This is probably the most famous section of the Capital ring starting in Wimbledon and walking over to Richmond.
The route is almost entirely within gorgeous parks with lovely views of greenery, deers and the boats on the river Thames. I’ve walked along this route previously (although I did not know it was part of the capital ring…) and I noticed that we saw far more walkers than the other sections!! This walk is 7 miles (11.3km) long, so it is a pleasant walk on its own, or if you have lots of energy, it’s easy to walk further.
It is also probably the nicest section of the Capital ring. If you only plan to try just one London walk, this is the one to try!!
You should start at Wimbledon Park station and walk up the hill along Home Park road. Quite soon you’ll reach Wimbledon park and get to walk past the pond. There are loads of ducks and geese, so bring peas or seeds if you’d like to feed them. If you don’t believe me that you should avoid feeding ducks bread alone, see here.
After leaving Wimbledon Park you need to walk through a residential area BUT unlike other sections of the capital ring, it is all still very green. The route is lined with trees and bushes (next to houses and flats) as you slowly walk uphill towards womble-land.
At the end of Queensmere Road, you reach Wimbledon common. We couldn’t find any route markers here…but now I have looked back at the maps, I think this was because we cut straight into Wimbledown Common, rather than walking along the road to the right for a few steps first. There were lots of mini trails into the Common though, so if you don’t mind going off course, just wander straight in! The paths through the trees are really pleasant and soon you’ll emerge into open grassland with a pretty windmill up ahead. There is a café at the windmill, but we found that they were so busy that service can be incredibly slow (both to make an order, and then to be served…) so try to bring a packed lunch if you are in a hurry to keep walking.
After this, you should walk straight to Queen’s Mere – we lost the path so managed to avoid this landmark. Oops. We did get to walk along the Beverley brook though. I think this stream must be really pretty after spring when the grass and trees start to become green. In winter, the views looked slightly haunted with the jagged reflection of trees being mirrored in the water.
After leaving Wimbledon Common you get to cross the A3, either by climbing over a footbridge OR by waiting for the lights to change at the pedestrian crossing. I say pedestrian crossing…but actually there was plenty of space for cyclists and horse riders. You can tell you’re in a wealthy part of London when even the lights at the pelican crossing have horse riders on!!
The next part of the walk is through Europe’s largest urban park, Richmond Park. I LOVE this park! It is just so massive, and varied and fun to explore! You can (and we have) spend all day just exploring various walks through Richmond park and looking for deer. The Capital Ring takes you straight through the middle of the park towards Pens Ponds. This is probably the busiest section of the entire Capital ring. We saw so many families and doggies out for a walk here.
After the ponds, walk halfway up the hill, and turn left to walk along the woods. We normally take a detour to the top of the hill to look down at the whole of London.
Moving on, we walked along the deer-proof fences. I thought I could see a deer shaped log as we wandered along this section of Richmond park. When I looked closer it was actually two deer chilling in the long grass. It is so nice to see them, although we didn’t try to get too close. I also loved all the spookily shaped trees.
After crossing the Queen’s Road… (Be careful! It seems like most cars won’t slow down for pedestrians.) You get to walk up high near Pembrooke Lodge. We stayed as high as we could the whole way along the ridge, before dropping down to Petersham Gate.
The route for the ring leave Richmond Park here, and follows a path to the side of a tudor-looking pub and St Peter’s church, before walking along Petersham meadows to the Thames. We came past here once in the spring and it looked like it has been snowing in St Peter’s as there were so, so many blossom petals covering the churchyard. It was stunning.
The last little section follows the Thames path into Richmond. You’ll be able to see lots of pigeons sitting on boats, hundreds of people and there are several pubs along the waterfront if you’re in need of a tipple. The walk finishes by Richmond Bridge, and it is not too much of a detour to get to Richmond station.
The best bits:
– Wandering in Wimbledon common makes me think of the wombles. I kept singing the womble song as it got stuck in my head!
– Richmond Park covers 2,500 acres and is just lovely – it’s like you’ve left London and landed in an area of the English countryside.
– The deer happily wandering around a huge space, unlike those in the little cage on the other side of London.
– If it has rained recently, bring walking boots or wellies! So many people tread these paths that is was really muddy in some sections.
– There is a café near the windmill on Wimbledon Common BUT it was soooo busy! If you can, bring lunch so you don’t have to wait for ages with the rest of West London for food.
– There are a few places where the walk sign posts are hard to spot. Bring a map or your phone to show you the way!!
Wimbledon Park , Windmill at Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park (by the Robin Hood Gate), Pembroke Lodge, Playground at Petersham Road, Petersham Meadows. There are quite a few pubs and cafes in Richmond.