, change once (easily) at Hammersmith Station to the Piccadilly Line, then get off at desired landmark stop.  Take a walking map as well, since subway stops are NOT indicative of true distances and spatial relationships.  On return, make sure your train says “Richmond” as there is more than one branch of the District Line and not all outbound trains go to Richmond!  This is VERY easy to navigate!  Cost at non-peak period is about 4.50 £
Hotels recommended in Richmond 
(Excluding the very expensive and over-rated Richmond Gate Hotel [H1] and Richmond Hill Hotel [H] – both atop Richmond Hill) 
Recommended near-river hotels in Richmond 
  •  Bingham Hotel-upon-Thames [H3], 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England TW10 6UT.  Telephone (44)-(0208)-940-0902, fax (0208)-948-8737 Hotel was built in 1740.    All rooms provided with ensuite bathrooms, color TV, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities, direct dial telephones and hair-dryer.  “Riverview doubles and Deluxe Doubles are also equipped with other amenities such as ironing boards and trouser press.  Rates here are much less than the larger hotels on Richmond Hill (Richmond Hill Hotel, Richmond Gate, Petersham, etc.   This is a family-run establishment, owned by Mrs. Trinder and managed by “Mr. William”.  See website at for more information.  Feb 2000 rates are given as Deluxe Double/Twin  £135.00  £125.00.  Western Geophysical’s negotiated corporate Single’s rate for March 2000 is £92. 
  • Petersham Hotel [H4], Nightingale Lane (just off lower Petersham Road), Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England TW10 6UZ.   Telephone (44)-(0208)-940-7471, fax (0208)-940-9998 (Also see the Petersham Hotel brochure for photos and information on this lovely old hotel!)   All rooms provided with ensuite bathrooms, color TV, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities, direct dial telephones and hair-dryer.   This is a lovely place, about another 200 yards down Petersham road from the Bingham.  Less expensive than Richmond Hill or Richmond Gate and a bit more than the Bingham – also a bit more “stiff” than the Bingham.  View from Petersham’s Nightingale Restaurant is fantastic overlooking Thames from well up the hill.  A true “postcard” view. 
 Less expensive near-river hotels in Richmond 
  • Hobart Hill Hotel [H5], 43-47 Petersham Road, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England TW10 6UL.  Telephone (44)-(0208)-940-0435, fax (0208)-332-2996  “Set by the river, this friendly and comfortable inn was once the home of the Duke of Clarence”.  This hotel also contains within its structure the oldest building in Richmond.  This is the westernmost section facing Petersham Road.   A bit run-down, but can be “good value for money”.  See for more information.  Feb. 2000 double standard rate: GBP 75.00 - GBP 80.00.
  • Riverside Hotel [H6], 23 Petersham Road, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England TW10 6UH.  Telephone (44)-(0208)-940-1339, fax (0208)-940-0649  “Rooms with all amenities overlooking the River Thames”.   This is a small family hotel on the Thames that does NOT have all the amenities of either the Bingham or the Petersham – my two personal preferences for Richmond.
  • Rose of York [H7] - pub and B&B, almost the street from the Bingham and down near the Petersham Hotel.  Not a bad place (no details here, but consider if traveling along).  Rose of York would be just to the left of the line map given below.  Nice pub.  Several of our staff like to stay here.  Good rates!
Hotel Breakfast Hours:. 
  •  Bingham, Mon.-Sat.: 0700-0930 AM, Sun only: 0800-1000 AM.
  •  Hobart Hall & Riverside, Mon.-Fri.: 07:30-09:30 AM, Sat & Sun: 08:15-10:00 AM
Relationship between hotels: BH= Bingham, HHH= Hobart, RH= Riverside, 65=bus stop for bus route 65 and ^R us access to riverside walk (two with wheelchair access other without). 
  ^             ^          ^                               ^  
  wheel        steps        bus                           wheel  
  chair                                                   chair  
  <200 yards   >< 50 yd><    150 yards    >< 100 yds  ><10 yds>  
The walking time from Bingham to Richmond Bridge, Richmond Bus station or the central restaurant area) is about 5 minutes.  It’s another 10 minutes (15 total) from Bingham to Richmond Tube Station. 
  •  Historical Buildings, Antiques & Shopping:  There are numerous sites to see and places to shop in and around Richmond.  Pick up detailed area map and brochure from the Richmond Tourist Office (very near Richmond Bridge) as soon as you can after arrival.  If you like antiques, there are a number of antique stores all around Richmond – Several are located on Petersham Road and Richmond Hill Rise Road very near our hotel.
  • Theatre in Richmond:  In addition to London’s famous West End theaters (which are only 30 minutes from Richmond Station by the metro), there are several nice neighborhood theaters in the Richmond area.  In case some of you are interested, here is some related information for the period that we will be there.
  • Richmond Theatre [T1], (Victorian Theatre Royal) on Richmond Green  “This late Victorian theatre, recently restored, hosts a wide and varied programme with many international stars and West End previews, with audiences of over 300,000 per y international stars and West End previews, with audiences of over 300,000 a year.  Superbly sited on Richmond Green and close to Richmond Station.  Box office:  0208-940-0088.  Richard Dreyfuss played there in early March 1999.
  • Orange Tree Theatre [T2],, Richmond (a smaller but very well known Richmond theatre).  Tolstoy, The Power of Darkness, will be on during our stay in Richmond.  Performances are Mon.-Sat. 7:45p.m.  Call the box office at (0208)-940-3633 if you are interested.
  • Ham House [S1]:  If you are interested in historical buildings, you should visit the Ham House (and Gardens).  Home to the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale in the late 17th century, the Ham House is located a leisurely 20 minute walk along the south shore of the Thames (or a 5-minute car/taxi drive by road).  This is one of the most outstanding examples of the Stuart period.  It was built in 1610 and extended in 1670s.  Much of the original furniture and decorations survives.  Much of the garden was restored to its 17th century form in 1975.  Lawns or grass plats lead to the Wilderness area with its formal paths and rooms flanked by clipped hedges.  The Cherry Garden has beds of lavender and santolina enclosed by low box hedging.  It is open Mon.-Weds, 1-5pm, Sat. 1-5:30pm, Sun. 11:30-5:30pm.    Admission to the house is 4£ for adults; visits to the gardens are free.  There is also free parking available.
  • Orleans House [S2]:  This is a very interesting house with art gallery in nearby Twickenham across Richmond Bridge.  (see brochure).  Less than 30 minute walk or 5—10 minute taxi.
  • Marble Hill House [S3]:  Another interesting historical house in Twickenham (see brochure). Very visible on walk to Ham House across the river. 
  • Mick Jagger’s primary residence [S4]:  If your tastes run more to the “Rich and Famous” than to the historic, check out the non-remarkable (from the outside) “Abercrombie” 2-3 doors down the hill from The Roebuck pub atop Richmond Hill.  This home is easy to identify because it has a private “entry tunnel” from the street all the way to the building.  This townhouse is reported to have cost “a little over 2 million £ (now $3.3 million). 
  • Royal Botanic Garden Kew [S5], is probably the most famous botanic garden in the world.  To go to Kew Gardens from the Bingham.  There is very simple transport on Bus 65 from the Bingham.  The No. 65 bus is supposed to run every 7 - 15 minutes (depending on the day and the time of day ). If you come by bus, take the Kew Victoria Gate.  Fare is between 80 pence and 95 pence.  Correct change on the bus is much appreciated to avoid having the driver “throw a wobbly”, so try to have exact change or, at most, one Pound coins.  The charge per person for entry into the famous Royal Botanic Garden Kew is £4.50 per person.  If you are into tropical plants be sure and check out the Temperate House, Palm House and Princess of Wales Conservatory.  Kew Gardens closes at about 6:30 p.m.
  • Hampton Court Palace [S6], was built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514 during the reign of Henry VIII, and was subsequently confiscated by Henry.  It has since been the property of the British Royal Family, being added to by various monarchs.  The State Rooms house a vast collection of fine art and furniture.  The Park contains a Maze, reconstructed formal gardens and a deer park with extensive grand landscape features. 
  • Royal Parks of Richmond, Bushy and Hampton Court, The Royal parks of Richmond [S7], Bushy and Hampton Court, as former royal hunting parks, still have their beautiful herds of red and fallow deer descended from the original royal herds.  These parks should be particularly beautiful in May and June with blooming rhododendrons and azaleas.  There is also a wide variety of bird life present.  The palace gardens at Hampton Court should also not be missed (see Tuesday program).
  • Nearby small parks, greens and gardens:  For nice relaxing walks in the woods with or without bird watching, check out the Petersham Wood [S8] behind the Petersham Hotel and the Rose of York Pub, as well as the woods along the Thames [S9] between the hotels and the Ham House.  Also check out the beautiful Terrace Garden [S10], down a couple of hundred yards from the hotels and extending from Petersham Road up to the top of Richmond Hill.
  • Check out the nearby eccentric Eel Pie Island  [S11] [access on the other side of the Thames  -- via Twickenham]
  • If you want to work out and get some exercise, the Richmond Sports Club [S12] will accept daily (£7.50) or weekly guest memberships from area hotels (~£40).
  • The St. Mary Magdalene Church  [S13] is most impressive.  Also check out the very old cemetery  [S14] along the little alley off Paradise Road just past Halford Road (back toward Richmond Hill and Bingham hotel)  [See my note on “Richmond Town” walking tour.]
  • There is a very lovely row of quaint English cottages (occupied) [S15] on a small late between Richmond Station and Sheen Road [See my note on “Richmond Town” walking tour.]
Richmond Restaurants: 
Pubs and grocery stores are listed separately following this list. 

Thai Elephant Restaurant [R19],  (0208)-940-5114, 1 Wakefield Road (an easy 10-minute stroll from Bingham/Hobart/Riverside hotels).  Excellent Thai food with the “beautiful people” of Richmond.  However, this restaurant is not inexpensive.  You should expect dining costs of around 16-20£ per person, plus alcoholic beverages.  I often dine here…  I highly recommend the “Volcano Chicken”  -- Most unusual presentation =Open for lunch and dinner 

Kozachok Restaurant [R14],  (0208)-940-5114, 10 Red Lion Street (an easy 8-10 minute stroll from group hotels.  Excellent selection of Vodkas, with very tasty Ukrainian and Russian cuisine.  Most unusual with cozy atmosphere – very cozy after several ice-cold specialty vodkas.  Open for dinners only.   VERY UNUSUAL!  Good food and better vodkas! 

Don Fernando Tapas Bar and Restaurant [R32],  (0208)-948-6447, 27F, The Quadrant, Richmond, almost directly adjacent to the Richmond Station (about a 15 minute walk from the hotel); serving an excellent selection of Spanish tapas, wines, etc.   This is an excellent and very popular authentic Tapas restaurant.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 

Amandine Boulangerie Patisserie [R34],  almost on Richmond Commons, serving excellent coffee, tea and baked goods.  Great place to pick up some “take-out” pastries and breads.  This is just past (and more or less behind) the main Post Office in Richmond. Nice little outdoor eating area (and some tables inside) but pastries cost 40p more to eat in than to take out.  Buy there and go to a bench on nearby Richmond Green to enjoy. 

Maison Blanc [R33],  A nice looking boulangerie, chocolaterie and patisserie right next to Richmond Tube station.. Another place to pick up some “take-out” pastries.  Two doors down from Shepard’s  and Don Fernando’s. 

Chez Lindsay [R7], (0208)-948-7473, 11 Hill Rise.   Specialty of the house is authentic Normandy crepes and many of them are VERY GOOD!  It’s kind of like being in rural Normandy (France) but in downtown Richmond! 

Nightingale’s  [R1], at the Petersham Hotel [H4],  just off Petersham Road below the Bingham, reservations at (0208)-939-1084), Elegant fixed price 3-course English cuisine meal for 23£ (with surcharges for some special courses).  Offers excellent view of the Thames directly from the dining area.  This hotel is also quite unique and has the longest unsupported staircase in southern England (if not all of England) – a VERY nice hotel!   A bit more pretentious than Bingham but much more “cosy” than fancy ones “on the Hill”. 

Pierre’s Brasserie du Liban [R3],  (0208)-332-2778, 11-13 Petersham Road, serving Lebanese cuisine and sandwiches at a reasonable price in a brasserie atmosphere. 

Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant  [R4], ?? Petersham Road, next door to Pierre’s – also has a “take away” service. 

Café Rouge Restaurant [R6],  ?? Petersham Road, next door to Taj Mahal - A French bistro with “straightforward French cooking at value for money prices” – menu posted daily on chalk board – one of a chain of over 30restaurants in the  London area. 

San Marco Italian Restaurant [R5], next door to Café Rouge – This is a very nice and romantic Italian Restaurant (starters 3-5£, pasta 5-7£, main courses 7.50-15£.) 

Richmond Italian Bar and Restaurant [R36], past Richmond Station – convenient to Orange Tree Theatre.  Pasta, Pizza, and “real Italian ice cream” 

Café Restaurant Beeton [R10], ?? Petersham Road, just up from the Taj Mahal – Serving a special regional British cuisine in an informal atmosphere. 

Narita Sushi Restaurant  [R15], 12 Red Lion Street.  This is a new restaurant (March 1999) in the location where Kim’s Singaporean restaurant was located.  Haven’t tried it. 

Red Lion Peking and Szechuan Restaurant  [R16], Red Lion Street.  Another new restaurant (March 1999) next door to Narita Restaurant.  Haven’t tried it. 

One Paradise Corner [R17], corner of Red Lion Street and Paradise.  Looks very cosy but I haven’t tried it yet (just discovered in March 1999) 

Café éââ Moss Tree [R18], just past Paradise Corner (up Red Lion Street).  Strikes me as a pleasant English food restaurant, but I haven’t tried it. 

Walpole’s [R2], at the Bingham Hotel.  Same room we have breakfast in every morning.  Although I stay at this restaurant regularly , I’ve never actually eaten dinner here. 

La Taverna Greek Restaurant [R11],  ?? Hill Rise, just up from our hotels.  Nice atmosphere & food. 

Café Mamma [R23], on main street past Richmond Bridge 

Dôme Café Bar [R24],  a bistro-like atmosphere, located on main street past Richmond Bridge 

Joe’s Bar and Grill  [R8], – American style place near Richmond Bridge. 

Pizza Hut  [R25], and Burger King [R26], opposite each other on the  main street past Richmond Bridge.  McDonalds  [R30],  is a few doors further down the street toward Richmond station.  My advise is ---don’t bother, just like those at home! 

Richmond Pubs:  

Roebuck  [R37], probably the most famous pub in Richmond, located at the top of the hill, almost adjacent to Richmond Hill hotel.  Has been referenced in numerous writings about Richmond.  It is a nice cozy place with a true pub atmosphere.  Try it out.. 

White Cross Hotel Jug and Bottle [R38],  located right near Richmond Bridge, with a lovely view of the Thames (no longer a hotel, but serving lots of food and beverages. 

Slug and Lettuce Tide House [R39],  located right near Richmond Bridge, across from White Cross Hotel Jug and Bottle. 

The Princes Head  [R40] Pub and The Cricketeers  [R41] Pub, both located very near Richmond Commons. 

The Duke of York [R42] Pub and The Orange Tree [R43] Pub, both located very near the Orange Tree Theatre, just a little beyond Richmond Station. 

Masquerade’s Wine Bar [R44],  located across the little side street from Orange Tree Theatre, obviously catering to theatre crowds. 

O’Reilly’s Irish Pub  [R45],  located right near Richmond Bridge, across from White Cross Hotel Jug and Bottle. 

Richmond Grocery Stores, Delis with only take-out, wine/liquor stores, etc.  [Note that a number of the places above (patiseries and some of the restaurants) also provide take-out services.] 

Shepard’s Food and Wine [R46],  located only a few doors down from Richmond Station, Shepard’s offers an excellent selection of French and English cheeses, English and middle Eastern deli treats and a fair number of wines (as well as 7-Eleven type selections).  If you like ripe French cheese, buy a baguette and some St. Agur cheese!  It IS ripe! Fifteen minute walk from Bingham. 

Marks and Spencer’s [R47],  This is a full service grocery store and wine mart located within a department store.  Good selections.  (Somewhat like a “Rice Epicurian”). Six minute walk from Bingham. 

Tesco’s [R48],  The “Kroger” of Richmond. Twelve minute walk from Bingham. 

Waitrose [R49],  May be the “Randall’s” of Richmond. Ten minute walk from Bingham. 

Odd Bins Wine [R50],  A full liquor store if you need one. Fifteen minute walk from Bingham. 

This is just a sampling of restaurants, pubs, and other sources of food and/or wine in the main Richmond area.  There are numerous other good choices along Kew Road, in Kingston, Twickenham, etc..  See additional handout at Tourist Office for more information. 

CURRENCY EXCHANGE:  You should get close to official US$ per UK£ for credit card purchases and about the same for either ATM or credit card withdrawals (plus whatever service fee your bank or credit card charges for withdrawals – mine is $3 each either Master Card or Pulse).  However, you will get a considerably less favorable rate at any currency exchange bureau (either in USA or in UK).  At airport exchange kiosk, you should expect to buy UK£ at about 10% surcharge for US currency or US Travelers Checks, plus a 3£ exchange fee per transaction.  Try not to end up with too much excess £ currency, as the reverse exchange is also onerous; again with about a 10-15% loss in exchange rate from “buy” rate when buying dollars with pounds.   Again, your best alternative is to use credit cards or ATM cards wherever possible, including as a means to get UK currency! 


Bingham Hotel at 
Hobart Hall Hotel, 

Other information: 

Richmond:  - click on map to see location 

Travel Info: 

Travel to Wales
  wonderful countryside, castles, & inns
Travel to Bath & the West Country
Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall
Travel to Northern England & Scotland
Yorkshire, Lakes District, and Edinburg
Visit London and Kew Gardens
 Information about Richmond-upon-Thames too
~~~ ScubaMom's England Links ~~~
used to plan our trips
Read about Midhurst and our daughters 
English Country Wedding in a 12 century chapel. 
Go to ScubaMom's Main Index
Email Lynn McKamey
Copyright 2000 Lynn McKamey (ScubaMom)
Photos by Lynn and Kenneth McKamey
All rights reserved.