Everybody seemed very excited with the idea of my move to London – it was a great opportunity! I wasn’t so sure – it all seemed quite daunting! Having just finished my undergrad I was facing the same predicament that many new graduates find themselves in – what do I do next? I had lived abroad twice before but this time was different. I wasn’t going on a cultural exchange, living on a university campus or learning a new language. It was more serious. I was choosing which career path to follow and was plagued with the uncertainties of choice. I struggled to see myself surviving on my own in such a huge city. Where would I live? Would I make friends? How would I manage simple everyday tasks? Was moving a good idea?
Despite my fears, last August I found myself in Twickenham about to embark on the next chapter of my life. Situated in the Borough of Richmond, Twickenham proved to be the perfect place for my first year in London. With over half of the borough covered in parkland, it provided a nice escape from the intensity of the city centre while still being within easy commuting distance. As I explored the area I began to love it! I made lots of friends. I could spend my evenings running in the parks or alongside the river to Richmond where the numerous rowing clubs trained. Soon I became a regular at my favourite places to eat:
Bellissimo Ristorante Caffetteria Italiana, London Road, provides delicious meals and is great for take-aways.
Snax Sandwich Bar, Church Street, offers freshly made sandwiches – a nice alternative to the pre-prepared ones available in most London shops!
Being only 15 minutes away, Richmond became one of my favourite places to spend an afternoon. Restaurants and bars overlook the river and offer the ideal location for relaxing in the sun. There’s also a market to explore and plenty of shops for more serious shoppers. Richmond is also home to London’s largest park. I would suggest visiting by bike, which can be rented from Blazing Saddles, under Richmond Bridge. From here you can cycle by the river until you reach Richmond Park. Blazing Saddles also has the advantage of charging by the hour, while many others expect you to rent for the day. On entering the park you feel as though you have left London behind – green stretches in every direction, speckled with people enjoying their free time. While many areas of the park are gorgeous, I found the woodland garden of Isabella Plantation truly beautiful! Here you can ramble through the paths of colour and greenery, cross the wooden bridges as you watch the reflections of the flowers or lie in sun beneath the trees.
I learned a lot from my year in Twickenham and looking back wonder why I was so concerned about moving to such a lovely area. Everybody else was right – I should have been excited!
For now I have said goodbye to the borough but hope to return for a visit sometime soon!