Most people think about retirement as a time to move to the country or coast but there are benefits to a retirement spent near London. London has everything – history, culture, parks and riverside walks and a fantastic array of shops. Living in London, however, doesn’t necessarily mean a retirement home in the City itself. London has a number of leafy boroughs with excellent transport links and easy access to the Capital. Richmond-upon-Thames in Greater London s an excellent example, steeped in history and heritage with green spaces and wildlife, galleries and museums.
London has it all – palaces, historic buildings and museums, theatres and galleries, but head to the Richmond upon Thames area and you’ll discover plenty of culture and heritage. At Hampton Court, there’s the spectacular Thames-side palace, home to Henry VIII and five of his six wives. Ham House is a fine riverside mansion, dating back to 1610, which has survived virtually intact and is set in formal 17th century gardens and wilderness. When you visit Kew Gardens, take the time to visit Kew Palace, the retreat of King George III and the smallest of Britain’s royal palaces. The museum of Richmond celebrates the rich heritage of the area from medieval times to the present days and offers exhibitions and a programme of talks, films and events. Richmond is home to several theatres including The Richmond Theatre and the Orange Tree Theatre.
If you’ve retired to the Richmond area, you’ll have Richmond Park and Bushey Park almost on the doorstep. These parks, the Capital’s two largest parks, provide the peace and tranquility of ancient parkland, secluded ponds and the sight of roaming herds of red and fallow deer. Kew Gardens, the world’s most famous botanical gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a wonderful place to wander at any time of year. Climb to the top of Richmond Hill to take in the view of the Thames Valley that has inspired poets and painters for centuries. To get close to nature, visit London Wetland centre in Barnes, a wonderful wetland nature reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. There are few places better to walk in the area than Ham Common with over 120 acres divided by Upper Ham Road. With grassland and woodland, it’s an area of ecological, historical and recreational interest, designated a Local Nature Reserve. The Thames Path National Trail is 21 miles long – whether you walk the full length or part of it, you’ll enjoy lovely views over the River Thames.
London has it all – vibrant Oxford Street, exclusive Bond Street and the streets of Chelsea, Camden Market, Notting Hill and the delights of Covent Garden. There’s plenty on offer in the Greater London area too. Richmond is a wonderful place to shop with over 100 top brand names, boutiques and speciality shops and services. From fashion to fitness, health to home interiors, you’ll find it in Richmond – many of the shops located in charming lanes.