How to Spend a Slow Sunday in Richmond

Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

The borough of Richmond upon Thames, home to the capital’s largest royal park, is a green oasis ten miles south west of central London. Without leaving zone 4, visitors enjoy riverside views and a world-renowned botanical garden. Not to mention, plenty of food spots to while away a slow weekend morning or afternoon. For a breath of fresher air and a change of scenery, spending a Sunday in Richmond ticks all the boxes.

Richmond Park

Richmond Park is a Sunday morning hotspot in this area of London. You’ll find it packed with cyclists, dogs, couples and families, all getting some exercise and hoping to see one of the park’s famous grazing deer. If it wasn’t for the city skyline above the treetops, you could easily be forgiven for forgetting you were in London.

A benefit for those living outside of Richmond is that there are free car parks; they fill up fast, though. For a National Trust-esque breakfast (pastries and a £7.50 full English) or cup of tea, visit the stunning Pembroke Lodge, a Georgian mansion with views across the Thames Valley.

Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park

Richmond Riverside

The River Thames flows for over ten miles through the borough and is arguably one of the area’s biggest draws, especially in the summer. The restaurants, pubs and lawns that line the riverside make for a relaxing place to enjoy a couple of drinks and watch numerous people and dogs passing by.

If you’re familiar with Henley-on-Thames, home of the Royal Regatta, Richmond is its London cousin. And much like in Henley, rowers and boats are a common sight. You can even jump aboard a boat and cruise down the Thames to Hampton Court.


Petersham Nurseries

After a stroll along the riverside and across a few grassy footpaths (yes, even in London!), you will eventually come across the original Petersham Nurseries down a stony lane.

The cafe, restaurant, lifestyle shops and plant nursery are a joy to discover and re-discover each time you visit. The rustic-meets-luxe home products are carefully sourced and visitors are encouraged to draw inspiration from the beauty of nature. The menus are as sustainable and seasonal as possible and the atmosphere akin to dining in a good friend’s courtyard garden.

Plants at Petersham Nurseries

Richmond Brunch Spots 

Nestled among the town centre’s upmarket shopfronts, there’s no shortage of places to eat. The Ivy Cafe will always deliver an enjoyable brunch, as will New York-inspired small brasserie chain Jackson + Rye. 

Somewhere particularly apt for a slow Sunday brunch, however, is No 1a Duke Street. This Slow Living LDN. favourite boasts calming interiors and large glass doors that open up onto a courtyard, inviting the outside in, and vice versa. 


Duck Pond Market

For a bit of sustainable shopping, Richmond’s Duck Pond Market takes place at Heron Square each weekend. You’ll often find the foodie market (Saturdays) and the artisan market (Sundays), filled with stalls from local makers and London independents.


The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

A little outside of the town of Richmond, you’ll find Kew Gardens. An oasis of green that deserves a whole day – or at very least an afternoon – of exploration itself. There are so many things to do at Kew – it is, after all, London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. From palm houses conserving endangered plant species to a treetop walkway, Kew offers something different during every season.

This town and its borough offer an escape from inner-city life when you haven’t the time to travel somewhere truly rural. From parks to palm houses, a Sunday spent in Richmond is a Sunday well-spent. 


This article is part of A Year of Living Slower – 12 monthly experiments and mini challenges in living better, not faster. February’s theme is Slow Sundays.

4 Places to See Autumn Colours in London

Much like blossom in Spring, Autumn enters majestically with an explosion of colour. It’s easy to lament the loss of summer for another year, even if you are partial to a cosy knit and hot chocolate, but slow living is all about noticing more deeply what’s happening around us. Plus, the beginning of a season reminds us of the reassuring pace and pattern of nature. Whatever happens in life, the leaves will fall, the cold will come, the fresh green shoots will appear and the sun will shine brilliantly again. And it’s not just in the country where we can enjoy this natural procession, London has its own leafy hotspots to visit. Discover where to find some of the best autumn colours in London and celebrate the new season.

Where to Enjoy Autumn in London

1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

With impressive Victorian glasshouses and beautiful landscape design, Kew is a great place to visit at any time of the year, but it’s particularly special when the seasons are changing. With the vast arboretum and the Treetop Walkway that takes you above the canopy, autumn is a highlight at Kew Gardens.

Treetop Walkway Kew in Autumn

2. Kyoto Garden, Holland Park

Part of the 22 hectare Holland Park, the Kyoto Garden was a gift from the Japanese city of Kyoto. It celebrates the relationship between Great Britain and Japan and features relaxing waterfalls and even peacocks. The leaves of the Japanese acer trees turn vibrant shades of red and orange during autumn.

3. Regent’s Park

One of London’s most famous royal parks, Regent’s Park was named after Prince Regent, later known as King George IV who lived between 1762 and 1830. The tree-lined pathways make Regent’s Park a great spot for both spring blossom and autumn leaves.

Avenues of trees in Regent's Park

4. Notting Hill

A walk through Notting Hill’s pastel-coloured streets is uplifting at any time of the year, but during autumn, the area is especially picturesque with crunchy leaves lining the pavement. Get off the tube at Ladbroke Grove and walk down, or start at Notting Hill Gate.

Whether it’s golden hour before sunset or a misty Monday morning, make time to enjoy the colours in all their glory this autumn.

6 Things Not To Miss at Kew Gardens

Spiral staircase at The Palm House Kew Gardens

When it comes to welcoming the change of seasons in London, there’s nowhere better than the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. The horticultural haven spans a 250 year history and, boasting over 300 acres, is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 20 years after acquiring the site in 1731, the Prince and dowager Princess of Wales created a garden for exotic plants. By 1769, the garden was home to 3,400 plant species.

Today, there’s more than 30,000. There’s no doubt that Kew Gardens has made and continues to make a significant contribution to the study of botany.

From blossom in Spring to autumnal colours in the arboretum, Kew Gardens is a botanical escape from Central London that’s worth visiting multiple times of the year. While the gardens are home to many hidden pieces of landscape design to find at your own pace, there are a few popular things to do at Kew that absolutely need to feature on your list.

1. Explore The Palm House

Kew is famous around the world for its impressive glasshouses which include plant species that are endangered and extinct in the natural world. Constructed in 1844, The Palm House is an important resource for the Gardens’ scientists, and for visitors, it’s almost like stepping into a humid, lush jungle. Push past the giant leaves and climb the beautiful Victorian spiral staircases to get a glimpse of the top of the canopy. It goes without saying that this spot is one for the ‘gram.

2. Visit The Prince of Wales Conservatory

The Prince of Wales is Kew Gardens’ patron and his namesake conservatory contains ten different climate zones. For fans of the indoor gardening and house plant trend, this Kew attraction is cacti and succulent heaven. Though, also worth admiring are the huge lily pads that can reach up to two metres in diameter. You’ll find more lily pads in The Waterlily House near The Palm House.

Lilypads at The Prince of Wales Conservatory Kew

3. Have Tea at The Orangery

A trip to Kew isn’t complete without a slice of cake at The Orangery. The restaurant/cafe housed in this 18th century building also serves warm breakfasts and pastries. Its sunny patio is a great place to start or finish your day.

4. Get Inspired at The Plant Family Beds

If you know your visit to Kew will leave you feeling green fingered, The Plant Family Beds, a traditionally British walled garden is a must-visit. While the glass houses are botanical bliss, they’re not something you can realistically replicate back home. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or allotment, this area of Kew has plants living alfresco in the Great British weather. If you prefer your veg plot over peonies and roses, the Student Vegetable Plots are in the same area. Get advice from first year Kew Diploma students and buy some produce grown on royal soil, if you’re lucky enough to visit when they’re doing a veg sale.

5. Wander the Treetop Walkway

For a very different view of a canopy of trees, ascend the 18 metre high Treetop Walkway that overlooks the Temperate House. Nestled in the arboretum, the contrast of trees and leaves with towering skyscrapers in the distance is an another must-see at Kew, especially during Autumn.

Treetop Walkway Kew in Autumn

6. Discover The Temperate House

After years of renovation, the Temperate House reopened to the public in May 2018. At twice the size of the Palm House, it’s the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. As the name suggests, plants from the temperate region (that’s Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands) are safeguarded here.

Steeped in history and science, The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew are as much an educational day out as they are a place to picnic, walk and breathe fresher air. Spend a few slow hours here and you’ll leave with a better connection to nature and the knowledge that you’ve made a small contribution to the protection of our planet’s biodiversity. Not bad for a Sunday, right?

Other things to do in the Borough of Richmond: Petersham Nurseries

Slow-Going Sundays at Victoria Park Market

What does your perfect slow Sunday look like? For many of us, Sunday is the nominated day of the week for kicking things down a notch, relaxing and enjoying the little things. But, you don’t need to escape the city to experience a slow Sunday.

One of the best places to embrace a slow Sunday in London is at one of the city’s markets. While Columbia Road Flower Market has long been a Sunday institution for Londoners, it’s always worth keeping an eye on newer markets popping up at the weekends. One of the best new additions to the city’s Sunday market scene is Victoria Park Market.

Punnets of plums at Victoria Park Market, London

Three Reasons to Visit Victoria Park Market

Victoria Park Market opened in June 2017 and runs along a leafy pedestrianised street between Bonner Gate and Gore Gate. This street called The Nightwalk, welcomes around 50 traders every Sunday, including those selling traditional farmer’s market fare and hot food.

1. The Setting

Victoria Park is one of London’s most picturesque parks, complete with scenic canal boats, a Chinese pagoda and a boating lake. You can easily combine a trip to the market with a stroll around the park, or even a picnic during the warmer months.

Victoria Park Canal, London

2. The Space

Unlike other markets in London, especially those that are indoors, Victoria Park Market is spacious and much less crowded. There’s no fighting for elbow room here; you can happily zig-zag down The Nightwalk at your leisure. While it’s a true slow market, it is growing in popularity, so don’t leave it too late if you have something in mind to put on the table for tea.

3. The Choice

Aside from the general benefits of market shopping (supporting small producers, eating in-season food with provenance and embracing much less plastic packaging that at the supermarket), Victoria Park Market has a really good variety of traders. From macarons to dog treats and gyoza, you’d be a very strong-willed person to leave with your tote bag empty. You can even pick up all the ingredients for your roast dinner, as well as a hearty hangover cure in the hot food section. Those monster grilled cheese sandwiches ought to do the job.

Why not make Victoria Park Market your next slow Sunday pittstop?

What You Need To Know:

  • Address: 56-57 Gore Rd, London E9 7HN (via Bonner Gate)
  • Nearest Station: Bethnal Green
  • When? 10am-4pm every Sunday
  • Card or Cash? A mix of both. Some stalls only take card

Sustainability and Slow Living at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

With almost 100,000 Instagram followers, Petersham Nurseries is one of London’s worst kept secrets.

The elegant-meets-boho lifestyle concept combines eclectic interior products with lush plants and renowned food. But if you’ve only visited the newer Covent Garden branch that opened its doors in 2017, you’re missing out.

Petersham Nuseries’ original location, just beyond the heart of picturesque Richmond-upon-Thames, is delightfully tucked away. It’s nestled alongside the River Thames – a stone’s throw from Richmond Park, famed for its grazing deer. It creates a slow and (almost) bucolic escape for those in need of respite from capital city life, especially when choosing to arrive by foot across the footpaths, as the owners encourage.

While Petersham Nurseries’ Instagram-worthy asesthics and laidback luxury feel are undeniable, there are a host of even more meaningul and slow-inspired reasons to make it that little bit further to Richmond.

Petersham Nurseries Shop

Exploring Sustainablity and Slow Living at Petersham Nurseries

1. It’s a Family Affair

Petersham Nurseries is a true family business. Gael and Francesco Boglione moved from central London to Richmond a little over 20 years ago. They later acquired the plant nursery bordering their home when it was threatened by developers. Instead of welcoming a plot of new builds for neighbours, the Bogliones slowly created a vision, blending the nursery with their past experience of buying and selling unusual furniture. Today the Boglione’s children are at the forefront of the brand’s ethos and its story. The experience of visiting Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is as carefully curated as the plants they stock.

Plants at Petersham Nurseries

2. Slow Food First

Alongside the popular tea room, Petersham Nurseries offers an Italian-inspired restaurant that respects the philosophy behind the slow food movement. This philosophy, formed by Carlo Petrini, was born in Italy in the 1980s. It has since evolved into an ethos that encourages the protection of local food traditions and promotes good, clean and fair food production. Good meaning flavoursome and of quality; clean meaning the processes involved do not harm or limit harm to the environment and finally; fair meaning fair conditions and compensation for food producers. The seaonsal ingredients that fill Petersham Nurseries’ menus are sustainably sourced and waste is kept minimal. This conscious and natural approach is extended across all areas of the business, including to staff travel.

Spiral staircase at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

3. In Tune with Nature

Positive living and reconnecting with nature forms a key part of the brand’s ethos. They hope to encourage visitors to draw inspiration from the beauty of nature and experience positive living through consideration of the environment. While popular, Petersham is peaceful. It’s the perfect place to find escapism, breathe fresher air and get a dose of greenery.

We hope to have created a place of calm, somewhere that respects and is in tune with nature and positive living– Lara Boglione, today’s Manager Director of Petersham Nurseries.

So, in addition to offering flora and fauna to frazzled city-goers, Petersham Nurseries and the Boglione family prove that a successful business model on both the outskirts and in the very heart of a capital city can work with, and not against, sustainable ethics. In fact, it’s arguably the commitment to these very principles, and of course, an incredible eye for sourcing beautiful things, that has owed to the continued success of the Petersham brand.