Ham House from Richmond walk
Leave your car at home and discover this beautiful walk, linking Ham House and Garden with Richmond Station.
See the only view in England protected by an Act of Parliament
Featuring iconic views, the circular route leads you from the urban bustle of Richmond town centre to a rural riverside walk along the Thames Path.
Richmond station, grid ref: TQ180751
Leave Richmond Station via the main exit, turn left and walk along the high street. After passing Marks and Spencer, the road bears left, follow it round and carry on straight.
When you reach a mini roundabout, go straight over and shortly you'll come to a fork in the road. Take the steeper road to the left, up Hill Rise, which soon turns into Richmond Hill. As you get closer to the top of Richmond Hill, you'll see a terrace to the right. Take time to stop and enjoy the iconic view down towards the River Thames. Once you have enjoyed the view, carry on along Richmond Hill towards the two roundabouts. Go straight at these roundabouts, past the Royal Star and Garter, towards the Richmond Gate entrance to Richmond Park. The Royal Star and Garter is now a home for retired, elderly and disabled ex-service men and women. On this site previously was a hotel where Queen Mary and Napoleon III once stayed.
The iconic view from Richmond Hill, down towards the River Thames, is the only view in England to be protected by an Act of Parliament. Depending on leaf coverage of trees, Ham House can sometimes be seen from here.
Go through Richmond Gate and at the mini roundabout turn right, taking the footpath on the right hand side of this road. About 0.4 miles (0.6km) along the path, just before you reach a single storey brick building on the right, go through a metal gate with a sign for Pembroke Lodge Gardens and King Henry's Mound. King Henry's Mound is one of the highest places in London. On a clear day, St Paul's Cathedral, which is 10 miles (15km) away, can be seen from here. Once through the gate, head straight down towards a gap in the hedge, which within a few yards will take you to another gate. Go through the gate and follow the well-trodden path down the hill towards the children's playground.
Ahead is a kissing gate, leave the park here out onto Petersham Road. Cross over the road using the pedestrian crossing and turn left passing The Dysart Arms. Once past the pub, carry on along the main road, following it around to the left.
Once around the corner, take the first turning on your right where there is a large gatehouse leading you into Ham Avenues. The historic avenues were developed in the 1670s by the owners of Ham House. The avenues radiated from the house as a display of wealth and power. Take either road to the side of the gatehouse and immediately after, join the gravel avenue (as if you had gone through the gatehouse). Carry on straight along the avenue, across the narrow tarmac road, passing Ham Polo Club on your right. At the end of the polo club, turn right down another avenue following the wall to the garden of Ham House. At the end of the wall, turn left and walk towards the entrance to Ham House and Garden, which is well worth a visit.
Built in 1610, Ham House and Garden is one of a series of grand houses and palaces alongside the River Thames. It is an unusually complete survival of the 17th century that impressed in its day and continues to do so today.
To carry on your journey, from the main gates, turn right and then follow the path through the meadow and across the wooden bridge. Turn right onto the Thames Path. (NB: If the river is flooded, follow the alternative FLOOD ROUTE*, step 8). Follow the Thames Path for about 1.3 miles (2.1km) passing Marble Hill House (on the opposite side of the river). You'll come to Petersham Meadows; the National Trust manages Petersham Meadows as grazed flood meadow. If you are walking between April and September, you will see a herd of Belted Galloway cattle. Carry on and go through Buccleugh Gardens and under Richmond Bridge until you reach Friars Lane.
Thames Path highlights
The Petersham Meadows, where you will see cows grazing in summer months, were part of the estate of Ham House until the end of the 19th century. The view from Richmond Hill down to the meadows has been featured in many paintings by artists including JMW Turner. Hammerton's Ferry, the foot and bike ferry service which links Marble Hill House (English Heritage), on the northern bank, and Ham House and Garden, on the southern bank of the River Thames, is one of only four ferry routes in London that have not been replaced by a bridge or tunnel.
Turn right into Friars Lane and follow it up to Richmond Green, the large open grassed area. At this point, there are two paths going through the green, take the one on the left and go across the green. At the end of the green, carry on straight ahead down the road, Little Green. Go over the bridge and before you reach the bottom, turn right, opposite Park Lane, down Old Station Passage. Once through the passage, cross over the road using the pedestrian crossing and walk towards Richmond Station.
*FLOOD ROUTE: Go back over the wooden bridge and follow the left hand path leading you into the historic avenue, following the garden wall of Ham House. At the end of this avenue, turn left into another avenue towards the gatehouse. When you reach the main road, Petersham Road, turn left. Instead of following the road round to your right, go straight on into River Lane. When you reach a narrow house, The Old Lodge Stables, follow the sign through the passage towards Richmond. Once though the passage, carry on straight. Ahead is a signpost pointing left to Richmond, follow this sign and walk along the tarmac path which will then lead you into Petersham Meadows. Take the main path on the left through the meadows. At the end of the meadows, go through the gate and carry on straight into Buccleugh Gardens. You are now back at point 6 on the route.
Richmond station, grid ref: TQ180751
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