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Richmond is a hugely affluent London suburb, situated just a few miles down the river from Hampton Court Palace.

Richmond possesses a timeless charm more akin to a village than a town. Henry VII named Richmond after his favourite Earldom, Richmond in Yorkshire , and the gateway of his magnificent Palace, favoured by Elizabeth I, still remains. This can be found on Richmond Green once the scene of tournaments and pageants, is surrounded by elegant period houses.

Richmond Bridge, the oldest spanning the Thames, sits alongside a riverside development which evokes memories of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The view from the top of Richmond Hill, a source of inspiration for artists and poets throughout the years, has been protected by an Act of Parliament since 1902. From here Ham House an outstanding Stuart House filled with rare 17th century furniture and textiles, is visible slightly up river. Below, the River Thames flows through an ocean of trees with rowing boats and passenger craft wending its way upstream. Beyond the hill lies the 2,500 acre Richmond Park, enclosed by Charles I as a favoured hunting ground, where large herds of red and fallow deer wander freely. Richmond Park has two golf courses and several horse riding centres where both novice and experienced riders can trot and canter across the expanse of the Park - dodging the deer of course.

Richmond shopping centre offers an enticing mix, bringing together top designer names with small specialist and antiques shops. The restaurants and pubs in Richmond are some of the best in the area, with many happily making the trip from central London to enjoy

Twickenham is a name synonymous with rugby union where the first match, played in 1909, featured local rivals Richmond and the Harlequins. London Scottish and London Welsh are also based in the borough, as are a host of smaller amateur sports clubs.

Each year the sporting spotlight falls on Mortlake with the Oxford and Cambridge boat race - indeed rowing, canoeing and sailing are extremely popular pastimes on the River Thames.

Ham House was Built in 1610 and extended in the 1670s, Ham House is one of the most outstanding Stuart houses from that period. It was home to the extravagant Duchess of Lauderdale, who was renowned as a political schemer and during the 17th-century the house was at the heart of Civil War politics and Restoration court intrigue.

The Kew Bridge Steam Museum is housed in a magnificient 19th century Pumping Station and centres around the station's five world famous Cornish Beam Engnes, two of which can be seen, in steam, every weekend.

One of the most glorious examples of 18th century British architecture, Chiswick House was designed by the third Earl of Burlington (1694-1753). A triumph of the golden age of landscape gardening, Lord Burlington's summer palace is set in acres of immaculately created park, full of temples, lakes, statues, and greenhouses.

Marble Hill House was built for the Countess of Suffolk, mistress of King George II, as a retreat from the rigours of court life. Today it offers a wonderfully atmospheric riverside backdrop for a programme of popular outdoor concerts.

The award winning London Wetland Centre is the first project of its kind in the world - more than 40 hectares of created wetlands in the heart of a capital city.

During your visit to the musical museum you will experience the fascinating world of automatic musical instruments through a continuous demonstration in which the instruments are explained and played.

Kew Gardens is a leading centre of botanical research, a training ground for professional gardeners, and a popular visitor attraction. The gardens are mostly quite informal, with a few more formal areas.

The National Archives is therefore the treasure house of the nation's memory and included on its 90 miles of shelving are a hugely diverse range of historical documents such as returns for parliamentary elections in 1275, lists of Elizabeth I's jewels, Shakespeare's will, Guy Fawkes' confession, and the first American newspaper.

Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham is Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic architecture and interior decoration.

The Watermans, is situated on the banks of the River Thames and has a cinema, theatre, gallery and workshops. With its pleasant surroundings and convenient location it is ideal for an evenings entertainment.

Syon Park, situated halfway between Central London and Heathrow Airport, is the home of the Duke of Northumberland.

Richmond town boasts several Health and Fitness clubs offering - tennis and squash courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, aerobics classes, saunas, spas, solariums.

A lively cultural calendar offers the finest entertainment outside central London with many West End shows previewing at Richmond Theatre and the exciting theatre 'In the Round' at the Orange Tree Theatre.

There are innovative exhibitions at the Landmark Arts Centre throughout the year and at which also holds a fine collection of paintings from 18th century to the modern day. The Museum of Richmond has fascinating temporary exhibitions.

If you would prefer to take things at a slower pace, Richmond also provides some relaxing alternatives - why not hire a rowing boat and float down the Thames; have a cool drink or a meal at a riverside pub; stroll along the river banks; or just sit and enjoy the beautiful and peaceful landscape.