A Brilliant Tennis and Nature Walk
Wimbledon Park to Richmond
8.7 miles / 14km
Fast Walk 2 hours 50mins.
Allow a day to visit most of the sights.
Start: Wimbledon Park – District Line (Green on the tube Map)
End: Richmond - District Line
Highlights Include: Wimbledon All England Tennis Club Museum & Tour, Wimbledon Common & Windmill, Richmond Park, Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge, King Henry's Mound, Ian Dury Memorial, Richmond Riverside, Richmond Lanes and Richmond Theatre.
This walk celebrates Wimbledon All England Tennis Club and nature lovers will adore the amazing Richmond Park. The Isabella Plantation is one of my favourite places in London - Its always beautiful! This walk ends with the cafés and bars at Richmond Riverside and we strole through Richmond’s Lanes full of craft, fashion and jewellery boutiques. This is a stunning walk.
A) A: Wimbledon Park Station
Exit Wimbledon Park Tube Station and turn left to cross the road, then turn right into Home Park Rd. Wimbledon Park is on the right. Enter the park and you will see public tennis courts, crazy golf, and a large lake. Head north past the running track. If you want to use any of the facilities check the website for details.
Exit the park and turn right onto Wimbledon Park Road. Head for Gate 4
B: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Shop.
I’m a fan! I love to play and watch tennis. I cannot recommend the Wimbledon tour and museum highly enough. This is a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. The website is very informative.
Exit Wimbledon Tennis, turn left and then left again onto Bath Gate Road. At the ’T’ junction, turn right on to Somerset Road. Cross the main road (Parkside) and you reach Wimbledon Common.
C: Wimbledon Windmill Museum.
Built in 1817, the windmill has recently been fully restored. Enthusiastic volunteers run the museum. Check the website for opening times. The café next door is very popular with walkers, runners and cyclists. Don’t expect fine dining but the toasted sandwiches are good!
At the café continue east. The route takes you past the beautiful Queensmere Lake. Continue along the path keeping the cemetery on your right hand side. Cross the playing fields to the far corner heading for the main road, the A3. Cross the A3 and you will see Stag Lodge Riding Stables and the Robin Hood Gate entrance to Richmond Park.
Richmond Park – Free Admission
Richmond Park is huge and covers an area of 2,500 acres. It was created as a royal hunting park. The first known King to have used the park was Edward I (1272 – 1307). In 1625 when London was ravaged by plague, Charles I moved his court here and stocked the park with red and fallow deer and built a brick wall enclosing the park. Today deer are a very common sight with 630 allowed to roam free. Richmond Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.
D: The Isabella Plantation - Free Admission
For nature lovers the remarkable Isabella Plantation is one of the must-see London sights. This woodland garden was first planted in the 1830’s but it has become famous for its National Collection of Wilson Kurume Azaleas. The display in April and May is breathtaking. The garden also features rhododendrons, camellias, heathers and many other lovely Spring flowers. The Royal Parks make a tremendous effort to ensure that visitors to The Isabella Plantation enjoy their time here in all seasons. The plant diary link below shows you what to look out for each month.
E: Pembroke Lodge
The Georgian mansion Pembroke Lodge is one of London’s favourite wedding venues. It’s also a popular restaurant and tearoom with glorious views across the Thames Valley. Needless to say the Lodge’s gardens are spectacular.
F: King Henry’s Mound.
This is the highest point in the Park. The views from the mound are stunning. There is an uninterrupted view of St Paul's Cathedral, 12 miles away. This view is now protected and no new building can obstruct the view. Looking in the opposite direction there’s a wonderful panorama of the Thames Valley and on a clear day you can see Windsor Castle.
The mound got its name (probably incorrectly) from Henry VIII. It was believed that Henry waited on the mound for a flare to indicate that his wife Anne Boleyn had been beheaded and that he was now free to marry Jane Seymour. Historians question this, as it is now known that on that day Henry was miles away in Wiltshire. The mound itself is believed to be a Bronze Age burial chamber.
From King Henry’s Mound continue north. Go through a beautiful laburnum arch and you come to an ornamental garden known as Poets’ Corner.
Reasons To Be Cheerful
Look out for a bench inscribed ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’. This is a memorial to rock star Ian Dury, who died in 2000. ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ was one of his best-known songs. Ian’s fans (and I am one) loved his songs for their playful humour and wit. His family chose this site for a memorial as Ian loved bringing his children to the Park and the view over the Thames Valley was one of his favourites. Richmond Park has assembled a play list of Ian’s songs, and these can be accessed with a Smartphone app. Or you can use the link below.
Exit the park and continue straight on past The Richmond Hill Hotel. Look out over the river and enjoy the view, made famous by Turner and Reynolds in their paintings. At Terrace Field turn left at the steps and walk down to the river. Cross the Petersham Road and turn right on the towpath. You can see Richmond Bridge in the distance.
G: Richmond Riverside
This is a very popular place for Londoners to sit out and enjoy the sunshine. The river is flanked with terraces, restaurants, bars and cafes. Richmond Bridge, built in 1777 is the oldest bridge still in use on the Thames.
Continue along the towpath until you reach a large pub, The White Cross. Turn right into Water Lane and walk up the hill past a very traditional pub The Waterman’s Arms. Continue and turn left at the top of the road. Turn left into King Street, then right into Paved Court.
Paved Court is one of the small streets and alleyways that form the area known as The Lanes. Take time to explore The Lanes as they are full of charming boutiques and shops specialising in crafts, jewellery, art and fashion. The cafes are good as well.
In the Middle Ages Richmond Green was famous for its jousting competitions. Today you are more likely to see a local cricket match. At the end of the green is the Theatre.
The theatre was built in 1889 and it has been beautifully restored. See the website for details of forthcoming productions.
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