Turner view Richmond

Richmond: Hollywood-on-Thames…

This will be a walk down memory lane for me, as I recall my July trip to Richmond, a leafy suburb of London and my former home. I wax nostalgic about our first expat assignment and the friends we made there.

Richmond has earned the nickname “Hollywood-on-Thames” because of the high concentration of celebrities who have been spotted in the area. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie called Richmond home while filming in London, as did Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Johnny Depp and many others. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2020663/Angelina-Jolie-Brad-Pitt-join-growing-band-A-Listers-Richmond.html)

I was never lucky enough to run into any of those stars while I lived there, but I did spot Mark Ruffalo and Ricky Gervais walking along the Thames – on different days, mind you. For some reason, they don’t seem like great drinking buddies.

And one day as I walked out of the courtyard of my apartment complex, Javier Bardem & Penelope Cruz passed right by me on the way to my building. No, I did not fall all over myself when they walked by. I didn’t even gawk…much. There was a beautiful penthouse for rent in the building, so I surmised they were there to take a look at it. They did not choose the flat, which was just as well. There was no guarantee I’d be able to keep my cool the next time I ran into them.

Richmond UK Thames view
Who wouldn’t want to live here? Penelope and Javier really missed the boat. That penthouse has a fantastic view!

Richmond was also recently named the happiest place to live in London (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/richmond-voted-happiest-place-to-live-in-the-capital). It’s no wonder why. With numerous top-quality restaurants and great shopping within walking distance, it has a very upscale but still quaint atmosphere. Does it sound like I miss it much?

Luckily, Hubby’s job takes us back through London occasionally, so I am able to catch up with friends and get my Turner View fix. Even Mark Ruffalo couldn’t resist tweeting a pic of this view.

Turner View Richmond UK
The view immortalized in paintings by artist William Turner and others. Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall shared a house with this view, that is until they got divorced. She got to keep the view along with a hefty divorce settlement.

My first weekend in Richmond, I met a lady named Betty and she invited me to join in with a group of ladies who met every Wednesday at a different pub in the area. She called it Wine Time Wednesday, and I could hardly contain my excitement! Another name the group went by was A.W.O.L, or American Women on the Loose in London. Let me tell you, they were a fun group! We traversed London from one side to the other, taking in shows, going on hikes and checking out any new event that came to town. My experience there would have been very different – and a lot less fun – without these gals. Given that our initial activity was meeting in pubs, I would be remiss if I did not post a few pics.

Richmond pubs
One of the many pubs in Richmond. You could go to a different one every night of the month, though you would soon need bigger clothes – and a new job..
Richmond Pubs
The pub culture is one of the most charming things about the UK. Most flats are the size of a postage stamp, so a pub is a great spot to get out and enjoy some company – and a pint or two.
Richmond Pubs
Yep, another pub. Can’t help mah-self. But, check out those flowers!

Here are a few more pics of the place we Wine Time Ladies liked to call Disneyland…

Richmond Bridge
Some very dapper folks head out for a nice row on the Thames.
Richmond Bridge
Richmond Bridge. Honestly, I have so many pictures of this bridge that it borders on the ridiculous. I even bought a painting of it. This was our favorite weekend coffee spot.
View from Richmond Bridge
View from Richmond Bridge. This spot is always a hive of activity, with musicians, boat-makers, cyclists, runners, and families out enjoying the day.
Terrace Garden Richmond UK
No green area is wasted here. This is the Terrace Garden just down the hill from Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall’s place.
Richmond UK
Flowers, flowers, everywhere!

A short walk down the Thames is the village of Twickenham, home of British Rugby. While a huge, modern rugby stadium dominates the area, there are still plenty of quaint, narrow streets filled with restaurants and, you guessed it, more pubs.

Twickenham is known for Eel Pie Island, a small island in the middle of the Thames which was the site where many Rock 'n Roll legends got their start. Now Eel Pie Island is an artist colony.  This pub is a nod to those glory days.
Besides Rugby, Twickenham is also known for Eel Pie Island, a small island in the middle of the Thames with deep Rock ‘n Roll roots. Many big names got their start at a dance hall there in the 1960’s, such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. These days, Eel Pie Island is an artists’ colony. The name of this pub is a nod to those glory days.
Church Street Twickenham
Church Street in Twickenham, and more lovely flower baskets.
Twickenham Church Street The Fox Pub
Church Street is a pedestrian street filled with restaurants and pubs. The Fox Pub is no bigger than the average American bedroom, but hordes of people crowd in every weekend to hear live music.

Richmond has been a magnet for notable people for centuries, including Kings and Queens. The remnants of the former Richmond Palace are located on the Thames, just down from the bridge. While the shape and trim on these buildings hint at their royal heritage, only artists’ renderings can show how grand it once was.

Richmond Palace.
The remnants of the former Richmond Palace, built in the year 1500. Queen Elizabeth I and Henry VIII both lived and died here.  The palace was torn down around 1650 and the materials were used elsewhere.
Richmond Palace
Plaque outside Richmond Palace.

My computer is filled to overflowing with images of Richmond, as are my memories of our first expat assignment. Most of my Wine Time friends have moved back to the USA, each one going through the difficult repatriation process. As one such Wine Timer tearfully prepared to leave, her husband said, “Sorry honey, our time in Disneyland is over. The park is closing.”

Thankfully, many Wine Timers now live in Houston, so the friendships live on. As often as we can, we gather to visit and recall our many Richmond adventures. Comparing notes on celebrity sightings, recounting the many pubs we visited and the interesting people we met in them, and trading travel expertise are all good ways to relive our time in the Magic Kingdom. Now, if only I had been able to invite Penelope Cruz to tea, my experience would have been perfect!

©2015 Cheryl – All Rights Reserved

11 thoughts on “Richmond: Hollywood-on-Thames…”

  1. Wonderful memories of life in paradise. My heart is filled with amazing times in Twickenham, Richmond, St. Margaret’s, London…well nearly all of the U.K. Best and easiest place I have ever been to and lived. Thanks for the tour, Cheryl.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to hot to Richmond with my dear friend Dee. We’d go and see a matinee show in London in the morning then head to Richmond for lunch and afternoon shopping ….and the shops there are fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much! Glad you have enjoyed it! I am still here, but not for long. We are moving on sometime this spring. It’s been quite an adventure!

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  4. I would like to see photos of the most fancy and trendy parts of Luanda. You are a great photographer. I would also like to see photos and a blog post about the unique fruits and vegetables of Angola. If possible, info about the cuisine too. I love reading your blog. By the way, please do not post my email address because I am scared of cyber perverts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chloe, thank you for your kinds words! We moved to Cairo about a year ago and I had every intention of starting a blog here as well. So many great stories to be written about Cairo, to be sure. Maybe one day soon I will get around to it!

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  6. Oh wow, how incredible! I’d love to read some of those stories, I bet they’re fascinating. Good luck in Cairo and I hope you start a blog soon 🙂

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