To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published March 20th 2012
If you travel through Richmond by car, you will often find yourself snarled up in the traffic through George Street and the Quadrant. However if you decide to park, or if you travel in by public transport, don't miss the little lanes that connect the main streets to Richmond Green. You'll be in for a pleasant surprise away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the traffic fumes.
Wander along Paved Court and spoil yourself with some of the goods on offer in these pretty little shops. At one end (on the corner of Paved Court and King Street) you'll find the Lion & Unicorn Bookshop. Trading for 35 years, this is one of the few independent bookshops in the country that caters purely for children. It can also drop a few literary names as it was first opened by Roald Dahl and continues to hold regular events featuring writers such as Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and Shirley Hughes. What better treat could there be than to take your children to browse between 09.30 and 17.30 on weekdays, 09.30 and 18.00 on Saturdays and 11.00 and 17.00 on Sundays?
Don't believe that Richmond's children call all the shots where books are concerned. Round the corner in King Street is The Open Book, another independent that sells greetings cards as well as books. They try to favour the local area, as was apparent from the current window display featuring Richmond resident David Attenborough, and a book on Richmond.
Back on Paved Court another long established business is Gregory & Co. Much of their jewellery is designed and created in their own workshops and they attempt to offer a friendly shopping service and provide advice on jewellery making.
Susan Clarke is another jeweller, who has been in the area for more than 30 years. The shop specialises in gold, platinum and diamond jewellery, as well as designing, remodelling, engraving and repairing.
If you thought there was a shortage of jewellery shops in Paved Court, you would be mistaken. Like buses they often come along in threes, and the Paved Court hat trick is completed by Hortons. They also celebrate more than thirty years in Richmond and their speciality is both antique and contemporary pieces.
Just in case you thought you could only buy fine jewels, you will probably be relieved to learn that you can indulge your taste for gems of another kind. William Curley's boutique boasts a choice of delicious award winning chocolates and pastries. Not only can you eat their confections, but you can also sign up for chocolate and patisserie courses with them. If you can't visit in person you can order online.
Should William Curley not offer enough of a chocolate choice, you could also pop round the corner to the House of Chocolate on Richmond Green. Here you can buy luxury goodies from their own in house creations and other leading chocolatiers. They also supply diabetic and organic choccies, plus old fashioned favourites like rose and violet creams.
However, back to William Curley, whose next door neighbour is Rosie & Java, a tea and coffee merchant. They offer a wide selection of speciality teas and coffees, and the equipment for brewing them to perfection. You can also book a place on one of their barista training courses to complement the skills acquired next door at William Curley.
There is just the slightest chance that you may find yourself hungry for a proper meal after all this shopping. Why not visit Amadora for some authentic Italian cooking prepared by chefs from Sardinia and Abruzzo? You can start with breakfast from 8.30 in the morning, indulge in morning coffee and pastries, refresh yourself with brunch or lunch, or feast on an early evening meal before finishing the evening at one of Richmond's theatres or cinemas.
Finally you could treat yourself to a hat. Tit fer Tat sounds rather cockney rhyming slang for an area like Richmond, but the millinery is certainly fit for the residents of south west London and Surrey. Whether you're after an impulse buy, or a titfer for a special occasion, pop in for a browse, or book a consultation if you need further advice.