The Official Twickerati Visitors Guide to Twickenham

Twickenham. A town with balls.

Twickenham. A town with big balls.

Coming to Twickenham for the Rugby World Cup? You are? Welcome! Bienvenue! Ciao! G’day! The other ones!  You’ve probably already got all your plans sorted out for your visit, haven’t you? Beer, rugby, curry, more beer then get the hell out of here. Are we right? Probably, but we hope not totally. Twickenham is more than just rugby and we should know, we bloody live here. All the time.

We thought we’d give you a few pointers to non-rugby things you could do if you’re staying around for a few days. We’re not going to tell you about all the pubs, cafes and restaurants right in the town centre (you can find them yourself) or about the huge RWC Fanzone in the Old Deer Park in Richmond, you can find that too although don’t expect to find many old dears there, it’ll be far too noisy for them. We’re also not going to go banging on about the likes of Richmond, Kew Gardens, Hampton Court or even central London. You can do that yourselves.

First, some background on Twickenham…

The town is London’s premier leafy suburb. It is part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRuT) which is affectionately known as El Brute. Top dawg on El Brute Council is the Blue Baron. Yes, he’s a real person, yes he’s a real baron and yes he really is blue (politically speaking). The Blue Baron’s seat of power lies at York House, the Twickenham HQ of Richmond Council where naked ladies cavort in the grounds. There are naked horses there too. Kinky or what?

Naked ladies in York House Gardens

Naked ladies in York House Gardens

As for the locals themselves, Twickenham people love nothing more than talking about the state of the high street shops, what’s going to happen to the recently acquired land by the river, Heathrow expansion and, of course, the twin topics of house prices and schools. The Rugby World Cup has also generated a fair bit of discussion ranging from the “can’t wait for it to start!” brigade through to the “make it go away and what’s in it for the town anyway?” contingent. One thing people are united on is that they’re not big fans of people pissing in the street so it’s best to politely resist any invitations or urges to do that.

Not a toilet

Not a toilet

Now then, let’s assume you’re sorted for rugby antics but also have a bit of free time on a non-match days and also that you’re in a state of relative sobriety. We hope we’re not stretching credulity too much here.

Why not consider the following:

Get out! By which we mean explore the outdoors.  Yes there’s the famous Richmond and Bushy Parks complete with real deer but Twickenham also has Marble Hill Park and a great walk along the Thames towpath to Richmond. There’s even Hammertons Ferry, a dinky little boat that can take you across the Thames from near Orleans Gardens to Ham House. You can hire rowing boats at Hammertons too. If you take the ferry and head along the towpath upstream on the Ham side you reach Teddington Lock, home not only to Teddington Lock (the clue’s in the name) but also, back on our Middlesex bank it’s where Teddington Studios are (or rather, were) which if you are old enough to remember Magpie on telly will bring a pang of nostalgia. As rugby types you were probably always told to watch Blue Peter instead but that’s not the point. There are a couple of nice pubs by the lock in the form of The Tide End Cottage and The Anglers. Teddington Lock is also where several of the ‘Little Ships’ of Dunkirk fame assembled in 1940 hence the WWII reference on the pub sign at the Tide End.

Talking of pubs, we’re assuming you’re already familiar with town centre boozers like The Cabbage Patch, Albany, Eel Pie, Fox and Barmy Arms but if you haven’t ever visited The White Swan on Twickenham Riverside then you should.  Alternatively head out of the town centre past Twickenham Green to find The Prince Blucher,  The Prince Albert and The Sussex Arms. The Sussex is famous for its extensive selection of real ales and ciders so if you are male, have a beard and wear sandals it’s a must. In fact, it’s well worth a visit even if you don’t meet any of those three criteria. There are also a couple of Indian restaurants out that way as well as Arthurs on the Green and the TW2 Bar & Grill. Oh, btw, the Albert serves good Thai food.

Let’s stick with booze a bit longer.  Did you know that Twickenham has its own brewery? Well it does and it’s a good one. Twickenham Fine Ales in Mereway Road has been a real success story and its beers can be found in many local pubs. Monthly brewery tours are available and definitely worth doing.  They also open on rugby days and show the matches on a big screen. Good idea, eh?

The Brewery bar and CLT ( Cold Liquor Tank )

Twickenham Ales brewery bar

Want food? Want a coffee? In Twickenham you’re never more than about 50 steps from the next café. If you can, do your bit to support the town’s independent shops. Starbucks, Patisserie Valerie, Caffe Nero, etc will all survive without your custom for a few days. We’re not going to list all the local coffee places but Luluz, York Street Café, Corto Deli and the new Press Room might be worth a go. Or if you’re in St Margarets then Grounded should give you a big caffeine kick. Best bread and / or chocolate brownies in town? Easy! Rubens Bakehouse on Heath Road. They also do pizzas in the evening.

There are just too many restaurants to list them all and you’ll definitely not run short of curry, pub food or pizza. But there’s also Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, and American. We recommend Pincho (tapas) and Masaniello (Italian).

As for shops, there are lots of small, independent places that are worth a look with Church Street in central Twickenham ticking quite a few boxes on that front, including the box marked ‘fairly picturesque street’. It’s ideal for food & gifts. And if you run out of shops in Twickenham proper there’s always St Margarets and East Twickenham.  We’re not even mentioning Richmond or Kingston as it’s our local shops that need a boost.

If you’re a lah-di-dah cultural type then there’s Strawberry Hill House, designed and built by Horace Walpole in 1749. It pioneered the ‘gothic revival’ in England.  It adjoins St Mary’s University which will see the All Blacks and South Africa doing their RWC training although Walpole could not possibly have known that when he built it. Or could he? Twickenham also has a very small museum near the Barmy Arms pub and its own art gallery, Orleans House Gallery. If you want to combine rugby and culture then you’re in luck because there’s an exhibition running at OHG called ‘Team Spirit: rugby, rowing and beyond”.

Twickenham House?

Strawberry Hill House

The town has a rich music heritage too.  Much of this was based on Eel Pie Island which had a lively jazz and blues scene in the 1950s and 60s. The famous Eel Pie Island Hotel is long gone but there is a pop-up museum about the island’s music history running at Twickenham Library. There’s also a Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus to take you on a tour of the musical sights of the area and point out connections to the likes to The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. It’s that red double decker bus you might see driving around. The rhythm and blues scene continues today with regular live music at The Eel Pie Club at The Patch.

Music Legends sign opposite Eel Pie Island

Music Legends sign opposite Eel Pie Island

Umm. That’s about it for now. If you want to know more about the official Rugby World Cup stuff going on then most of it can be found on the proper Visit Richmond or Try It websites. These list regular attractions as well as the extra World Cup related events. There’s even a newly launched ‘Richmond music and drama festival’ going on too – Ambassador, with these events you are really spoiling us!

Anyway, check out the comments below for extra top tips from locals. We might add the best ones into the main article above if we’re feeling really, really motivated. (i.e. It won’t happen)

So there you have it, welcome everyone, enjoy the matches, enjoy the festival of rugby, enjoy Twickenham and above all, use a proper toilet, after all, it’s what William Webb Ellis would have wanted.

Thames sunrise

Thames towpath sunrise, Twickenham

LINKS:
* Try It Festival – sport, art, music, etc
* Visit Richmond – official what’s on
* Old Deer Park Fanzone – big screens & entertainment
* Try Twickenham – guide to local businesses & more
* Rugby Fan App
* Richmond Music & Drama Festival

As for the rest of the things mentioned above, well, you’ve heard of Google haven’t you? Use that to check dates, locations and opening times. Off you trot!

* Previous twickerati article on the RWC – Use this item for all your comments about traffic, stations, helicopters, parking and the like.

40 Comments

Filed under Features, Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

40 responses to “The Official Twickerati Visitors Guide to Twickenham

  1. ifeelyourpain

    Given the recent turn of events, could Twickerati provide a list of local counselling facilities?

  2. It looks like you might have seen the “Rugby Fans Welcome” window poster that Combined Business Marketing Ltd designed for a restaurant in Twickenham.

  3. vanw1ck

    Fancy a walk before the Rugby? Start at Kneller Gardens park (at the northern end of Mereway Rd), head west across Meadway and follow the path along the River Crane, you will soon find yourself in an amazing hidden riverside environment which is a mixture of woods, wild flowers, urban infrastructure… and then the incredible Shot Tower, at which point there’s a nice field for a picnic. You won’t believe you’re in London (until you walk underneath an A-road, or a 747 flies over, but they will be fleeting moments). Turn round, walk back to Kneller Gardens, then follow the Crane north-east under the railway and you’re spat out right by The Stoop… and ready to take the less crowded walking route to the Stadium. Obviously this is all best done in daylight so maybe better for the afternoon kick-offs.
    http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/reserves/crane-park-island

  4. Last Try Wines are doing a rugby world pop up next door to All Hallows Church for local residents http://lasttrywines.co.uk/content/watch-rugby-us-ricardos-cellar no queues at the bar, cheap prices and a good selection of craft beers and wines

  5. The riverside between Twickenham town centre and Richmond bridge offers a pleasant afternoon walk on a fine day, with fine views of the river, Richmond Hill, etc. It also offers a good choice of cafes and pubs, starting with:

    Jubilee garden by the river http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/leisure_and_culture/parks_and_open_spaces/park_details.htm?parkId=193
    the Barmy Arms http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/barmy-arms-twickenham/c0462/
    and the White Swan http://www.whiteswantwickenham.co.uk/

    Culture vultures and stable lovers will prefer to walk on to the Orleans gallery stable café:
    http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/services/arts/orleans_house_gallery/north_stables_cafe.htm
    or the Marble hill café: http://www.thisisourtownrichmond.co.uk/coach-house-cafe-in-marble-hill-park/06241201 Carry on along the path to find the Cambridge gardens café: http://e-voice.org.uk/focg/the-cafe/

    At Richmond bridge you’ll find 5 bus routes to take you back to the town centre passing countless cafes and restaurants and 2 pubs: the Aleksander http://thealeksander.co.uk/ and the Crown http://crowntwickenham.co.uk/

    The 6th bus route, the H37, will whisk you up to the more sophisticated fleshpots of St Margaret’s which likes to fancy itself the hippest part of Twickenham: http://www.stmgrts.org.uk/directory

  6. Dr NHS

    I recommend Cafe Zizou in the middle of Twickenham. Really strong coffe that would dissolve a plastic spoon if they were crass enough to stoop to such things; unfailingly cheerful and brisk service as well as good range of cooked to order hot meals too generous to describe as snacks. Nice to see a place that’s not a chain still doing well.

  7. Sally

    How about:
    Mini Bites Hungerian coffee shop and deli for excellent coffee/tea/hot chocolate, nice little pastries and unfailingly cheery service from the lovely shopkeeper.
    The Auction House Cafe for really good food-pastas, soups sandwiches and cake. Not to mention the chance to spot some terrific item up for the next auction…and the cafe staff are helpful friendly and speedy .

  8. Walkinthepark

    If any fans having the good sense to bypass all the carnivore joints in town don’t fancy a pizza but are in the mood for a very good Nasi Goreng then it is worth staggering the extra few yards out of town to Chuba Rasa, don’t be put off by the strange décor. I would also recommend the slightly more expensive cooking of another Asian chef who used to cook in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) market at Ban Thanh back in town. And you could celebrate the Japanese victory (go Japan) at Ke Sushi

  9. Locals, if you want to talk about the local impact of the RWC, the RFU, traffic, helicopters or even people falling in front of trains can you try to do it on the other item about the World Cup here: http://wp.me/pVBg2-3fs

    Please keep this item focused on what’s on or recommendations for things to do or see in Twickenham

    ‘ppreciated y’all

  10. illiad1

    Its just a great pity someone had to fall under a train to get them to THINK about reviewing their transport plan… 😦
    http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/13771264.UPDATE__Rugby_World_Cup_transport_plan_to_be_reviewed_after_man_hit_by_train_at_Twickenham_station/

  11. Ex-Twickenham Resident

    Richmond is much nicer – really!

  12. I am surprised that there is no recognition on this site given to Twickenham’s now famous live music venue, the Eel Pie Club at The Patch, 67 London Rd, Twickeham. The Eel Pie Club was established in the year 2000 and preserves the heritage of UK Rhyhtm & Blues which began in Twickenham in the 1960’s.The main place where this happened was Eel Pie Island, where many new young bands played, inc The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks,and The Yardbirds.
    The Eel Pie Club is presenting a special season of weekly gigs during the Rugby World Cup, inc on Thursday 17th Sept the Pretty Things. Subsequent gigs will include members of The Kinks, the Downliners Sect, Grainne Duffy, Bootleg Blondie, John Idan, and on Sat 17th Oct The Yardbirds in Concert at York House, Twickenham.
    Full details http://www.eelpieclub.com

    • You’re surprised? Imagine how surprised we must feel and we even wrote the damn thing.

    • illiad1

      IF you have been watching this blog recently, you will know the author has been busy with more important things… and it has never been about advertising businesses.. (sorry, but would you PAY towards their bandwidth bills???)
      there are lots of other websites that do that.. 3 million results from “what’s on in twickenham” search.. 😛

    • illiad1

      I am sure many *locals* know the eel pie club, and like it.. But..
      This article is about *visitors* 🙂 who will only be here for sat & sun, for beer, food, rugby, more beer & food – the rich ones will have just started watching in cardiff, the rest are making enough noise in my local twick pub.. and then back to work to make sure they can afford the inflated rugby prices for beer and food.. £6 a pint some places!!!

  13. Kingfisher

    Great article!!! Also 20 mins from Waterloo, if you could possibly be bothered with central London when you can hang out here.

  14. Carole

    Be aware! Strawberry Hill House will be closed on match days – check their web site.

  15. Ted Nicholls

    Great article! But please don’t send them to us in Teddington!
    We thought we were safe here?

  16. The St Margaret’s Community Website lists the village’s many pubs and restaurants, etc.: http://www.stmgrts.org.uk/directory . The 37 bus route runs frequently along St Margaret’s Road, north to Hounslow and southeast to East Twickenham and Richmond station: https://tfl.gov.uk/bus/stop/490001270B/st-margarets-station?lineId=h37

  17. Great article! Don’t forget that on Sunday 27 September there is also, as part of the Festival of Rugby, the ‘Come Sing’ charity event at Kempton Park – The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace – and rugby anthems, accompanied by the band of the Honourable Artillery Company. Sir Karl Jenkins, the composer of this fab piece of music, will be there himself on the day too. More info at http://www.vfhchoir.com

  18. Karen

    Teddington Lock is also where the Monty Python Fish Slapping Dance was filmed 🙂

  19. Joy

    Beautiful place, central Twickers and Strawberry Hill… I have such fond memories of living there.

  20. Fab piece Twickerati. Can you add a link to our website http://www.trytwickenham.com/ Paid for and representing over 450 businesses in Twickenham we’re all about encouraging people to stay in the town and spend their money.
    We’ve developed a Twickenham rugby fan app which has just launched. Would be great if you could put a link to that too: http://onelink.to/rf92x5
    It’s free, not filled with ads and it tells the fans where they can get their cash out, where they can spend it, how they can get there and where they find a toilet!
    Coming very soon is our town app, very similar but less rugby focused.
    Hope you’re loving the rugby bunting with art work by local artist Alban Low!

  21. Best coffee in Twickenham? Sapori. Independent Italian deli on corner of Heath Rd and Laurel Ave (prev Angelos). Fab good too and top wines not normally avail outside Italy.

  22. Great article. Best coffee in Twickenham? Independent Italian deli called Sapori on corner of Heath Rd and Laurel Ave. Fab food too!

  23. Could you add this please Twickerati?
    Art Exhibition
    Visitors are welcome to ‘Painting the Thames’ an exhibition of oil paintings, prints and cards of local scenes by local artist Lee Campbell based on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham Embankment. For directions and opening times see http://www.leecampbell.co.uk or Tel: 07900242997.

  24. David B

    And if you fancy seeing the sights of central London in the competent hands of a locally-based fully trained and registered Blue Badge guide, contact
    http://www.london-ai.co.uk/home/

  25. Try rugby inspired gifts from Glass by Jo Downs on Heath Road

  26. Jocelyn

    A walk in Marble Hill Park and coffee in the Stables cafe at Orleans House (next to the gallery mentioned above) is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. Seconded the recommendation to visit the White Swan by the river in Twickenham and lunch in Zoran’s deli in St Margarets (Crown Road) is recommended. Another fantastic little local café is South Street Café on, you’ve guessed it, South Street, in Old Isleworth. The home made ice cream is outstanding.

  27. Lorraine

    You got it in a nutshell! Well done.

    • Ben Makins

      Yup, perfect. I’m just of with my LBRuT volunteer greeter yellow sash and Met Police yellow bag (slightly camp, I voted for the more butch “tabbard”) to stand outside Santander and meet and greet the visitors from around the globe and tell them about the delights of this place. Useful suggestions!