Things to Do in Richmond
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Three hundred and twenty six acres (four in a glass house) of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of living plants are on show at the Royal Botanic Gardens with over 30,000 varieties of plant. The unmistakable glasses make a visit here at any time of year or in all weathers an absolute must. You can see the world’s oldest (living) pot plant, experience 10 different climate zones from rain forest to desert, and if you visit in February you can witness the annual Tropical Extravaganza with an array of flowering exotic plants and orchids. Why not try the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway, giving you a bird’s eye view of the surrounding tree canopy?
There is so much to see and do at Kew Gardens, but if you want a change from the plant life, why not take a look around Kew Palace where you can gain an insight into the life of George III. Or, you could go on a train journey, to save the legs or to view the gardens from a different perspective. There are also 3 art galleries to lose yourself in and 4 catering outlets so you are sure not to go hungry, and 2 shops for those little mementoes.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton court Palace is steeped in over 500 years of Royal history. Built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1516 and purloined by Henry VIII, once Wolsey had fallen from favour, you can see the influence that Henry had on the house, and later that of Charles II and later still William and Mary. You can’t help but absorb the atmosphere here as you wander round the state apartments, the kings apartments and the immense Tudor kitchens. I would recommend making use of one of the guided tours led by period-costumes historians, to get the extra insight into the history of the palace. You can’t leave the site too, without trying the famous yew hedge maze.
Richmond Park’s 2500 acres has changed little over the centuries, and is made up of grassland, bracken and coppiced woodland. It’s widest point is 8 miles in width and the park has the title of being the largest city park in Europe and is famous for its red and fallow deer which wander around freely. While largely wild, this National Nature Reserve and site of special scientific interest has a few tended gardens that show off a wonderful display of rhododendrons, azaleas and spring time flowers.