Staying overnight? Then discover 24 hours of fun and history in Twickenham.
For legions of rugby fans, Twickenham is chiefly known as the home of English rugby; and as the largest purpose-built rugby venue in the world, Twickenham Stadium is indeed a major feature of this leafy town on the southwest edge of London.
Whether you've got tickets for a match or plan to check out the excellent exhibits at the World Rugby Museum, this massive, 82,000-seat stadium is well worth a visit. You can even stay on site – the London Marriott Hotel Twickenham is located within the stadium building, and boasts private suites, a lounge and boardroom with views of the pitch.
Of course, there's much more to Twickenham than just the rugby. Whether you're a devoted rugby fan interested in exploring more of this attractive town, or perhaps a family member or friend who has tagged along but wants to see something a bit less sport-focused, there are plenty of great attractions in the Twickenham area that will appeal to a variety of tastes. We spoke to Lesley at Try Twickenham to get some ideas on the best ways to spend 24 hours in Twickenham – here are some of her suggestions:
Stroll along the Thames
An exceptionally pretty stretch of the Thames flows through Twickenham, and there are some peaceful, scenic walks along the embankment. You can actually wander all the way through to Richmond, pausing to check out the sights along the way – such as the quirkily named Eel Pie Island, long the preserve of artists, musicians and others in search of quiet seclusion. Keep yourself fuelled by stopping for refreshments at a lovely riverside pub – Lesley recommends The Barmy Arms and The White Swan.
Catch up on local history
The quaint Twickenham Museum is relatively small, but offers some enlightening exhibits on the history of the local area with plenty of fascinating archival material and themed displays. The site occupies a charming 18th century house near the river, in the oldest part of the town, and ties in with the local history trail that links Richmond Bridge and Twickenham.
Explore Twickenham's stately homes
For those who love grand houses and gardens (and imagining themselves living in another age), there are several elegant properties in the area. York House dates from the 1630s, and was once the home of a wealthy local farming family. Currently owned by the local council and used as a wedding and events venue, its pleasant riverside gardens are open to the public, with play areas, fountains, ponds and tennis courts.
The Palladian manor Marble Hill House was built in the 18th century by Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk and is now managed by English Heritage. Take some time to explore the beautiful Georgian furnishings and extensive parklands and gardens, including play areas and leisure facilities.
Those interested in the Gothic Revival style of architecture should definitely visit Strawberry Hill House, Horace Walpole's splendidly eccentric 18th century home, known for its fairytale appearance.
Relax on Twickenham Green
After a morning spent admiring the sights, take some time out to relax on Twickenham's pleasant Green, where you can soak up the sun on a nice day, and maybe even catch a local cricket match at the club pavilions. Lesley suggests enjoying food or a drink at Arthur's on the Green, which offers delicious food, a warm atmosphere and plenty of al fresco seating right on the Green – perfect for people watching.
Set in tranquil woodland gardens, Orleans House Gallery (and the neighbouring Stables Gallery) are Twickenham's main art galleries and host an impressive mix of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Housed in handsome heritage buildings that have been lovingly restored, the galleries are a wonderful place to peruse interesting historic and contemporary artworks, take part in hands-on workshops or relax in the on-site café.
Shop on historic Church Street
As one of the oldest thoroughfares in Twickenham, Church Street offers personality in spades, with lots of eclectic shops, charming restaurants, and a few of the oldest pubs in the town. Browse for unique souvenirs, and pop into historic St Mary's Church, from which the street takes its name – the tower dates from the 15th century. Church Street often hosts festivals and other events in the summer months – keep an eye on Try Twickenham's what's on page to see what's happening.
Enjoy live music
Twickenham has a vibrant live music scene, and you can catch a gig at one of its exciting venues most nights of the week. Lesley suggests checking out world-class jazz singers and musicians on Tuesday nights at the Twickenham Jazz Club; the best in folk, acoustic and Americana at TwickFolk on Sunday evenings; or some classic rhythm and blues at the Eel Pie Club on Thursdays.
Explore gardens and green space
Twickenham is known for its lovely green spaces, so if you fancy spending some time in nature, there are plenty of parks and gardens to choose from. For example, the award-winning Diamond Jubilee Gardens near the banks of the Thames offer boules courts, a playground, café and lots of entertainment throughout the summer, while a bit further inland, Moormead and Bandy Recreation Ground has lots of space to stretch your legs, as well as play areas, tennis courts and a football pitch. Historic Radnor Gardens, meanwhile, boast heritage features and a number of rare and beautiful trees.