Moving to Richmond
Are you moving to Richmond? Visit the borough and you’ll soon understand. A stroll along the riverfront on a balmy evening, a bracing walk through Richmond Park on a frosty winter’s morning – not to mention a superb choice of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and more modern properties; Richmond is one of the UK’s most affluent areas and always comes close to the top in quality of life surveys.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Richmond report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Richmond on the map
On the south side of the Thames, nestled in a sweeping curve that takes the river around to the west, the environs of Richmond encompass not only the town of Richmond, but also Kew, Sheen, Ham and Petersham – all in themselves desirable areas of south west London. As one might expect from a district on the edge of the city, Richmond is green and open; in fact it has some of London’s most beautiful parks and gardens within its boundaries. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while further south Richmond Park – three times the size of New York’s Central Park – was a royal hunting ground and is still home to more than 600 freely roaming deer. Richmond itself sits on a bend in the river, with a cosmopolitan river front behind which rises Richmond Hill – and here you will find some of the area’s most spectacular multi-million pound properties.
Well-positioned for Heathrow and for escaping London to the south and west, Richmond has good transport links. The A316 is the main arterial road passing through and this feeds onto the M3 for Winchester, Southampton, the West Country and for quick access to the M25. Richmond Station serves trains from both the District Line for the Underground and the overground line through London to Stratford. In the other direction there are trains to Reading, Windsor, Wimbledon and Weybridge. The area is also served by 14 different bus routes, including night buses to and from the centre of town, just eight miles to the east.
Richmond covers a large area with widely varying standards in terms of location, comfort and amenities, so naturally there will be quite a variance in rents asked in the area. Add to that the uncertainties of the economic times and the 2012 ‘Olympic effect’, and it can be hard to know what to expect, but the below prices will give you an idea.
There are some truly spectacular properties in this part of London: grand family houses on Richmond Hill overlooking the river, swanky apartments with views across the vast expanse of Richmond Park and out over South London beyond and historic mews cottages that wouldn’t look out of place in a period drama. Of course, a lot of these gorgeous properties never make it to the rental market – but some do. While they were in England filming Eyes Wide Open, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman rented a luxurious mansion in Sheen; probably beyond most people’s budgets but whatever your level, you’re sure to find something that tempts you.
With the best views in London, Richmond Hill is able to command high rental values. Houses that look down on this sweeping curve of the river are particularly sought after as they also benefit from being just moments from the entrance to Richmond Park. The roads leading off Petersham Road as it swings south and west with the Thames are also very desirable – River Lane, Rutland Drive, Bute Avenue… This area is so smart that even the restaurant at the local garden centre has won awards. Richmond Green, with its outstanding Georgian architecture and village ambiance is also an expensive place to live. West of Richmond Park at the back of Richmond Hill is a whole swathe of excellent residential streets with a good choice of family homes, around Church Road and Queens Road.
North of Richmond, on the south side of Thames, Kew is principally famous for the wonderful botanic gardens – but it’s also a highly desirable place to live with lots of grand Victorian villas. It has good rail links and there are plenty of detached and semi-detached houses; as well as Victorian housing stock, there was a fair amount of building in the 20s and 30s, as well as infill after the War. There are also some attractive riverside developments, particularly along Strand Drive. The residential area that forms a triangle between Kew Road and the A316 is very popular.
Centred around Upper Richmond Road, to the east of Richmond and north of the deer park, Sheen has two distinct sections, North Sheen and East Sheen. It has good access to Richmond Park, while Palewell Common offers an excellent range of sporting facilities. It is well served by rail into the centre of London and the residential streets are well-punctuated by green spaces. Sheen Common Drive, backing onto Richmond Park, is a particularly popular address in the area, along with Fife Road.
Ham & Petersham
South of Richmond, as the river continues to wind its way southwest, the small enclaves of Ham and Petersham are surrounded by woods, commons, Richmond Park, golf courses, playing fields and riverside meadows in an area that could hardly be considered London at all. Public transport is somewhat scarce down here making it a peaceful hideaway offering the quiet life. Along the riverfront, an area of former gravel pits is now a nature reserve, complete with an artificial lake used as a water activity centre. Although it appears in the Doomsday Book, this has been primarily an agricultural area, though it has some fine period properties including Ham House. On its eastern fringe, the Sudbrook Lane and Bute Avenue enclave has always been popular; there are also plenty of good sized houses with spacious gardens in the roads to the south of Sandy Lane.
Who lives here and why?
The illustrious roll call of Richmond residents dates back to 950AD when King Henry I briefly set up residence in Sheanes, as the area was then known. Subsequent royal residents have included Edward I, II and III and Richard II. After a fire burned down the old palace in 1497, Henry VII built Richmond Palace, taking the name from his ancestral home in Yorkshire, and subsequently the town that developed around the palace took on the same name. The great Queen Elizabeth I spent a lot of time hunting in Richmond Park and even died here in 1603. Little now remains of the original palace but the royal patronage continued; most notably George III and Queen Charlotte resided in the red brick Dutch House in Kew Gardens. It is now known as Kew Palace and is open to members of the public who visit the gardens.
But the area’s popularity extends well beyond the royal family and Richmond is as desirable today as a place to live as at any time in its illustrious history. Other famous inhabitants include or have included members of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and The Who, along with Richard Attenborough, Rudolf Nureyev, Robert Pattinson, Jerry Hall, Richard E Grant, Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
So what draws all these luminaries to Richmond? Richmond, Kew, Ham, Sheen and Petersham are some of the most affluent of London’s outer districts. Each area has its own particular charms but all offer an outstanding quality of life: fine properties, green open spaces, easy access into the centre and out of London, excellent shopping and dining, good schools and a low crime rate. But there are plenty of areas in London where you can tick these attributes off your list; Richmond and its environs have something more to offer that’s harder to quantify. In a way, it’s like stepping back in time – every nook and cranny of the borough is steeped in history, from 17th century Ham House and Georgian Pembroke Lodge to Richmond’s 15th century almshouses and fine Victorian theatre. This borough has five times more open space than any other London borough and on a summer’s evening you can enjoy a languid game of cricket on Richmond or Kew Greens. The royal connection is also very much in evidence: Ham Polo Club is one of the oldest in country. Other sports are also well represented – you’ll find rowing and sailing clubs, cricket clubs, golf courses and football grounds, a rifle club, an equestrian club and a gymnastics club, one of London’s few open-air municipal swimming pools, athletics and tennis clubs and a number of rugby clubs – after all, the sport’s spiritual home at Twickenham is just around the corner.
The Best Bits
Richmond has a sophisticated town centre with plenty of upmarket designer boutiques as well as the star names of the high street. There is also a good choice of restaurants and pubs, and naturally those with river frontage prove to be most popular, particularly in the summer months. Two theatres and three cinemas give plenty of choice for an evening’s entertainment: Richmond Theatre often shows plays and musicals prior to their West End runs, while the Orange Tree Theatre, built in the round, stages new and experimental plays and long-neglected classics.
Bringing the Kids
One of the major factors that draws professional families to Richmond, Kew, Petersham, Ham and Sheen is the preponderance of very good schools in the area in both the private and the state sectors. The borough boasts 41 state primary schools, nine of which are Church of England schools and six of which are Catholic. Sixteen of these lie within Richmond, Kew, Petersham, Sheen and Ham; the remainder are in the nearby areas of Hampton, Teddington, Twickenham and Whitton. At secondary level there are eight state schools, including the Church of England Christ’s School and the girls only Waldegrave School. There are also two special schools for pupils with learning difficulties.
However, for those not wishing to participate in state system of education, there is still plenty of choice. London’s top boys’ day school, St Paul’s, can be found within the borough, along with its preparatory school, Colet Court. In all, there are 18 independent schools within Richmond’s boundary, including Hampton for boys, the mixed Harrodian School, Lady Eleanor Holles School for girls, the Catholic St Catherine’s School in Twickenham, the German School in London in Petersham and the Swedish School in London in Barnes.
Also within easy reach of Richmond are a number of other exceptional secondary schools including Latymer Upper School (mixed) in Hammersmith, Godolphin and Latymer (girls), also in Hammersmith, St Benedict’s (mixed, RC) in Ealing, the Tiffin School and Tiffin Girls School (selective state grammars in Kingston), Kingston Grammar School (state), and the Marymount International School also in Kingston.
Relocating to Richmond
For assignees who want to settle their families within easy reach of central London and Heathrow, Richmond makes a perfect choice. It’s an affluent area with good schools and attractive properties, as well as first class shops, restaurants and cultural offerings. Riverside living makes it all the more desirable and, though it’s not a cheap place to live, it’s always been popular. However, for newcomers to west London, it’s not always obvious where to start looking and Richmond covers a wide area with a diverse property offer. Parts of the borough are prohibitively expensive while other areas are less well served by public transport. Striking a balance between convenience, curb appeal and affordability can be tricky. This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know London property inside out and we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
For assignees who want to settle their families within easy reach of central London and Heathrow, Richmond makes a perfect choice. It’s an affluent area with good schools and attractive properties, as well as first class shops, restaurants and cultural offerings. Riverside living makes it all the more desirable and, though it’s not a cheap place to live, it’s always been popular.
Average Monthly Rents in Richmond