From Rome to London - constantly looking for places to shout "I LOVE IT!" at.
Published August 20th 2017
Food, parks, and deer
Living in London is sure tiring: commuting every day, peak hour, those people that don't understand they can't stand on the left side of the escalator, but the list could go on.
After a week of 9 to 5 dealing with all of this, the only thing you want is to forget about the office, forget about the tube, and just relax. Saturdays are made for drinking and partying, but Sundays are meant to relax, so why don't take your sunglasses and have a day off in Richmond?
Less than an hour from Central London, going to Richmond feels like leaving for a trip. A trip in Zone 4, really. So here's a brief walk itinerary for a few hours in Richmond.
From the Station to the Thames
Once you get out of the train or underground station, you'll find yourself on the main street of Richmond. Hard to get lost in the area. At this point, you should go left and lose yourself in the shops of the area, not only the ones that you can easily find in London. Ever thought about a headpiece as you were starring in Downton Abbey? That's what Tifter Tat Hat is there for. You never knew you needed a £400 hat, but now you do.
At some point, you'll find a larger street on your right and you will see the Thames. Turn right, but don't go to the river path just yet. If you're in Richmond during the weekend (and I really hope you are), turn left to Heron Square for the Duck Pond Market. You will find a variety of different food, from vegan desserts to Indian delicatessen, to one-of-a-kind pies and, of course, brownies and apple pies. It is a small market, but still big enough to have you wandering for 20 minutes before deciding what you're going to eat for lunch.
Buy your lunch and go back to the Thames path: it's time for a small picnic. If it's hot, it could be hard to find a small space on the grass, let alone sitting on the benches, but if you manage to find your little spot it'll be worth it.
From the Thames to the Terrace Gardens
Now that you are ready, just walk alongside the Thames. Enjoy the fresh air, the people on the boats (that you can rent, by the way!). You should be walking with the river on your right to follow this little itinerary. I have had people visiting London completely falling in love with Richmond: walking on the Thames path reconnected them with nature and they were not even able to take pictures to avoid ruining the moment.
After approximately 5 minutes, you should turn left and get to a street. In front of you, on the other side of the road, you should see the entrance to the Terrace Gardens, personally one of my favourite spots in Richmond. Entering the Terrace Gardens is the best antidote to any problem you may have: you're stressed? Terrace Gardens. You had a bad day at work? Terrace Gardens. You had a fight with your special one? Well, by now you know what the answer is. Spend some time relaxing, sleeping even, feeding the squirrels - which seems to be much more friendly than the ones in London. When you're ready, just go up. There's a path in the park, so it won't be hard to find the right way. Plus, if they're called the Terrace Gardens, it must be for a reason. At the top, after catching your breath, you will be rewarded by an awesome landscape. A map will also help you understand what is what and where it is. Enjoy it, it really is beautiful.
From the Terrace Gardens to Richmond Park
Finally, you can't go to Richmond and not visit the Richmond Park. Just walk straight for 10 minutes and you will reach the main entrance. If you're lucky enough, it'll be only a few steps before seeing what Richmond is famous for - deer. You have to be lucky. First time I went to Richmond Park, it took me more than an hour to see two deer, but after that, I was usually lucky enough to see them as soon as I entered the park. Just search for a group of people awkwardly staring at something, and you'll probably find the deers too.
Richmond Park is probably not the most beautiful park you can find in London, let's be honest about that. But it is the only one having deers, to be fair, and it is pretty much all you need.
On the way back to the Station...
Take your time in the park, wander around, take a coffee in the local bar and enjoy your time with nature. When you're ready, just come out where you entered, and walk down the street. You can just go straight on and admire the beautiful houses on the street, trying to guess how much would it cost you to move to Richmond and how convenient that would be.
It's been a while since lunch now, so a break might be needed. An Italian break, perhaps. Walking down you'll find to the right the world-famous Pompi, a recently-opened Italian bar. Their specialty is tiramisł, the original one. Try the variations they offer (ever heard of strawberry tiramisł?) to conclude your day in the sweetest way.
If you're not hungry though, you can always bring something back home. You will find an awesome Italian Gourmet place, [B}Aromi & Piaceri[/B]. Being Italian myself, the first time I discovered the place, I was about to cry. Not only all the products are authentic Italian products, but they're of the best quality. Pasta, sauces, sweets, snacks, cheeses, they have everything you need to satisfy any Italian-food craving you may have.
It is time to go back to your everyday life now, but just remember: Richmond is less than an hour away from London, which for most people is even better than commuting to work every morning.