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Richmond-upon-Thames residents are among the happiest in the UK. When you look at what the area has to offer, it's not hard to see why.
If you're searching for a property to rent somewhere in London that has a short commute to central London, has a close community and maintains that country village atmosphere, Richmond might be the right place for you. It's also one of the six safest areas to live in London.
Originally a royal retreat, the area has been known as 'London's Arcadia' for hundreds of years, with famous figures such as David Attenborough, Jerry Hall, Richard E Grant, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger all choosing to live there.
Despite its small size, Richmond boasts two theatres, three cinemas, a number of outstanding schools, a world-famous park, and a great range of shops and restaurants. Sports fans are also very well catered for, with Twickenham stadium nearby and plenty of boutique exercise classes, including Barreworks, Bootcamp Pilates and Bikram Yoga. Best of all, Charing Cross is just 8 miles away - and the train will get you to Waterloo in just over 20 minutes. If your dream is to live on the river, there are over 20 miles of riverside in Richmond-upon-Thames, and it's the only London borough to straddle the Thames.
On a Map
Richmond is within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
History of Richmond
Compared to central London, which was established by the Romans c. 43AD, Richmond developed relatively late - it was open countryside until Henry VII built Richmond Palace there, and named the area after Richmond in Yorkshire. It remained largely agricultural aside from the popular royal residence and hunting park (now Richmond Park) until the 18th and 19th centuries, when it became fashionable with aristocracy seeking a retreat from London. Many of the grand houses built in this period remain, including Ham House, Petersham House, Marble Hill House and a number of properties at the top of Richmond Hill. The introduction of a railway station in 1846 meant the area continued to grow, and was eventually absorbed into Greater London.
Although Richmond is located in Greater London, it benefits from great connections to central London, making it a popular with young professionals and commuters. Richmond station is served by the underground (District Line), the Overground and national rail services, meaning that Waterloo is just 21 minutes away on the fast service. The District line is a little slower, but Oxford Circus can be reached in around 45 minutes, while the Overground is the easiest way to get to East or North London.
As for leaving London, there are rail connections to all over the South West of England, and Heathrow airport is just a few miles away for foreign travel.
Cost of living in Richmond
Despite a rather exclusive reputation, renting in Richmond is actually very reasonable - and approximately 20% cheaper than the average London rental prices. This is largely due to the distance from central London and the zone 4 location, although as we have already seen, commuting to work from here is relatively easy. Everything from modern apartment blocks to period buildings and cottages are available, so there are options for singles, couples and families.
Restaurants and bars
With a growing French population in Richmond, demand was high for a great regional bistro until La Buvette arrived in 2009. Nestled in the former refectory of a Saxon church, they serve a concise menu of French classics including mussels, chicken stew, a rustic French soup and a vegetarian Bourguignon made with beetroot, parsnip and potatoes. Sign up to their mailing list and they'll give you a free Kir too!Address: 6 Church Walk, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1SNPhone: 020 8940 6264
This beautiful greenhouse restaurant at Petersham Nurseries became a top London dinner destination when chef Skye Gyngell took over a few years ago, earning the establishment a Michelin star. While Skye has now moved on to oversee Spring at Somerset House, Petersham Nurseries Cafe is still going strong with delicious dishes made from seasonal ingredients. Try the lunchtime set menu for a great value taster of what they serve.Address: Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7AGPhone: 020 8940 5230
While Al Boccon Di'vino is technically a restaurant, it's probably unlike any restaurants you've visited before - there's no menu, no limit to the courses, and you might end up being there for up to four hours! This tiny Venetian spot is like spending the evening at a vibrant Italian wedding feast, complete with fresh pasta and a whole suckling pig. Get your booking in early though - it can sell out months in advance.Address: 14A Red Lion Street, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RWPhone: 020 8940 9060
This lovely pub at the top of the hill is a Richmond institution. Along with serving good value beers, wines and other beverages, it is fortunate enough to face one of the most famous views in the area, over the fields and the river Thames. Customers can choose to enjoy their drinks on one of the benches outside to make the most of this, and the pub also does a great Sunday roast!Address: 130 Richmond Hill, Richmond, London, Surrey TW10 6RNPhone: 020 8948 2329
Q Verde cooks up Italian treats that will have you coming back for more. The family owned restaurant is a popular spot in Richmond, and serves authentic pasta, risotto, meats, fish, and, of course, wonderful Italian desserts like Dolce Del Giorno.
Address: 291 Sandycombe Rd, Richmond TW9 3LU
Rincon Spanish wine bar is a more recent addition to the gastronomic scene in Richmond, but has quickly become a local favourite due to their extensive range of Spanish wines, tasty paella and live music evenings. Tapas are half-price between 5.30-7.30pm during the week, so make sure you pop in after work.Address: Fitzroy House, Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RXPhone: 020 8940 2601
Richmond isn't short of lovely delis and supermarkets, but if you're pressed for time Whole Foods Market stocks pretty much everything under one roof. This American market chain specialises in healthy and organic foods, with a specialist counters for the butcher, fish and cheese, as well as a wide range of organic wines too. The salad, such and smoothie bars make it a great spot for a quick lunch too.Address: 1-3 George Street, Richmond, Greater London TW9 1ABPhone: 020 8334 4130
There are a number of designer boutiques in Richmond, most of which are French brands such as Zadig et Voltaire and Comptoir des Cotonniers, but Matches Fashion has combined all the best names in one luxurious shop. With designers such as Dolce and Gabanna, Acne and Jimmy Choo in stock it's not exactly cheap, but they do have brilliant annual sales if you're in the market for designer bargains.Address: 13 Hill St, Richmond TW9 1SXPhone: 020 8332 9733
This unique boutique half-way up Richmond Hill is a vintage shop with a twist - they specialise in selling designer pieces and second-hand classics, making it the ideal place to find a one-of-a-kind outfit. The collection is well curated and changes frequently, and the owner will take in pieces to sell on your behalf if you happen to have some designer garments lying around!Address: 24 Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey County TW10 6QXPhone: 020 8940 1222
It's not for the fainthearted, but expert cheese-lovers will adore this deli just a few doors down from Vintage Rose, which specialises in selling British and foreign cheeses. All of the cheeses in stock have a card to explain their texture and flavours, so it's the best place to get recommendations for branching out your cheese board.Address: 74 Hill Rise, Richmond Hill, Richmond Upon Thames TW10 6UBPhone: 020 8948 5794
With Amazon dominating book sales in the UK, it can be hard to find a good independent bookshop these days. Fortunately, Open Book in Richmond is still going strong, largely due to their great selection across a range of genres. Owner Helena Caletta knows the stock inside out and is always happy to give recommendations, plus they sell quirky cards if you're looking for a one-stop-shop gift!Address: 10 King Street, Richmond, Greater London TW9 1NDPhone: 020 8940 1802
Things to do
As the second-largest park in London (it boasts over 2,500 acres of greenery), Richmond Park is one of the biggest assets to the area, a key element of Richmond living, and it's a Royal Park. It has wonderful walks, a protected vista of the city at King Henry's Mound, a protected plantation spot, cycle routes, wild deer and even a ballet school. Take a walk here and you'll quickly forget that you're just eight miles from central London!Address: Richmond, Greater LondonPhone: 0300 061 2200
This stunning palace was built just after Richmond Palace, and along with being a fascinating historical site, it's also a great example of Tudor architecture. Originally built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, it was passed on to Henry VIII after Wolsey's execution and was a favourite palace of the royals for hundreds of years - it's even said to be haunted by Henry's fifth wife, Katherine Howard. When the weather's nice, make a day of it by cycling there along the riverside path from Richmond and stopping for a pub lunch or picnic on the way.Address: East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AUPhone: 0844 482 7777
With over 30,000 different living species of plant, botanically themed glass greenhouses, treetop walkways and a sunny restaurant in the Orangery, it's not hard to understand why Kew Gardens is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK. Fortunately for Richmond residents, it's just a short walk away so you can avoid the crowds and visit any time of year.Address: Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3ABPhone: 020 8332 5655
Despite its small size (there are less than 200 seats), the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond is well respected, showing a good range of new plays and forgotten classics throughout the year. A popular pantomime is also performed every Christmas, with the 2014 version starring famous resident Jerry Hall!Address: 1 Clarence Street, Richmond TW9 2SAPhone: 020 8940 3633
For rugby fans, Twickenham Stadium needs no explanation - it's the second largest sporting stadium in the UK, and the home of the Rugby Union. Both domestic and international matches are held here, including the London leg of the Rugby Sevens tournament, and they've even got museum dedicated to rugby onsite. Due to the sheer size of the place, it's occasionally used as a music venue too - artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and the Rolling Stones have all played here.Address: Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BAPhone: 0871 222 2120