|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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miscellaneous Transportation Information for Richmond area:
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 £
(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
Less expensive near-river hotels in Richmond
^ ^ ^ ^
wheel steps bus wheel
<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.
TO SEE AND DO IN THE RICHMOND AREA
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!
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!
INTERNET INFORMATION SOURCES:
Bingham Hotel at http://www.guidetorichmond.co.uk/bingham.html
Travel Info: http://www.theaa.co.uk/hotels/index.asp