Get Out Of Zone 1: South West London

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 92 months ago

Last Updated 28 October 2016

Get Out Of Zone 1: South West London
Richmond town, as seen from Richmond Bridge.

Done all the usual tourist attractions? Want to escape the centre of London and leave zone 1 for a few hours? Don't shoot us down just yet — take a look at what south west London has to offer (or browse south east London's offerings here, north east London's gems here or north west London's attractions here).

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill House. Photo: shadow_in_the_water

Ever been intrigued by the mysterious Strawberry Hill, final destination of several trains departing from Waterloo station? Turns out there's a Disney-esque castle at the end of the line.

The gothic-style Strawberry Hill House, designed by Horace Walpole in 1749, has undergone plenty of restoration, with plenty of rooms including the library, gallery, great parlour, and Walpole's own bedchamber now in fine fettle.

The nine-acre garden is also open to the public, with Walpole's original planting layout surviving until today.

House opening days and times vary according to special events. Check website for current opening hours. Adult £12/under 16s free.

Wimbledon Windmill

Wimbledon Windmill. Photo: fintanwest

London and windmills may not be two words that readily go together, but there's one you can visit in Wimbledon.

The windmill is usually open at weekends, summer only. You'll find all manner of fascinating objects (including a millstone you can get hands-on with) and discover some rather neat trivia, including Robert Baden-Powell's links with the building.  

It's worth noting that the windmill has currently been relieved of its sails, and is therefore looking a lot less windmill-y than it usually does.

If windmills put the wind if your sails, there's one in Brixton too.

Wimbledon Windmill admission is £2 for adults/£1 for children. Check website for opening times.

Walk from Richmond to Twickenham

If you've got a spare couple of hours and the weather's looking fine, why not take a riverside amble from Richmond to Twickenham? This 4km amble takes in riverside pubs, stately homes, lovely cafes, and a museum containing a very odd exhibit.

Ham House and Gardens

To the west of the sprawling Richmond Park is Ham House and Garden, a National Trust-owned 17th century house. The building itself is Grade I listed, while the surrounding gardens and parkland are Grade II* listed.

Many of the items on display inside the house, including textiles and paintings, date back to the house's early days 400 years ago. The 17th century spa offers an insight into bathing rituals of the time. In a Downton-esque twist, you can also visit the basement and see what life would have been like for servants in the house.

Those exploring the formal gardens should keep an eye out for an icehouse, a dairy, and the oldest orangery in Britain.

Adult £11.45/ child £5.75. Check website for house and garden opening times.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

For a different perspective on West London, see it from the Thames. More specifically, see it from a stand up paddleboard.

The Stand Up Paddleboard School based at Kew Bridge offers lessons and trips, heading towards either Putney or Richmond, depending on the tide. The sport helps participants to develop their core strength. If you're feeling really brave, SUP yoga is also offered.

There are also stand up paddleboarding schools in Putney and Paddington Basin.

Prices begin at £55, Price and booking information here.

Syon House & Park

The Great Conservatory at Syon Park Gardens. Photo: Simon Hadleigh-Sparks

Brentford's Syon House is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland, and it's open to the public for part of the year. Visitors can enter rooms including the Great Hall, State Dining Room and Long Gallery.

The house is surrounded by Syon Park, which is home to the Great Conservatory, gardens, parkland, meadows and an Arboretum.

Syon House is usually open from March to October — check website for this year's dates. Entry to gardens and conservatory is £7 adults/£3.50 children. To visit the house as well it's £12 adults/£5 children.

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