The Thames Path Surbiton to Richmond

It's all very well being seasoned international fatcat travelling types, but that doesn't mean there isn't ace stuff on our doorstep. And despite all that first class travel costng less than a pair of eurostar tickets, we were in the mood for something cheap-bordering-on-free to do. All that combined with some decent weather and we thought, fuck it, let's go for a wander along the river.

I also wanted to try out what appears to be the swankiest piece of bloggng software I've yet been made aware of, that will let me do stuff prettier than blogger. So this is the result of giving that a go. Helps that we saw some nice stuff...

The wonders of Surbiton station

I gave Helen my phone and said, oi, you do the visuals. She got a bit instantly carried away and took a bunch of good pics of cool stuff in Surbiton but I was like, hang on, stop leaving the display on or the battery will die before we even get to Gregg's.

After a quick stop in Gregg's we waltzed through Surbiton towards the river, barely speaking as we were pretty calorire deficient. But pizza and pastry later, we reached the water. Hello, the Queen's promenade and - according to the signs' capitalisation - the River Frontage.

Hart's Boatyard

We needed ice cream. The sun was out and Gregg's had not supplied us wth anywhere near enough calories. Also fuck needing excuses for ice cream. A couple of doubles with flake consumed as we approached Kingston Bridge; so far, so pedestrian: this was new to neither of us.

Eat your ice cream; walk your cycle.

Beyond Kingston Bridge is where it's at. I've walked this route a bunch of times but Helen hadn't seen any of it. I tried to steel her with tales of John Lewis and what used to be the Slug & Lettuce, where Loz, Wooj and I once got refused entrance for wearing football colours after a Ks victory, but nothing prepared either of us for the swan family - mum and dad protecting their 5 very very very young cygnets. Awww.

Canbury Gardens brought more young birds, and the first hints of negativity from Helen. Where the fuck has all this nice stuff come from and why didn't she know about it before?

Canbury Gardens

Past Boaters and along the last bit of road until Richmond, the anger and confusion was full steam ahead. Why had I kept this a secret? How does London have such a lovely piece of river? Because zone of aggregates this ain't. I kept communicating via expressive use of my eyes, repeatedly forgetting I was wearing sunglasses.

There are masses of boats. Sailing, canoes, motorboats, fake paddlesteamers, kayaks, etc etc.

The crazily posh accomodation across the other side with ther own moorings and yachts and summer houses and etc are earmarked for purchase after tonight's lottery win.

Everything carries on being lovely, apart from the cyclists in our way..

Helen wants a break; I suggest we do that at Teddington Lock

Teddington lock is great. It's a working lock and piece of history all in one. There are plaques telling the story involving the excellently named Doug Tough, and we perch alongside a large gaggle of geese. Most geese today seem to be operating in definite gaggles.

4 boats go through the two sides of the lock while we are there, including one hosting a wedding party with Mexican band entertainment who keep on playing as the boat rises, waiting to be allowed to continue its western path.

There is a plaque mentioning that this is the place where the fish slapping dance from Monty Python was filmed. Despite having been to this lock several times this information is new to me, and I am delighted.

For a while beyond the lock we are encased in a tunnel of trees; I continually tease the promise that we are soon to emerge into wide open spaces with fields and a ferry across the way. This takes a remarkably long time to arrive.

When it does, the reward is pretty good. Just before the ferry stop, I wonder what the gaudy gold-painted odd boat approaching us is and then Helen realises that, holy shit, that's the Queen's royal barge, Gloriana!

The ferry is there, with a superb sign detailing the price and the fact that to get the boat, you have to shout across the river to attract attention. We resolve to do this in future, but not now.


Richmond is now in sight and though the sun and lack of calories are probably going to put paid to any attempt to ascend the hill, we know booze is not far.

Here the river takes a 90 degree turn past Petersham meadows and the unpronounceable Buccleuch gardens.

NO MOORING, apparently
One of many costume changes

Through the kissing gate, we kissed. A man after us signalled to his partner that perhaps he may be lucky too; she seemed less keen.

Once turning the corner the river gets much busier, boats and foot traffic. There are riverfront cafes teeming with people who visit Richmond because they wish they lived there, unlike me who always hates the fact it's the end of such a great section of river. Can't bloody stand the place.

Secret tunnels and old submarine makers

The German beer bar which was shit in 2011 when I last went was really busy, so we kept on, under the bridge and to the White Cross.

Complete with "entrance at high tide" sign

And here we are, almost 10km from Subiton. The pub has no Guinness, but will serve London Stout in plastic glasses so we can sit outside.

Two cups one girl

We stick around for a couple of pints. My SW London advocacy continues apace, even if Helen resolutely retains the opinion that I've been keeping it secret. We plane-spot, being in a fantastic place under the Heathrow flight path, until an argument over the difference between an aerodrome and airport, and whether Truro has the latter, puts her off any talk of aeronautics. Time to head to Harlesden.

Footnote: this here bloggng software is pretty fucking good for someone with no desgn skills like me. Maybe I'll blog Australia like this. Or Folkestone.

Created By
Darren Foreman

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.