Rollin' On The River... The Thames Path: Part 2!

London's Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames might look pretty, she's a looker but Richmond doesn't come for free! Serving Royal Highness at Hampton Court Palace, those queen bee's are bugging about Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens, oh that's just the start! I traded the chaos of Central London for a quieter and tranquil side of the River Thames. London stays legendary!

Tucked away from the smoke and blinding lights of the city lies Hampton Court Palace, a Baroque masterpiece that made me swell with British pride! Completed in 1514 this architectural queen served Royal Highness! I wanted everybody out I wanted to enjoy this marvellous palace to myself! The former residence of Henry VII and many other dignitaries from the British Royal family. The winter deal loved me, I only paid £7.00 for my ticket which is a great discount compared to the usual ticket price. Intoxicated by its grandeur and some other royal potion I had to pinch myself to realise I was still officially in London. Taking the London Underground to Richmond wasn't enough so I trusted the R68 bus to Hampton Court, perfection should never be rushed. The ratchet parts of London will forever be my favourite but choosing class worked right. Don't you act like a peasant! Bow down to Court Palace!

Living simply couldn't have been a concept practiced by the Royal tenants of Hampton Court Palace for William III's private quarters exuded opulence and splendour, I could live in a house like that! Intertwined with the scandalous behaviours of the Stuarts and Tudors of Britain's early Royal Family, the latest Baroque influence was lovingly designed by William III alongside his wife Queen Mary. A love story that was dissolved when William's beloved Mary passed away with Small Poxes the palace moved on with the times. The Privy Garden impressed me much, now can I have the landscape gardeners number please? Taking a brief interval within the Great Fountain Garden made me realised that England is blessed with a host of architectural gems. I'm looking for the greatness that those royals lived in! The base court got me at 'wow' with its red brick facade, I blocked out the tourists because I was channeling a Royal moment. Retain your greatness Hampton Court Palace!

Many say that its not possible to visit both Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens in one afternoon but I never pay much attention. Stepping from the Tube at Kew Gardens Station was a pleasant surprise to see a picture perfect row of chocolate box businesses. I had been transported to another sight of greatness. OK, so I've already been to Birmingham's Botanical Gardens before but I knew that Kew would have an edge of its West Midland counterpart. Successfully bagging another bargain I only paid £9.50 for my entrance fee. The tranquil tones of the gardens steadied the pace of my day, even though the sights were pleasing to the eye I felt like I was on a military pursuit. Where have I gone to now? Apologies, I'll get back to Kew Gardens momentarily! Opened in 1759, Kew Gardens didn't look to shabby for its 256 years of age I was almost bowled over by the peace and quiet. I just didn't want the sun to go down on me!

Heading straight for the Palm House I was taken aback by the humidity, the high ceilings didn't do much for the heat but it was rather chilly outside. I saw tropical plants and trees from around the world, from Africa to the deepest parts of South America. I was very impressed by the elevated walkway that afforded me some amazing views of the towering tropical palm trees. There's no getting away from tourists, they just don't know how to take their photos without causing me to get frustrated! On a historical note I suggest that we should say a big thank you to the Victorian's who gave these gardens a thought! That wasn't intended to be a question! The chilled out vibe of the gardens waned for a moment or so, well every ninety seconds because I twigged I was standing under the eastern approach into London's Heathrow Airport but it was ace to see a Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A330 make its finals into LHR! Check out Kew and its gardens, its a true pocket of calm!

The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames makes central London look a maze of intense energy and impatient chaos, I caught a glimpse over the Richmond Riverside and knew instantly I had to check it out. Richmond itself presented itself as a lovely community of shops, restaurants and a chilled branch on the Thames Path. Talking of the River Thames it was staggering to believe I had dodged my way across Tower Bridge in the heart of London's busy tourist trap, I was in awe of the calm that was served along Richmond's portion of the Thames. I saw two pubs that oozed charm, I was on another hype, I took a small stroll along the water front to fully appreciate it. The afternoon was almost through, I saw the Tide Tables Cafe alongside the riverfront so I couldn't say no to some Macaroni Cheese and a Chai Latte! Richmond kept its London vibe, the stillness of the waterfront kept away the stress-heads!

I hadn't been cursed under any Ju-Ju spell, my senses had been transported to three unique sights within Greater London. Trading London's Urban Realness for a slice of royalty and class was more than worth the epic Tube journeys and bus rides because nothing good is ever easy. Hampton Court Palace served Royal Highness to me with its grand designs not to mention its quaint East Moseley location. Kew Gardens turned the temperature up a few notches with a whole host of tropical flora presented to me. Richmond felt right with its leafy setting I didn't miss my usual London pursuits. Maybe just a little bit! Yes, Richmond!I don't need a dozen roses to be impressed, Richmond's chilled out Riverside didn't even have to say pretty please! London owns its legendary flare, I say branch out away from the city centre just that little bit further. London is like a journey, I sometimes get a little lost but the ending is always sweet! Richmond-upon-Thames, London, keep looking fresh!

Richmond! Keep It Classy!

Joseph Harrison


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