With the time it takes to journey to Richmond from most other parts of London, quick trips there and back aren't really the area's forte. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do in Richmond, so going all in and making a day of it is a very welcome option. Our guide on how to spend a day in Richmond will show you how to make the best of your time here and enjoy a break from the city hubbub in airy natural surroundings.
How to spend a day in Richmond
In this guide
- You'll need coffee
- Keep on strollin'
- You'll be wanting some lunch after all that walking
- Buy something nice for someone nice
- Dinner, drinks and off you go
You'll need coffee
All-day dining from the land down under
The Antipodea cafés are laidback Aussie pitstops for refuelling with hearty international favs such as toasts, egg-based brekkie dishes, pizzas and burgers, accompanied by freshly brewed hot coffee, refreshing smoothies and more. If you happen to pass by later in the evening, you might be surprised to see that these all-day brasseries have turned into vibrant dinner and drinking spots.
Farm-to-table coffee pioneers
Kiss the Hippo is an award-winning coffee company that prides itself on its innovative techniques and approaches, sourcing ethically produced coffee beans and introducing various sustainability initiatives. They export London's first carbon-neutral coffee around the world – you can order it from their website, or get it at one of their cafés around the city, including this cosy contemporary spot in Richmond. While here, you can also treat yourself to a pastry.
The great outdoors
These two sibling cafés share a couple of key characteristics: a fully vegetarian and vegan menu, and splendid views of the River Thames meandering away at their doorstep. Both offer salads, cakes, pastries, soups and other plant-based fare to be enjoyed in their spectacular outdoor areas, as well as fresh juices, organic wines, beers and fairtrade coffee and tea.
Keep on strollin'
The largest park in London
This is the big one and likely the main reason most venture to Richmond in the first place. London's largest park is a vast National Nature Reserve that's famed for its wildlife – herds of deer roaming freely through the mists on a cool morning is an unforgettable sight that's made its way onto many a postcard. Even if the deer elude you, however, marvellous green spaces where you can enjoy various park-related activities await.
The magnificent Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew are the repository for a collection of flowers, trees and other flora from around the world, displayed in gorgeous outside gardens with paths weaving through among the trees. The Princess of Wales Conservatory, meanwhile, hosts ten computer-controlled climate zones and a series of incredible micro ecosystems. Kew Gardens also host topical exhibitions, with the festive light trail a particular highlight.
Add a competitive edge to your strolling through beautiful landscapes at the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club next to Kew Gardens. This elite members' club features two 18-hole courses on its beautiful grounds, along with a clubhouse, a golf shop and a practice area. It's open to non-members at select times.
You'll be wanting some lunch after all that walking
A picnic in the garden
Despite being located in a garden centre, the Petersham Nurseries Café is regularly touted as one of the most charming ones in the entire city. Especially in full spring bloom or hot summer sun, the seasonal delicacies served in the lush setting will soon have you forgetting London's urban sprawl is just a tube stop or two away. Book the afternoon tea in the glasshouse for a quintessentially British experience.
Oxford College Boat Race charm and beach club vibes
Having quite literally landed here only recently, this renovated Daisy Green Collection barge is a water-top dining destination with splendid views of the river – the latter are especially magnificent come sunset. In sunny weather, you can soak up the rays while lounging about the deck and pontoon, nibbling on freshly baked pizzas and barbecue delicacies such as tomahawk steak, and sipping on a range of drinks.
Imaginative British cuisine
A sustainable all-day brasserie in a sophisticated space with marble countertops, natural light and original artwork, The Fat Badger serves hearty modern cooking celebrating the spoils of the English countryside. Expect contemporary twists on classic British flavours, for example, whipped mackerel cornettos with English caviar, broad bean hummus, and ham hock terrine. The bar and main dining area both offer award-winning bottles from the restaurant's own vineyard in West Sussex.
He's the captain now
Rick Stein is a renowned British chef who has cooked for the Royal Family, among others, and is widely considered to be one of the country's top authorities on seafood. The menu at his riverside sanctuary on the outskirts of Richmond celebrates the best of Cornish seafood delicacies with signature dishes such as Dover sole and lobster thermidor, accompanied by uninterrupted views of the Thames and fine wines. Best of all, the restaurant offers an affordable two- or three-course set menu on weekdays.
Oktoberfest by the Thames
Not to be confused with Rick Stein's seafood bastion further down the river, Stein's in Richmond nonetheless shares a couple of very appealing aspects of that establishment – a riverside location and splendid view. Instead of a seafood restaurant, however, it's a proper Bavarian biergarten with wooden trestle tables on a large outdoor terrace, plates of wursts, schnitzels and pretzels on the table, and heavy steins of Munich lager in hand.
Upmarket seafood experience
After more than a century, acclaimed seafood restaurant Scott's in Mayfair finally took the plunge in 2022 and expanded. Its Richmond site spans two floors, with a ground-floor dining room dominated by a marble-topped champagne and oyster bar. A sophisticated bar and restaurant area can be found upstairs, while a large outdoor terrace provides al fresco dining with a view. Just like its Mayfair counterpart, this is a luxurious destination for indulging in delicacies from the deep.
Buy something nice for someone nice
Rich Richmond chocolates
An offshoot of the famous Gelateria Danieli down the road, Danieli on the Green is a chocolaterie with a mouth-watering assortment of both local and international chocolates. In addition to the changing selection of handmade chocolate truffles, they offer seasonal treats, novelties, drinking chocolate and other chocolatey delights. Vegan chocolate is available as well, and whatever you buy can be gift-wrapped beautifully.
A Tardis-like bookstore
If you're looking for some new reading material to enjoy while lounging about Richmond Park, on the ride back home across London, or as a gift for someone, pop into The Open Book. First opened in 1987, this independent store stocks books on all sorts of topics and with all sorts of themes, with the deceptively small shopfront hiding shelves stretching far to the back. You might even find a few intriguing rarities here, for example a signed first edition of Kate Bush's song book.
One of London's most beloved toyshops
Behind its timeless red shopfront in Richmond, Pandemonium stocks thousands of traditional toys and games for children of all ages. The colourful shelves are stacked high with all sorts of imaginative and inspiring treasures, from popular brands to off-beat board games and science experiments. The shop also features its own playroom, which customers are free to use when it's not being used for workshops, classes or other events.
Dinner, drinks and off you go
Lush, effortless glam
Overflowing with fab personality and elaborate, flamboyant decor that's sure to brighten up your Insta-feed, Richmond's Rock & Rose is an award-winning bar and restaurant that's a popular choice for laidback meals and special occasions. The menu has something for everybody, pulling together favourites from all over the world and offering a dedicated plant-based menu as well. Meanwhile, the cocktails complement the venue when it comes to eye-popping vibrancy and the intense flavours to match.
Elevated pub ambience
Combining a cheerful, vibrant pub atmosphere with an elegant restaurant and an outdoor terrace, The Watermans is an award-winning venue in Richmond that caters to folks from all walks of life. You can enjoy regularly changing all-day menu in the dining area with white tablecloths and classical portraits on the walls, then head to the bar for a post-dinner tipple. In addition to locally brewed beer and various spirits and cocktails, The Watermans stocks quite a few bottles of Italian and French wine.
Ticking all the boxes
With a varied array of affordable drinks, all sorts of bar snacks and heftier bites to feast on, a sunny terrace and a welcoming, sociable atmosphere, Richmond's Pitcher & Piano by the river has all its bases covered. During the week, you can take advantage of deals on lunch and prosecco, with cheap shots and bottomless brunch kicking in on weekends. The menu is a highlights reel of comforting dishes from around the world, for example, burgers, fish ‘n' chips, and tacos.
Divine Italian feasting
Al Boccon Di'vino doesn't have a menu. Instead, you get multiple generous courses of authentic Italian fare, similar to being at an Italian wedding. Fresh pasta, imported Italian meats and cheeses, Venetian desserts and other classics are accompanied by fine Italian vintages. The in-demand restaurant has a traditional, intimate setting, with pans hanging on the wall and a friendly staff making you feel welcome.
Authentic Breton cuisine
Chez Lindsay is a local French eatery, cosy yet sophisticated. The menu places an emphasis on galettes, savoury buckwheat crepes that are considered a Breton speciality. Other Breton recipes and French staples are available as well, for example onion soup or ratatouille, along with French cider and fine vintages. The authentic restaurant also offers private dining facilities.
Warm Persian hospitality
At Diba, surrounded by stone walls, decorative murals and hanging lights, you can explore the flavourful intricacies of Persian cooking at your leisure. The menus at this welcoming eatery are based on family recipes and include traditional breads, pickles, salads, wraps and falafel, as well as plenty of grilled meat and seafood. You can wash it all down with cocktails, beer and wines from around the globe.