One of the most beautiful places in the entire world is Richmond Park in south-west London. A 2,358 acre nature reserve with elevated views across Thames Valley to Windsor and Surrey. These picturesque vistas can be seen from the paved area behind Pembroke Lodge, at King Henry’s Mound.
The area is steeped in royal history and once had its very own palace. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the palace stood on the bank of the River Thames opposite the Palace of Westminster. Henry VIII lived at Richmond Palace, which no longer exists, until he moved into Hampton Court Palace. Queen Elizabeth I passed away there in 1603. It was her favourite home.
The Park was created by Charles I in 1634. There is a protected sightline in place since 1710 from the east of the mound to the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is wonderful to see the dome, through the holly hedging, from the mound in the park.
Through the centuries writers and artist have been inspired while spending time in this beautiful park. Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed plays by William Shakespeare performed at Richmond Palace.
In the gardens of Pembroke Lodge there is a Poet’s Corner area with a half circle bench. Also a wooden plaque which is dedicated to the Scottish writer James Thomson (b. 1700 – d. 1748). One of his poems, The Train: –
As we rush, as we rush in the train,
the trees and the houses go wheeling back,
but the starry heavens above the plain
come flying on our track.
All the beautiful stars of the sky,
the silver doves of the forest of night,
over the dull earth swarm and fly,
companions of our flight.
We will rush ever on without fear;
Let the goal be far, the flight be fleet!
For we carry the heavens with us, dear,
while the Earth slips from our feet!
Fortunately during my visit late April in 2017, the stunning laburnum tree pergola was in full bloom. It is perfectly positioned near Poet’s Corner in the gardens of Pembroke Lodge.
Pembroke Lodge is a magnificent Grade II listed Georgian mansion. It was built in the mid-18th century and restored to its former glory in 2005. Originally, the mansion, was a humble one room cottage occupied by a mole catcher. Now it caters for wedding parties and other private celebrations. It has a lovely self-service pantry which is open to the public. It is the spectacular views from the back of the mansion’s own gardens, within the park, that make Richmond one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Hearsum Collection, is a charity. The charity’s main focus is to preserve the history of Richmond Park and it is based at Pembroke Lodge.
The main attraction to the nature reserve, a site of special scientific interest, is the red and fallow deer. Over 600 of them roam freely since 1637. The main reason for the visit was to capture them on camera. Fortunately it was a lovely sunny day which enhanced the images all the more.
The deers are such graceful, beautiful animals and one of my favourite animal species. I felt so honoured to be in their presence. At the same time, I respected that they are wild animals and I was in their space. Another reason Richmond is one of the most beautiful places in the world, being amongst all this natural wildlife is so special and makes one feel so humble. In a suburb that is not far from the centre of the major city of London.
Church Walk is off Richmond High Street, with a lovely church and cottage style houses. Old Palace Lane, towards Richmond Green, looks as though it hasn’t changed much over the centuries and is lined with Georgian style houses. The Green is a perfect spot to have a picnic. Richmond Theatre overlooks the Green and bespoke shops and restaurants are nearby. A dog grooming shop, Richmond Rascals, window display caught my eye with the doggy clothes hanging in the window.
Richmond River Walk is enchanting with a bridge, boats and several places along route to dine alfresco. Tucked between Hill Street and the riverside is exquisite Heron Square with markets held there every weekend.
A delightful restaurant to dine, which is tucked away in Church Walk, is La Buvette which offers fresh french regional cuisine and has a magical leafy courtyard.
You can reach Richmond Park, from central London, by several modes of transport. The loveliest way would be to catch a Thames River Boat from Westminster Pier to Richmond and make your way to the park from there.