Twickenham Things to Do

  • Artist's studio
    Artist's studio
    by toonsarah
  • Waterlilies in their pool
    Waterlilies in their pool
    by toonsarah
  • Footbridge to the island
    Footbridge to the island
    by toonsarah

Best Rated Things to Do in Twickenham

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    Eel Pie Island: music and art

    by toonsarah Written Jul 20, 2013

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    Typical architecture
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    In the middle of the Thames in Twickenham, and connected to the bank only by footbridge, is a place so tranquil, almost magical, that it seems inconceivable that you are in a London borough. A winding footpath leads between secluded houses, many rather ramshackle and rustic in appearance. Further along the bank, shipbuilders work, using methods no doubt employed around these parts for centuries. There are no cars (none could reach the island) and even cycling is prohibited.

    Today the main reason to visit the island, apart from curiosity, is to view the work of the many artists that call it home. But the studios are only open on a few weekends each year (check the website below for dates). Most of the time (including when we recently visited) the island is quiet and tranquil. At these times a ten minute stroll will show you everything there is to see, but this is still worthwhile, especially if you are a keen photographer, as the quirky details of the houses are an attraction in themselves.

    The island was not always so tranquil however. In the late 1950s a small hotel on the island, Eel Pie Hotel, started to host jazz and blues evenings. As popular music evolved, so did the hotel’s musical performances, and in the 60s it was host to such famous bands and artists as the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, the Who, Eric Clapton, Alexis Korner, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Long John Baldry and many more. These evenings became legendary and are still the main thing that Eel Pie Island is known for, despite the hotel having closed down in 1967 and burned down in 1971. A plaque on the river bank opposite the island commemorates the “Music Legends of Eel Pie Island”.

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    York House Gardens

    by toonsarah Written Jul 20, 2013

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    York House dates back to the 17th century and today acts as offices for the London Borough of Richmond, in which Twickenham is situated. Its grounds are open to the public and still retain the sense of being the gardens of a stately home rather than a local park. The house was formerly owned by an Indian industrialist, Sir Ratan Tata, and these grounds owe much to his influence.

    Among the features to look out for are the large sunken lawn which forms the foreground to the house itself, a Japanese-style garden, paths meandering through a small wooded area with a pool, and – most dramatic – the cavorting nymphs known (appropriately enough) as the Naked Ladies. These larger than human size statues were carved from white Carrara marble and depict eight Oceanids and a pair of aquatic horses. They were originally part of an even larger group, imported from Italy around the end of the 19th or start of the 20th century, but the group was broken up after the death of their owner (fraudster Whitaker Wright, who committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule when convicted of fraud). Tata bought them for his newly acquired property, and had them installed as the crowning glory of his riverside gardens. Unfortunately though, there were no instructions as to how they were intended to be arranged. A dramatic cascade and rockery were built to act as backdrop, but no one knows to this day whether the original intention was to create a scene such as this or something very different. One theory suggests that the ladies might be not nymphs but pearl fishers, as one holds a pearl, but if the others also had some these have long been lost. Whatever the truth, they are a surprising and eye-catching addition to this pretty park.

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    75,000 Englishmen Singing

    by ATXtraveler Written Feb 7, 2005

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    England v. Tonga 1999

    One of the most interesting things you can do in Twickenham is to go enjoy a game at the stadium. I was very impressed that 75,000 English Rugby fans could sound so good together singing "Swing Low". It was so impressive, I had to take this picture of them doing so when we watched England defeat Tonga in the RWC '99.

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    Visit the gallery

    by diosh Written Aug 14, 2005

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    Orleans House gallery

    Orleans House Gallery is hosting a "music in Richmond' exhibition at the moment.It's entitled 'making music' and runs till 23rd October 2005.It spans the musical history of Richmond, over 500 years., exploring patrons, composers, musicians, with local links--Heidegger,Chopin,Panufnik,to the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
    The gallery is free and is open all year round.April-September 30-Tues/Sat-13.00-17.30,Sun-14.00-17.30.Between October and March it closes 1 hour earlier.

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    The Rugby Museum

    by neilward Updated Apr 19, 2004

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    The museum was an excellent way to spend an hour,lots of memorabilia from all over the world,from as far as Argentina and new Zealand.

    One piece of memorabilia has recently been added to the museum,from Australia.........................

    The Webb Ellis Trophy...

    The World Cup which England won in Australia by beating the Wallabies in the final,by 20 points -17 with a drop kick fro Jonny Wilkinson.

    On a match day entrance was only ý3 which I felt was value for money.

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    visit York house and its gardens

    by uglyscot Updated Jun 7, 2010

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    York House
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    York House today serves as the Town Hall for Twickenham.
    Originally the central part of the house dates to the 1630s. It was built for Andrew Pitcarne who was a courtier of King Charles I. When he died in 1640, the house was sold to Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester in 1656, and then re-sold in 1661 for £3,500 to Henry Hyde, the son of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, the Lord Chancellor.
    It then hadseveral owners. In 1864 the property was acquired on behalf of the Orleans Pretender, Philippe, comte de Paris. Three of his four children were born in York House. He and his family returned to France following the defeat of Napoleon III as a result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1869-71.
    The house then remained empty until 1876 when it was bought by Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff (1829–1906), a Scottish MP, junior minister in Gladstone's first government, and from 1881 to 1887 Governor of Madras.
    From 1896 to 1906 the then Orleanist pretender Philippe, duc d'Orléans bought back the house he'd been born in.
    Sir Ratan Tatawas the last private owner (1871–1918), a major industrialist in India. After acquiring the house in 1906 he had the riverside section of the gardens made as an Italian style garden; which was a setting for garden parties and to show off a set of statues that he'd bought. He died in 1918.

    York House was acquired by Twickenham Urban District Council and after major alterations became the council's offices.
    [Information from Wikipedia]

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    Mary Wallace Theatre

    by uglyscot Updated Jun 7, 2010

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    Mary Wallace Theatre
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    According to the company's publicity online :The Richmond Shakespeare Society is a highly-respected amateur dramatic society with a Membership from a wide area.It was founded in 1934 to perform Shakespeare's plays annually in the open air. It has grown to have a programme of eight productions a year by vastly differing playwrights of all eras, from ancient Greece to the modern day. The theatre was opened in 1981 having been built by donaations and a legacy from Mary Wallace who ad been secretary for the company from 1956 till he untimely death in 1977. The theatre is extremely well-equipped and holds other events in addition to the plays.

    Find out the programme of events and try to see one of the productions.

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    See the boats on the Thames

    by uglyscot Updated Jun 7, 2010

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    boats
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    I love looking at boats, so walked along where small boats were anchored, and across where larger one's were moored by the Island.
    The Hurlingham is the sister ship of the Marchioness one which which sank in an accident with the Bowbelle in 1989 when 53 people died.

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    Eel Pie Island

    by uglyscot Written Jun 7, 2010

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    about Eel Pie Island
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    In the 1960s the owner of The Eel Pie Island Hotel invited the bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and other 'new' music groups to perform at his club.
    It became a legend.
    Today there is the Eel Pie Pub in the main street.

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    Museum of Rugby

    by Donnylass Written Jun 1, 2004

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    Jeff and the World Cup

    This is a really interesting museum - loads to see and do. And you can have your photo taken with the World Cup like Jeff did!

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