Visiting Twickenham for the Six Nations tournament? Here is our pick of five great things to do while in this unique part of South West London.
The World Rugby Museum in the East Stand of Twickenham Stadium contains 37,000 pieces of rugby memorabilia. Among the pieces, which includes boots, balls, programmes, match-tickets and books, you’ll find the Calcutta Cup, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, an 1871 England jersey and cap and an 1888 Anglo-Australian Tour jersey and cap. Permanent exhibitions include The Twickenham Wall of Fame, The Birth of Rugby and The World of Rugby.
If you’d like to go inside Fuller’s 350-year-old Griffin Brewery at Chiswick, it can be arranged. The tour offers a fascinating glimpse into British beer-making history and concludes with a tutored tasting of some of Fuller’s finest ales, making them perfect for rugby tourists. It lasts for about 90 minutes, costs £20 and there are there are five tours every Saturday.
Thomas Wolsey’s enormous Tudor palace on the banks of the Thames later became a royal residence for King Henry VIII, and still has the power to shock and awe today. Its maze is a wonderful diversion for small children and rugby players, while its Baroque additions by Christopher Wren, superb art collection, and formal gardens mean there’s a lot to see.
If you’d like to see how the other half once lived, look no further than the wildly romantic 18th-century Gothic revival mansion that was once home to the bon viveur Horace Walpole, son of the Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. Partly designed by Robert Adam, this remarkable house contains battlements and trefoils, plus stained glass decorated with animals and a gaudy gallery for entertaining, while outside the formal gardens are a joy. There is a detailed guided tour on Saturdays at 10.30am costing £13.50.
One of the most popular and remarkable visitor attractions in the UK, Kew Gardens hosts over a million paying visitors each year. The 326-acre site employs 220 scientists, has 40 historically important buildings and collections of over 40,000 species of plants – the largest collection of living plants on earth. If you’re feeling lazy, take a 40-minute Kew Explorer land train tour (adults £4.50, children £1.50) around this United Nations World Heritage Site.