I wanted to go to Kew today, when I was there over the weekend, I quickly glimpsed something in the gift shop that I thought would be a good stocking filler for the kids, so I thought I’d go back and get it (benefit of annual membership). It turns out that the thing I glimpsed was not quite what I thought it was, so I didn’t get it in the end anyway (although I did end up buying two cacti because they were too pretty to resist) but I’m getting ahead of myself. Kew opens at 10am and I was on the bus shortly after school drop off at 9am, it doesn’t take an hour for me to get to Kew by bus (well, it does sometimes), so when the bus was going through Richmond at 9.20am, I thought I might as well walk ….
My original plan was to walk along the river for a bit but then head away from the river, basically back following the bus route till I got to Kew. But it was nice walking along the river, I’ve lived nearby for years and years now and walk along my home stretch of river all the time, yet had never walked along the Richmond stretch, so I thought I’d remedy that.
I was having too much fun walking along the river, so when I came to the bridge I was meant to turn off at, I didn’t, instead figuring ‘well, there is an entrance to Kew on the river, I’ll walk to that’, never mind I’d never been to that entrance before and didn’t know exactly where it was.
The river path between Richmond and Kew turned out to be on the nice side, but the mud, puddles, grey sky and semi naked trees got a bit samey after a while and it is a loooong walk. It was interesting though, the Thames between Richmond and Kew is a bit different from the Thames I know by Kingston. The river was low, so I was walking by sandy banks for quite a bit of it. The path is also interesting because as well as the river on your left hand side (if you’re walking towards Kew), there is a second river / big stream / ? directly on your right hand side, which follows along the path (and hence the course of the Thames) for quite a large chunk of the path. Which was interesting but it did mean that once I was on the path, I was on the path, as there was no suddenly deciding this is actually taking a bit long, I know I’ll cut towards the road, you can’t do that, not without just simply turning back and following the path you just came up anyway.
Anyway, when I actually saw Kew, albeit on the other side of the stream / big fence, it was a sight for sore eyes because it at least meant I was getting closer.
I still didn’t know where that entrance was though and Kew is a big place. So I walked some more and walked even more and eventually came across a car park, yay, have I ever been so glad to see a car park! I knew that Brentford gate would therefore be nearby, but I couldn’t find it! I certainly couldn’t see it from the tow path anyway. All I could see was what looked like a staff entrance. So, I walked some more and eventually got to Kew Green and went in through the gate there, which thankfully was handily close to one of the restaurants, where I immediately collapsed for a cake and a drink.
And as I’ve gone and photographed my food, I might as well describe it. Peyton and Byrne, purveyors of good but expensive museum / gallery food across London (which at least is better than horrible and expensive, like it used to be years ago), do the food at Kew. The cake was a minature Christmas Cake, it was quite nice, not too heavy on the fruit, moist and with quite a strong citrus tang but it was quite filling and I could only manage half of it (and yay me for actually leaving half of it, even 30 years later I still battle against that parental brain washing to eat up everything on my plate).
The walk, from when I got off the bus, to the restaurant at Kew was actually only 5.78 km, I’ve done longer walks in Richmond Park recently, I think it just felt longer because whereas in Richmond Park I normally do a circle, so it’s 6 odd km there and back, this was very much walking A to B and it felt like it was taking forever.