Most people associate one thing with Twickenham. Rugby. The area in the London borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames is indeed the home of England rugby with thousands of fans converging on the area during rugby matches. But there’s more to the area than just rugby. As someone who lives local to area, I can attest to that and would recommend it to those interested in exploring a historical but less hectic aspect of greater London (on days there isn’t a match on anyway).

Twickenham was once a ‘country retreat’ for many rich politicians and aristocracy in the 18th century and as such is littered with a number of stately homes with large parks. Here are some of my picks for things to do in Twickenham which you could combine with a weekend of rugby or take a trip when it’s a little quieter.

Twickenham stadium, London

1. Visit the Stadium

If you are a rugby fan then a visit to the stadium is must. Built on a former cabbage patch which was bought for just £5,500 in 1907, it is now the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world. It seats 82,000 people. I have seen England play a few times there and it is a great event to witness (even better if England win!). There is always a great atmosphere and friendly crowds.

Rugby World Cup at Twickenham 2015
The opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup 2015

It can be difficult to get a ticket for international fixtures. Many are allocated to rugby clubs or sell out very quickly. If you register for an account on the RFU website, you can buy tickets when they are available. It is always worth enquiring at the ticket office for returns. Inevitably on match day you will see ticket touts about who you can purchase from at your own risk. Seeing the Rugby Sevens or one of the less popular matches is a more likely way to attend a match at late notice.

If you just want a nose around the grounds, you could do one of its stadium tours. They take you behind the scenes of the stadium. You can peek at the royal box and even visit the England dressing room. It is advised that tickets are bought in advance. You can combine the tour with a look around the Rugby Museum. There’s also a rugby store at the stadium to stock up on memorabilia.

Prices for Stadium tour and museum
Adults: £20
Children: £12 (5-15)
Concessions: £12
Family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) £50
Museum only
Adult  £8
Children: £6
Concessions: £7
Family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) £25
* Under 5s go free but an insurance disclaimer must be signed prior to admittance as they are not covered by the stadium’s insurance.

2. Walk Along The River Thames

A short walk from Twickenham station and you come to the River Thames. Before you do, have a wander down Church Street, a cobbled road full of quirky independent shops which is often used in TV commercials (most notably at Christmas). St Mary’s church with its Medieval tower is just off Church Street and then you are at the river.  There is an urban beach open all year around which is a favourite with my daughter. There is also an unusual sculpture garden along the river from the urban beach. If it is a fine day, you could have a picnic there.

Urban Beach, Twickenham

I love walking (or jogging) along the Twickenham tow path. It’s incredibly picturesque. One direction takes you towards Richmond. You’ll wander past some of the 18th century houses which line the path. In the other direction you end up in Teddington. There’s a few pubs to stop off at along the path. The 17th century White Swan towards Richmond and The Anglers by Teddington Lock which has an outdoor playground. There’s a bridge at Teddington which takes you over the river to Ham. Yes, that’s a real place, and the location of 17th century Ham House. From Twickenham, you can get a boat over to the National Trust property.

River Thames, Twickenham

3. Eel Pie Island

This small island in the River Thames is only accessible by footbridge. Henry VIII is said to have used it for discreet courting while it was a favourite with Charles Dickens. It was a popular holiday destination for Londoners after Eel Pie Island hotel opened in 1830.

Eel Pie Island, Twickenham

The island was later the hub of British music as the ‘Eelpiland’ club opened in the 1960s with everyone from the Rolling Stones to The Who, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton playing gigs there. Today it is home to artist’s studios, Twickenham rowing club and a small community of people. Twice a year the artist studios open their doors to the public. There are currently plans to open a museum nearby showcasing the fascinating history of the tiny island.

4. Strawberry Hill House

A quirky Gothic castle built by politician Horace Walpole in the 18th Century, Strawberry Hill is an impressive sight to see. Completed in 1776 it predated the Gothic revival and even in its day drew much attention from visitors. Walpole wanted a tour of Strawberry Hill to be a ‘theatrical experience’ and took inspiration from Gothic cathedrals and abbeys. Alongside sumptuous, bright interiors are gloomy stone stairwells while many items of Walpole’s antiquarian collection remain.

Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham

Strawberry Hill House opens to visitors in Spring 2017
Adults £10.80
Children under 16 free. Half price for National Trust members

Orleans House and gallery

Slightly set back from the River Thames, Orleans House was built by the architect John James in 1710 and was later named after Duc D’Orleans, the former King of France, Louis Philippe. He stayed there during his exile from 1813 to 15. It has an impressive Baroque Octagonal room, designed by the famous architect James Gibbs. It’s free to enter with a cafe in the stables and an art gallery as well. Art workshops are regularly held although you may need to book in advance.

Orleans House - The Octagonal Room

Marble Hill House

Close to Orleans House are the grounds of Marble Hill House, a Palladian villa built in 1729 for King George II’s mistress, Henrietta Howard. She entertained famous friends such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift there. You can take a guided tour of the house which retains an 18th century look inside.

Marble Hill park is a wonderful space for everyone to enjoy and in the summer hosts music venues and various festivals. The house, along with the surrounding area, is getting a facelift over the next year or so. Not far from the park, another restoration project is ongoing, the home of the famous painter J.W. Turner.
Marble Hill House
Adults: £7
Children – £4.20 (5-15)
Free for English Heritage members

Marble Hill House, Twickenham, London

Where to eat?

If you are visiting Marble Hill and Orleans Gallery, there are two pubs close by to enjoy some lunch and a drink. The Crown is a traditional style pub with a cozy interior complete with a log fire burning away. It serves good food although can get busy, especially at weekends, so book in advance. It has a children’s menu but limited highchairs. The Alba which is a short walk away and opposite Marble Hill Park is more family-friendly. Although the service can be a little hit and miss, the food (Italian) is good, particularly the pizzas made in a wood burning oven. It has a great selection of beers and wine. The pesto pasta is a favourite with my daughter. There’s outside space in both the pubs to enjoy when the weather is warm.

Getting There
From central London, Twickenham is accessible by train from Waterloo station with South West trains.
By tube, you can get the district line to Richmond and then a train or bus from there or even walk. Marble Hill is around 10-15 minute walk from Richmond station

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5 Things to do and see in Twickenham, London from a local

Wander Mum

48 Comments on 5 Things To Do In Twickenham (From A Local)

    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 8:17 am (8 months ago)

      Thank you. It is isn’t it! We would basically have been neighbours!

      Reply
  1. Lolo
    February 7, 2017 at 7:36 am (8 months ago)

    I really enjoy the look of the Strawberry Hill House! It’s so unique to the area, and therefore kind of reminds me of the Royal Pavilion. #CityTripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 8:13 am (8 months ago)

      It’s really unique.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm (8 months ago)

      I think you’d really like it Tanja. Hope you get there sometime!

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Howze
    February 7, 2017 at 8:53 am (8 months ago)

    Oooh it’s lovely to discover some things in Twickenham from someone who knows. We are not very far from there — I confess Eel Pie Island sounds so enticing and exotic! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm (8 months ago)

      Thank you Jen! I find the history behind Eel Pie Island absolutely fascinating!

      Reply
  3. Jo Addison
    February 7, 2017 at 8:57 am (8 months ago)

    I think I have been through Twickenham a couple of times on the train, but never stopped. I definitely want to see more of it now. I’d love to see the urban beach! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm (8 months ago)

      Glad I’ve provided some inspiration. There are some beautiful parts to the area. The urban beach isn’t huge but it has ‘pirate ships’ and sand…what more do kids need?

      Reply
  4. Wherejogoes
    February 7, 2017 at 9:09 am (8 months ago)

    I often change trains in Twickenham but have never got off to go sightseeing! Strawberry Hill House looks like a fairytale castle what a beautiful building. Thanks for sharing it’s so great to get an insight into places that I would normally pass by. Thanks for hosting #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm (8 months ago)

      That’s a very accurate description, it is like a fairytale castle! Glad to give you a bit of insight as to what lies beyond the station. x

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm (8 months ago)

      And these are just a short selection! Loads of great places to visit and experience.

      Reply
  5. Cindy
    February 7, 2017 at 9:46 am (8 months ago)

    Great list! I didn’t know about a couple of the places and Twickenham is pretty close to where we are. What a lovely place to live and explore. I’m adding Strawberry Hill House to our places to visit in Spring. #CityTripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm (8 months ago)

      Thank you! There are so many great places in the area to discover. I still need to do Strawberry Hill house so looking forward to checking it out when it opens in the Spring!

      Reply
  6. Mandy
    February 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm (8 months ago)

    Even though I’d never heard of Twickenham before reading this post, it looks like a lovely place to explore. 🙂 #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:34 pm (7 months ago)

      Glad to have introduced Twickenham to you!

      Reply
  7. Clare Thomson (Suitcases and Sandcastles)
    February 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm (8 months ago)

    Really enjoyed your guide to Twickenham, Elizabeth. I’ve never visited but I do love being beside a river and the historic sights sound well worth visiting. I really must say I’ve been to Eel Pie Island one day! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you Clare! So much history in the area.

      Reply
  8. Kat @anaussieinsf
    February 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm (8 months ago)

    Marble an Strawberry hills look beautiful, I wish I’d gone out to Twickenham when I lived in London. I guess I didn’t see past the rugby! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:35 pm (7 months ago)

      Not many people do Kat. Although the rugby is great, there’s a few hidden gems in the area too!

      Reply
  9. Hilary
    February 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm (8 months ago)

    I can only imagine what it must be like on game day! Strawberry Hill looks fascinating! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:37 pm (7 months ago)

      Ha ha! It’s busy!! But usually a really good, friendly atmosphere

      Reply
  10. Tracy
    February 7, 2017 at 10:03 pm (8 months ago)

    Not been to that part of London – probably would give the stadium a skip and let my husband go there (not a rugby fan at all) but would definitely enjoy some of those other suggestions – Strawberry Hill House looks amazing!
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:37 pm (7 months ago)

      Sounds like there’s something for both of you then (just not in the same place)!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:38 pm (7 months ago)

      It looks fab, doesn’t it!

      Reply
  11. Brooke of Passport Couture
    February 8, 2017 at 2:21 am (8 months ago)

    The Orleans Gallery and the Strawberry Hill house have the most interesting architecture and details. They both seem to have that nostalgic feel of days from the past. #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:39 pm (7 months ago)

      The really do. You are completely transported back to another age.

      Reply
  12. Ruth
    February 8, 2017 at 2:55 am (8 months ago)

    I have never heard about this area (maybe because I am not a rugby fan). And, talking about rugby, I didn’t know there was such a huge stadium dedicated to it. Oh my! The Strawberry Hill house is very cute! #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:41 pm (7 months ago)

      Rugby is pretty big and actually they played the first non-rugby sporting event here last year..American football. Seemed to be a success.

      Reply
  13. Kat
    February 8, 2017 at 7:00 am (8 months ago)

    I’m one of those who tend to associate Twickenham with rugby 😉 Never knew there are a number of things to do and see in Twickenham. It’s fantastic for a local staying there – lots of places to explore within a locality. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 10, 2017 at 3:41 pm (8 months ago)

      It’s a great place to live but loads for tourists too.

      Reply
  14. Baby Loves Travel
    February 8, 2017 at 9:31 am (8 months ago)

    We took our baby to the NFL game at Twickenham in 2016 – with her ear defenders she slept through most of it, but enjoyed joining in with the clapping and flag waving!

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 10, 2017 at 3:38 pm (8 months ago)

      Oh how fab! I love how babies can pretty much sleep through any noisy event (not always so great at night though!)

      Reply
  15. Cathy (Mummytravels)
    February 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm (8 months ago)

    Given that I live so close to Twickenham, I’ve done embarrassingly few of these – Eel Pie Island sounds exactly like it came straight from Dickens. Wonderful. #citytripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:40 pm (7 months ago)

      Well, I haven’t ticked them all off either Cathy. Dickens got quite a bit of inspiration from the area

      Reply
  16. Ahila
    February 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm (8 months ago)

    Quite a few interesting houses to explore in Twickenham, especially the Strawberry Hill house. Enjoyed reading your local recommendations!
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm (7 months ago)

      Thanks Ahila, I think you’d enjoy exploring the area.

      Reply
  17. ItalianBelly
    February 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm (8 months ago)

    Would love to see Strawberry Hill,have a picnic on the beach and wander the streets near River Thames. You painted such a wonderful picture with this blog post! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much. That’s lovely to hear. Glad you enjoyed. X

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 11, 2017 at 10:42 pm (7 months ago)

      Hmm think there is some parking. Otherwise Twickenham or Strawberry Hill train stations aren’t far away.

      Reply
  18. Jonny (Daisy the bus)
    February 10, 2017 at 5:00 am (8 months ago)

    Beautiful! A verdant oasis in the big city; I had really no idea… Eel Pie island sounds fascinating and idyllic and, again, I had never heard of it.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to an area of London that I had previously only associated with rugby #CityTripping
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    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      February 10, 2017 at 10:08 am (8 months ago)

      You are welcome Jonny, so glad to have given you a new perspective on the area!

      Reply
  19. Daisy - DaisLikeThese
    May 12, 2017 at 8:43 pm (4 months ago)

    Totally agree with all of these! I lived in Twickenham for nearly 10yrs; went to uni there, bought our first flat there, worked there and had two of our babies there!! I miss it and this post has made me nostalgic 😊

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 18, 2017 at 7:02 am (4 months ago)

      Oh wow! It is certainly a special place to you. The area has so much to offer. Where are you now? X

      Reply

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