Living in Richmond: area guide to homes, schools and transport links

Wed 25 Mar 2015

Evening Standard Homes and Property Article on Teddington, written by Anthea Masey and published on the 25th March 2015:

Once the home of kings, this attractive town is the perfect spot for families seeking a home close to central London with a rural feel and Thameside setting.

Without a doubt Richmond is one of the top choices for Londoners with a bit of money looking to buy a home. A happy blend of town and country, its location is close to central London, and a Thameside setting and prominent place in English history make it an enticing choice.

Following the success of the television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and our continuing fascination with the Tudors, no one can now forget the importance of Richmond Palace that once occupied the space between Richmond Green and the river.

The royal residence was built by King Henry VII in 1501 on the site of an  earlier palace. Henry’s other title was Earl of Richmond and he gave this riverside district and the neighbouring village of Sheen the same name.

When Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was forced out of Hampton Court by Henry VIII, he was exiled to the palace. The building was later given to Anne of Cleves after her divorce from Henry and it was where Elizabeth I died in 1603. The palace was demolished  after the English Civil War and today the most prominent reminder of Richmond’s royal past is the gatehouse, which is still owned by the Crown and was let out as a house in 1986 on a 65-year lease.

Picture Perfect

The view from the top of Richmond Hill is one of breath-taking beauty. Below is the meandering Thames, lush meadows and grazing cattle in a scene that remains largely unaltered since it was captured by painters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Turner in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively.


Talking of views, on a clear day from a gap in a hedge on King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park, it is possible to see St Paul’s Cathedral — a view strictly protected by the London View Management Framework.

Richmond, with the river, park, good schools, theatres, wide choice of shops and easy commute to Waterloo, is one of the capital’s favourite places to bring up children. It sits nine miles south-west of central London with Kew to the north, Sheen to the east, Kingston to the south and Isleworth to the west.

The average property price in the borough, according to the Land Registry index is £630,489, making it the sixth most expensive borough in London in which to buy a home. 

Travel

Richmond has frequent trains to Waterloo that stop at Clapham Junction, where commuters can change for Victoria. The journey to Waterloo takes between 16 and 30 minutes depending on whether it is a fast or stopping train. Richmond is also on the District Line. The station is in Zone 4 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,844.

Schools

Richmond has three primary schools that are judged to be “outstanding” by the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted: The Vineyard in Friars Stile Road plus St Elizabeth’s RC and Marshgate, both in Queens Road.

There are three local comprehensive schools: Orleans Park (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Richmond Road, Twickenham, and Grey Court (co-ed, ages 11 to 16) in Ham Street, Ham, are both judged “outstanding” while Christ’s School CofE (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Queens Road is judged “good”.

There are four private primary schools: The Old Vicarage (girls, ages five to 11) in Richmond Hill; King’s House (boys, ages three to 13, with girls in the nursery) in Kings Road and Unicorn (co-ed, ages three to 11) and Falcons (boys, ages three to 13) both in Kew Foot Road. There are proposals to open a free secondary school on the Richmond College site in Egerton Road, Twickenham.

Shops and Restaurants

Richmond has a busy town centre with a good spread of independent shops. Upmarket brands also feature and there’s a branch of House of Fraser plus a Waitrose supermarket. The alleyways that connect the high street with The Green are full of interesting shops and cafés, including a branch of the Margaret Howell fashion brand, the only one outside central London.

Other designer names include Massimo Dutti, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Matches and Zadig & Voltaire. For homeware, there are branches of Anthropologie and Zara Home. Maison on Hill Rise specialises in French and Scandinavian-inspired painted  furniture. The Enchanted Forest in Lichfield Terrace is a well-stocked toy shop and The Alligator’s Mouth is a new children’s book shop in Church Court. Celebrated chocolatier William Curley is based in Paved Court. There are also shops at the top of the Hill along Friars Stile Road, the corner locals like to call “The Village”. Here you will find Food on the Hill and the Richmond Hill  Bakery.

Lots of chain restaurants, including Carluccio’s, YO! Sushi, Zizzi, Jamie’s Trattoria,  Pizza Express, Côte, Strada and Giraffe, have branches in Richmond. La Buvette, tucked away in Church Walk, is a popular local French restaurant, and the Bingham boutique hotel in Petersham Road has a fine dining restaurant. The teahouse at Petersham Nurseries also serves meals in a relaxed setting.

Open Space

The Green is a popular picnic spot on weekdays. At the weekend locals head for the 2,360 acres of Richmond Park, once a royal hunting ground, where walkers, cyclists and horse riders have plenty of space to explore. In spring the Isabella Plantation is a blaze of colour as the large collection of azaleas come into flower. The Thames Path also passes through Richmond.

Council: Richmond upon Thames is Conservative controlled and Band D council tax for 2015/2016 is £1,582.39.