Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A great summer day in Richmond

I had the pleasure of spending this past Sunday with good friends at two complementary spots in the suburban-y, Thames-side, borough of Richmond.

Our day started with a tour of
Marble Hill House, "the last complete survivor of the elegant villas and gardens which bordered the Thames between Richmond and Hampton Court in the 18th century." The house (if I may speak of it so diminutively) was begun in 1724 for Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II (when he was Prince of Wales) and friend of the likes of poet Alexander Pope. As interesting as the home was a short film we caught during our tour about Henrietta's remarkable life and incredible will.

After our tour, we strolled along the Thames (even took a little ferry across it), until reaching our next destination - Stein's, a Munich-style Bavarian beergarden right on the river in view of Richmond Bridge. Between the five of us, we ordered two Bayerische Schlachtplatte für 2-3 Personen (that's the Bavarian Sharer platter for 2 to 3 people) along with some pretzels and were set ... and oh yes, we also ordered a few rounds of Erdinger wheat beer from the tap, which is just about as refreshing as a drink can be on a hot summer's day.

Only about a 30-minute train ride from Waterloo Station, Richmond is an excellent place to keep in mind should you want to "get away" from central London but still be able to get back soon.

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