Yes, I know, I’m late to the Petersham Nurseries game. Everyone and their sister has already been, enjoyed tea and cakes and roamed the endless flowers and home decor displays. This is officially the hot spot for a day out of London and there’s no shortage of photography on Instagram to confirm that theory.
So, where do we go from here? Just because everyone’s been there does that mean I can’t share and tell you that you too should make the journey for yourself? You know me better than that. Of course I’m going to share and naturally I’m going to encourage you to add it to your bucket list if you haven’t already been. Petersham Nurseries is everything that the social networks promise it to be, even on the most miserable day. And let me just tell you, it couldn’t have been more miserable on the day we made our way to Richmond from West London. The rain was coming down in sheets and never have I been more thankful for a change of footwear, from TOD’s mocs to giant gardener wellies.
First things first, I went on a weekday, so I can not speak to what exactly happens on weekends or how crowded this space can actually get. I know parking is a constant issue as they don’t have a great deal of it. So consider yourself forewarned. However, on a weekday, I can confirm that the atmosphere is light and you will find that you have plenty of room to feel as if you are experiencing the beautiful atmosphere by your lonesome. If you are there before noon, you’re limited to hot drinks and cakes for refreshments. This didn’t bother me in the slightest. But if you’re one of those gluten free, dairy free, everything free but the wheatgrass sort of person, then perhaps you should wait and visit when the kitchen is serving a more diverse offering. Cappuccino cake and a skinny latte couldn’t have been a more welcome breakfast as we sat in one of the greenhouses and watched as rain fell by the bucket load onto the glass walls around us.
Once the sky decided to cease and desist with the rain, for a mere half an hour, we set out to explore the grounds. “If only I had a garden…” These are, first of all, words I thought I would never ever say in my life. They call me the black thumb, which basically means I somehow manage to kill every plant that ever enters my house. I am not good at the whole watering bit you see. But here I was, muttering these words to myself as I passed endless rows of flowers and herbs that were dying to be planted in a space that would be looked after and cared for. Perhaps I could change my ways and be one of those women who gardens on a Saturday rather than indulging in yet another calorific/alcoholic brunch with friends to find happiness. One slight glitch in the plan, however. I live in a second floor walk up apartment in the middle of London. There’s no garden to my name and no foreseeable plan to change that landscape in the future. So, out went the garden dream as fast as it came into my head.
However, Petersham Nurseries isn’t exclusively about gardening. In fact, I’d say that the main attraction is their greenhouse area featuring a supreme offering of home decor. You will go gaga. This is no exaggeration. Dirt floors run throughout a canvas ceilinged room that features everything from elaborate chandeliers to delicate china. You will enter this space and immediately feel a renovation on the horizon. Consider yourself warned. This is like stepping into an antique fair and seeing everything you’ve ever dreamed of laid out in one space. Although pricey, there are pieces here you will not find anywhere else and are, in fact, worth the credit card purchase.
Once you are done exploring the flowers, the antiques, the cakes and the coffees, you may find you want to give it all one more go before you head off back into London. No one will fault you and you will have worked off enough calories to be totally deserving of another cake. I mean, you came all this way right?
Church Lane (signed posted ‘St Peter’s Church’)
Off Petersham Road
Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB