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Cycle Richmond to Hampton Court

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published July 13th 2010
Sometimes it's more about the journey than the destination, and this is one of 'those' sorts of trips. The route, mostly along the river Thames at its most dappled green, is flat and scenic, with only a short section on the road each way - and even then it's mostly smaller residential roads with little traffic. You could probably do it in a little over 30 minutes if you wanted to, but this is more the sort of Sunday afternoon cycle where there's so much to look at that you don't want to zip by it all with your head down; so it will probably take you closer to 75 minutes.
Now pack your bread for the ducks into your basket and let's push off...

Start downhill crossing Richmond Bridge so that you're on the opposite side of the road to the station - on this side of the river there's a nice, wide, shaded, paved path that you're allowed to cycle on. Once you start seeing moored crafts on your left, it means that on your right you're coming up to Marble Hill House and Park. If you glance across the river you'll see Ham House but don't get distracted and drive into the bushes! Past Marble Hill and you're in a part of Twickenham with lovely, quiet houses, a little beach and an excellent pub called The White Swan, which has a nice outdoor deck area.

A little further on at Swan Island Harbour there's another nice pub with a boat launch where you have to leave the riverside path for a small section of road riding, along Twickenham, then Manor, then Broom Roads, until you get to the intersection near Horse Fair Bridge. Here you can cut back onto the river and ride beside it until you round a long, gentle bend and see Hampton Court's towers rising over the trees of the ancient park, and new golf course. Some of this stretch is on bumpier track, so be careful if you have a road bike

Once you get to Hampton Court you can park your bike at Hampton Court Station and then explore the little riverside town - which has a few good bric a brac and antique stores - visit the palace itself, or have a rest in a pub there are a few right on the Thames.

On the way back you can vary your route by crossing the river just past Teddington Studios and riding back along the barge way along the other side of the river, admiring the narrow boats passing though the locks as you pass leisurely by. This is another bumpier option, but the track is wide and taking it means you come out on the right side of the river to sit by the bridge and feed the swans... Sunday afternoon bliss.
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Why? It's pretty, it's outdoors, it's exercise, it's relaxing and if the weather turns there's plenty of nice pubs to shelter in.
When: Whenever the mood takes you, but it feels like the kind of thing to reserve for a Sunday afternoon.
Where: Starting at Richmond, ex Richmond station and finishing at Hampton Court near Hampton Court Station
Cost: Free
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