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walks in south west London and Surrey

6 great walks in and around Kingston

6 great walks in and around Kingston

Get your daily dose of fresh air and exercise in these top local spots

Some fabulous local Kingston Upon Thames walks in and around the area to try in lockdown 3.0. Remember the latest advice though – keep your distance, only exercise with your own household or one other person, stay local… and, please, if it is too busy, come back another time…

1 

Ham House and Petersham

With its village-like atmosphere, Petersham is a quaint place for a wander. There’s loads of gorgeous houses to admire, and it’s home to Petersham Nurseries (with a cafe and an upmarket garden centre, cafe currently takeaway only). Petersham Meadows and the tiny church all feel a million miles away from London. Ham House (National Trust, book in advance) has a delightful walled garden – its topiary looks fab in the frost. Look out for the first snowdrops too. The looming 17thC house is also super atmospheric (particularly if you believe the haunted tales that surround it!). And there’s a cafe.

2 

Off the beaten track Richmond Park

Beautiful as it is, it’s just too frantic right now. But there are lesser-know spots. Once you’ve passed through the busy Kingston Gate, taken your life in your hands as you try to cross the road between cyclists, head on up through the woods, across the expanse of green to Thatched House Lodge – Princess Alexandra’s abode. Just along is the viewpoint – a a popular spot but there’s enough space for all, and you can gaze out across Surrey. Continue down the hill, pass the pond and exit at Ham Gate, where you can carry on into Ham Woods.

3 

Ham Woods

These rugged woods offer short trails through the trees, which you can follow to Ham Common. You can wander over Ham Common and continue your walk over the lovely green, then towards the river, crossing Riverside Drive. Take a look at Teddington Lock, the start of the tidal Thames.

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4 

Scenic Richmond

Follow in the footsteps of artists and poets as you make your way from the top of Richmond Hill and into the town. Those who have painted the view from the hill as it sweeps down to the Thames include Sir Joshua Reynolds and JMW Turner. Head in to the town – a wander around Richmond Green is a must with its Georgian houses and atmospheric cobbled streets. (History buffs – the green hosted jousting competitions in the Middle Ages) and the remnants of Richmond Palace can also be seen on one side.

5 

Canbury Park Gardens

Another really busy spot right now, if you can head there early morning, you’ll catch the best light and see it at a more peaceful pace. There’s a path through the gardens along the river, a traditional bandstand and there’s some interesting aviation history too at the top of the park (look for the signboard). In warmer weather, Canbury Secret cafe serves delicious gelato. And in normal times, you can take advantage of a new outdoor gym, there’s an all-weather sports court, book for tennis in the nearby courts and let the kids burn off steam in the playground. When life resumes, the fantastic Boaters Pub that flanks the park is the place to head to for drinks and a bbq outside and a riverside restaurant within.

6 

A circular walk to the Long Water

Starting at Kingston Bridge, on the north bank, take the riverside path towards Hampton Court – this flat walk will provide an easy family wander watching life along the water. As you pass Raven’s Ait, duck through the path on your right (Surbiton Passage) to Home Park, pass the pond and head towards the Long Water where you will be greeted with a fabulous view of Hampton Court Palace. The Long Water was created in 1660 by King Charles II, complete with its double row of lime trees, as a wedding present to his bride-to-be, Catherine of Braganza. Stroll back through Home Park to the exit to Hampton Wick, passing the 17th century ice house. The daffodils are starting to appear, too.

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