Lives in London, England
Since May 2009
Travel writer/blogger and flashpacker. Visit me at https://www.followingtherivera.com/ to see the latest in boutique and luxury hotel travel. Read my full review on Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort: https://www.followingtherivera.com/2018/06/11/what-to-expect-from-cape-santa-maria-beach-resort/
Castles, Historic Sites, Gardens, Mysterious Sites
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks, Gardens
Gift & Specialty Shops
Arenas & Stadiums
Architectural Buildings, Gardens, History Museums
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Historic Sites, History Museums, Architectural Buildings
Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings
Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings
Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
Accessible by train from central London, Hampton Court Palace has an active events calendar, with activities to delight both parents and their offspring in equal measures. Take your pick from the family trail to costumed tours to the onsite family room - complete with toys and dressing up clothes, it's great for occupying younger visitors, while simultaneously giving parents a little breathing room. The palace is also home to the oldest medieval hall as well as one of the oldest theatres in the country, while the Chocolate Kitchens is a fascinating place for chocolate lovers and history buffs alike. Finally, children big and small cannot fail to have fun getting lost in the outdoor maze - in short, a brilliant day out for families of all ages.
I've yet to meet anyone, young or old, who doesn't enjoy a good pizza, and Ruben's Bakehouse does them exceptionally well. Serving sourdough pizza baked in a wood fired oven, the selection offered here is utterly delicious, and generous enough in size to feed a hungry family.
Whatever the season, Richmond Park is well worth visiting. The largest of all London's Royal Parks, Richmond was originally intended as a deer park by Charles I. Today, it is home to many deer (630 Red and Fallow varieties) as well as other wildlife such as kestrels, owls, and foxes. With more than enough space for kids young and old to let off steam, this is a great family destination for everything from picnics to sports to wildlife watching.
Families and children will enjoy exploring the many trails inside the Isabella Plantation. A 40-acre woodland garden renowned for its collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, and trees, the plantation was first opened to the public in 1953. Open all year round, there are four colour-coded trails to choose from, of varying lengths, and the ponds in the plantation along with the many woodland areas are great for keeping children entertained.
Christmastime is typically pantomime season for many theatres, and Richmond is no exception. Highly entertaining for families with children, should you be visiting during this period, it is worth checking which pantomime will be headlining come December. Fans of Victorian architecture will also be impressed by the building's exterior and interior design.
Bratwurst, Currywurst, or Wieners, Stein's serves great traditional German cuisine on the Richmond waterfront, that's sure to be a hit with sausage fans in the family. The Bavarian dining experience also includes the essential sauerkraut and potatoes (mashed or pan-fried, the choice is yours), as well as Munich brewed lagers for the grown-ups.
Chocolates and Italian ice cream always go down well when travelling with kids, and the selection served at this Italian chocolate shop does not disappoint. Its location overlooks Richmond Green - perfect for burning off the calories after sampling all the sweet delights on offer here - and the shop even caters to people with dietary requirements, including several sugar free goodies.
Have a family day out while learning something new about another sport. Similar to American football, Twickenham Stadium is home to the English game of rugby. Book a visit on a match day, or take a stadium tour; there is plenty to do and see at this iconic attraction, which lies not far from Richmond.
Strawberry Hill House is Britain’s most stunning example of Georgian Gothic revival architecture, and makes for a great family afternoon out. Showcasing many items from the collection of owner Horace Walpole, the villa has magnificent renaissance glass in each room, while the five acres of land surrounding the house add an additional charm to the estate. From bug hunts to special under 5's activities, the venue also hosts a number of family-friendly activities - be sure to check their online calendar before you visit!
Local favourite patisserie and coffee shop Lulu’z is just a short distance from Twickenham train station. Fill up here on breakfast goodies from the menu, or freshly brewed coffee and homemade cakes and pastries - Lulu’z is a worthwhile family pit-stop at any time of day for replenishing energy reserves!
A popular art gallery among local residents and visitors, Orleans House Gallery hosts both art exhibitions as well as numerous activities for adults and children to enjoy. Sunday Afternoon Art is a drop-in session specifically designed for children and parents to get creative, while the gallery also offers daytime, evening and weekend art classes for adults.
Old Deer Park is a members-only sports club that overlooks Old Deer Park Common. Within close proximity of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the venue offers more than a great place for private functions. It's also home to sports clubs such as the London Welsh Rugby Football Club (RFC) and the Richmond Cricket Club, and visitors can watch a cricket match free of charge on the weekends. Plus, there are two children's play areas nearby, meaning that the kids can have fun while the adults brush up on their knowledge of English sports!
This Palladian villa is a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of central London. A great example of Georgian living, Marble Hill House was originally built for the mistress of King George II. Pack a picnic and dine with the family in the magnificent gardens of this venue, or take a refreshment break in the Coach House Cafe.
An outing to Royal Botanic Gardens is not exclusively for lovers of flora and fauna. This family-friendly attraction has plenty of iconic buildings and glasshouses to explore, such as the Princess of Wales Conservatory, as well as an arboretum with trees from around the globe, and museums and galleries that house captivating exhibitions all year round. The highlight for kids however, is probably exploring above the trees and the gardens, via the treetop walkway. At 18 metres high and 200 metres long, the walkway is an opportunity to observe nature and the wildlife at closer range.
This Grade I listed building is located within the grounds of Royal Botanic Gardens. Having undergone many restorations, the house resembles more of a mansion than a palace, but it a great place to pop into nonetheless. Take the kids back in time here and learn all about Georgian culinary life with a visit to the Royal Kitchens – an area untouched since the death of Queen Charlotte in 1818.
Set within the grounds of Kew Gardens, this homely retreat was a favourite of Queen Charlotte and King George III. The rustic cottage enjoys a quiet rural setting where the royal couple would once enjoy long walks around the gardens, while taking tea. You can literally walk in royal footsteps here!
Exit either Barnes Bridge or Barnes train station, and a short walk from either hub will take you into Barnes Village. Here, a nice selection of independent shops, cafes and restaurants awaits, which are a far cry away from the noise and mayhem of central London - and much easier to navigate with the kids in tow! Tree lined streets and beautiful houses are the norm and the growing Scandinavian community in the area is reflected in the specialist shops you can browse along the high street.
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, waffles, and cupcakes equals big smiles and happy tummies at The Farmery. Located on The Quadrant, a short distance from Richmond train/tube station, this sweet cafe is local favourite. With great quality ingredients and generous portions, this is one food stop that's sure to please the whole family!
An authentic taste of Lebanon is served up at the Beirut Street Kitchen. Get your hands around a stone baked Lebanese wrap (from their special oven) containing traditional ingredients like falafel, Lebanese spicy sausages or tabbouleh. Prices are very reasonable, and the delicious aromas emanating from the small establishment are bound to have the grown-ups ordering coffee to go while you're there!
Barnes Green is a charming green space situated within the village. A large pond with ducks and other pond life adds to the ambiance of this tranquil green, and its feathery inhabitants are always happy to be fed any leftover crusts you might have with you!
Great food, a homely atmosphere and a pretty flower stall next door can all be found at this traditional English pub. With a generous sized beer garden at the rear, children are more than welcome as long as they're accompanied by an adult.