Do you want to make the most of the local area? This page has a host of everyday ideas for places to visit, highlighting local points of interest, nearby days out and loads of lovely free walks, right on your doorstep.
(If you’re seeking information about children’s activities, baby classes, play venues, party ideas and more, visit our Local Directory.)
Local Walks, Parks and Free Outdoor Spaces
The area around Richmond and Twickenham is blessed with a fabulous selection of public green spaces. Here are some of our top suggestions for places to visit for free when the need for outdoor air arises.
Richmond ParkWalk for miles amid London’s largest and wildest Royal park. On an average day you’ll find it full of deer, families, cyclists and photographers. Visit The Friends of Richmond Park Discoverers for information about special children’s activities.
Bushy ParkAnother beautiful Royal park with deer and horse riding, second only in size to Richmond Park and very convenient to Teddington and Hampton. Visit Friends of Bushy Park for information about seasonal events and special activities.
Marble Hill ParkThis public park surrounds Marble Hill House and is located right beside the Thames tow path. The park includes an original ice house, a cafe, a grotto (currently closed for repairs) and a dog-free enclosure for babies and toddlers to crawl and play safely
Terrace GardensThese beautiful gardens on the slope of Richmond Hill overlook the Thames and are a feast for the eyes in the summer, with lots of colourful bedding plants. The gardens include a cafe and are surprisingly uncrowded in summer
The Thames Tow PathA wander along the Twickenham side takes in the Fountain Gardens, Orleans Playground and Marble Hill Park. The Richmond side boasts Ham House and runs all the way to Hampton Court. Catch Hammerton’s Ferry from Twickenham to Ham for as little as £1
Crane ParkThanks to extensive restoration, the parkland along the River Crane boasts willdlife, an Old Shot Tower (a relic of an historic gunpowder factory) and unique wooden bench carvings for children to spot. Play facilities are located near the Meadway entrance.
Fountain GardensTucked away beside Twickenham riverside, these formal Gardens include a fountain with extravagant statuary and a more secret-feeling space with a pond, at the rear of York House. It can feel a little magical when you first happen upon it and is great for picnics.
Richmond GreenSomewhere to flop after a busy shopping day in Richmond, the green is lined with cafes and pubs and is often bursting with picnicking families. Cricket, picnics and access to cold beer. What more could you want on a summer afternoon?
Twickenham GreenAnother green place to hang out and have a drink while enjoying the thunk of cricket bats. A popular venue for local fetes, with nearby cafes and pubs offering refreshments. Visit Friends of Twickenham Green for news and events.
Kneller GardensThis pleasant park in Twickenham has a children’s playground and facilities for football and tennis. You can stroll along the banks of the river Crane and feed the ducks, spot the wooden carvings and perhaps glimpse a Kingfisher.
Ham Common WoodsThis woodland nature trail setting is ideal for tree-spotting and dog walking. Located between Richmond Park and Ham Common, this location is used by the Tree House Learning Forest School
Twickenham Play Beach
Open every day and located on Twickenham riverside, this hugely popular play beach attracts hundreds of children during the summer for sandcastle-building, play sessions, story telling, free art workshops and more. No need to book – just turn up and have fun!
Local Museums and Stately Homes
The local area has a selection of museums, grand stately homes and interesting historical houses that you can visit on an ad-hoc basis. Some of these are free to visit and a lot of them also run special activities for families and children during school holidays and weekends. Here’s our pick of local places to visit:
Museum of Richmond-upon-ThamesCelebrating the heritage of Richmond and the surrounding area, this free museum in Richmond town centre runs exhibitions and education programmes, including family workshops during school holidays
The Twickenham MuseumThis free museum is located on Twickenham Embankment and focuses on the history of Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington and the Hamptons. The museum is better suited to school age children than little ones and the website includes a kids’ section.
World Rugby MuseumThe World Rugby Museum has rugby memorabilia and takes visitors through the history of the sport from its origins to the present day. The Stadium tour lets you see behind the scenes, including the royal box, hospitality suites, medical room and players’ tunnel.
London Water & Steam MuseumThis museum has been revamped in 2014. It houses a collection of giant Victorian pumping engines, an outdoor water play area and a small steam railway. It also runs seasonal and family activities during the year and in school holidays.
Ham House and GardensNational Trust house in Richmond with extensive kitchen garden and formal garden. Ham House offers a range of seasonal activities for kids and familes, both indoors and out, at weekends and during school holidays.
Osterley ParkA National Trust property set within a large expanse of public parkland, Osterley runs lots of special seasonal children’s activities and the garden includes a natural play area. For a free day out you can visit the park surrounding the house, which also includes a farm shop.
Strawberry Hill HouseHorace Walpole’s gothic house in Twickenham/Strawberry Hill has been undergoing restoration and is usually open to visitors from Spring – Autumn. It also hosts lots of special children’s activities and events throughout the year.
Built by the painter J.M.W. Turner, this house in St Margarets is undergoing a major restoration project and welcomes visitors on open days and monthly Saturdays during the summer. It also hosts occasional creative activities for children.
Orleans House GalleryThis house in Twickenham is located by the river Thames and hosts regular art exibitions in its gallery. Orleans House Gallery also hosts regular creative workshops for adults and children, especially during half terms, as well as weekly drop-in play sessions.
Marble Hill HouseBuilt for the mistress of King George II, this Regency house is located in Marble Hill Park and has an ice house in its grounds. The house can only be accessed via guided tours during summer weekends but the nearby Coach House Café is open 7 days a week.
Syon ParkThis stately home sits within its own parkland and can be visited from Spring – Autumn. Once a year the grounds are transformed into The Enchanted Woodland and during the rest of the year there are occasional open days offering free entry.
Hampton Court PalaceJust down the road in Hampton, this can be visited throughout the year and has lots of attractions for children. To arrive in style, some of the local boat companies run trips along the Thames from Richmond.
Nearby Days Out
Here’s a selection of great local days out with kids, all within a short walk, drive or train ride away.
Thames Boat tripsVarious boat companies offer leisurely trips along the Thames, taking you between Richmond, Teddington, Kingston and Hampton – or even all the way into town, for a serious day out. Visit the the moorings near Richmond Bridge for more details.
Hounslow Urban FarmA regular favourite with animal-loving children, offering close encounters with farmyard favourites and some more exotic species. Also has play facilities in the barn and much of the farm is under-cover so you can visit on rainy days too.
Kew GardensA visit to Kew includes access to lots of play facilities for kids, with indoor play zones and treetop Walkways. Kew also runs special seasonal activities throughout the year and embodies Kew Palace, which could be a day out in its own right.
London Wetland CentreLocated in Barnes, the Wetland Centre has a wide selection of birds and water life and also runs regular activities such as pond-dipping and nature crafts.
Battersea Park Children’s ZooThis small Conservation zoo has monkeys, farm animals, birds and more and aims to teach youngsters to enjoy, respect and learn about the animals with whom we share our planet.
Kew Little Pigs Garden FarmThis garden farm breeds and sell Micro Pigs and often runs unusual mini-pig-keeping sessions for children during school holidays, where kids can learn about pig-keeping and play with the pigs.
Bocketts FarmLocated in rural Fetcham, this pretty and well-maintained children’s farm has lots of animals to see, including pig races and a small animal petting area indoors. There are also big outdoor and indoor play areas.
Garson’s Pick Your Own farmLocated in Esher, this ‘pick your own’ farm makes a great family day out and has a wide range of seasonal crops for picking from May – October. There are often special events on for kids plus a farm shop and a garden centre.