Tag Archives: thames

47: Take a Sunday stroll around Richmond

A recent survey has showed that the residents of wealthy Richmond upon Thames were among the happiest – if not the happiest – of England. This is hardly surprising: only a few miles away from London’s bustle, Richmond is a haven of peace.

Located on a meander of the River Thames, Richmond boasts a large number of parks and open spaces including one of England’s most famous greens (Richmond green).

Richmond Hill rises a few hundred meters south of the city centre. Though only 165 ft (50m) high, the view from its top has inspired such artists as J.M.W. Turner and Sir Joshua Reynolds and is one of the best-known on the Thames. You may find that the landscape has changed little since its depiction by these masters two hundred years ago.

Image of the view from the top of Richmond Hill

To the south of Richmond Hill lies Richmond Park. Three times the size of Central Park in New York, it was originally a hunting reserve of king Charles I and is famous for the hundreds of deers it still hosts.

On Sundays, a stroll along the river Thames is a popular activity for families and lovers alike. Even if as a broke londoner, you may not afford to live in Richmond (after all, the council prides itself on being “a favourite retreat of Royalty, the rich and the famous”…), you might still wish to check out why Richmond’s inhabitants are so happy with their lot.

Tube station: Richmond

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16: Reach the top of the Monument

The Monument, which was built in the 17th century to commemorate the Great Fire of London that devastated the City in 1666, has just reopened after some 18-month renovation work.

the monument

OK, it does not seem that high – but only when you’re outside. When you get inside the Monument, and have to walk the 60 metres up to the top, in narrow spiral staircase where two people cannot walk next to each other, you come to realise that you really have to earn the Monument’s panorama.

view from the monument

When you finally get to the top, you are rewarded with a 360° view on the City, with the Thames, Tower Bridge, the town hall, Saint Paul, the Swiss Re building… and when you exit the column, by an official certificate! (is it too much? Yes!)

view on the Thames from the monument

go to the Monument Website

Nearest Tube: Monument

006: Like King Edward III and his wife, take pity on the burghers of Calais

The Burghers of Calais is admittedly one of Rodin’s most famous sculptures. It shows the 6 wealthiest men of Calais surrendering to King Edward III after he besieged the city for a whole year in the 14th century. The story goes that Edward III had planned to execute the burghers for their fierce resistance, but that his wife persuaded him to show mercy and spare the defeated men’s lives.

The Burghers of Calais by Rodin

It is somewhat surprising to find one of the 12 originals of the sculptures in Victoria Tower Gardens, a rather small and discrete garden just behind the Parliament. Even though it is located few minutes away from the busy Parliament Square, the garden and its sculpture usually go unnoticed. But it really is a shame, as they offer a nice piece of history (and a view on the river Thames).

view from Victoria Tower Gardens

Nearest Tube: Westminster