In the spotlight – Hampton Court to Richmond
…possibly the easiest ‘out of town’ walk of any on this website, but long enough for a good day out. So if you know of any reluctant ramblers just tell them it’s flat with pubs and cafes – they can wimp out at any point, it’s almost London…
“The wise find pleasure in water, the virtuous find pleasure in the hills.”
So, if the sage had it right, the virtuous should head off to the Chilterns or perhaps the North Downs leaving the rest of us to follow this pleasurable riverine ramble.
This walk has virtues of its own. The first being that for any Londoner it is very simple to get to – grab your travel card, then a tube, and a short train ride later you will emerge straight into the breezes and open skies that are a blessing of any Thames walk. And it’s flat all the way.
And then there’s that river thing; the act of walking alongside gently moving water quietens down the spirit and the racing mind.
As with every walk, the day pivots around the arrival of lunch…
The cheeky detour (why does it feel a bit illicit?) into Home Park, the grounds beyond Hampton Court Palace, brings about another interlude of water; this time still, with the possibility of a pluming fountain. Then, heading out across the park there is that sky thing: the sheer space above and around: a bowl of cloud and blue (and sometimes grey, let’s keep it real).
And, as with every walk, the day pivots around the arrival of lunch; somehow the timing of the pubs at Teddington Lock seems to be an act of genius. It’s impossible to walk to Teddington Lock and not have aching legs. This, of course, may be psychological but the legs still ache anyway.
Later there is, for the intrepid adventurer, the detour on the south bank in to Ham Lands where the riverine atmosphere changes to one of meadow and flora. A quirk of history has blessed this secluded pastoral patch with an abundance of wildflowers especially noticeable in spring and early summer.
The final stage leads you to vistas of the grand residences of Richmond Hill, the strolling crowds of Richmond riverside and the abundant choice of trains home.
So, possibly the easiest ‘out of town’ walk of any on this website but long enough for a good day out. So if you know of any reluctant ramblers just tell them it’s flat with pubs and cafes – they can wimp out at any point, it’s almost London.
Should they do so, in the spirit of LoHo, be kind and resist the urge to judge them, at least wait until they’ve actually gone.