Our suburb of Richmond, often described as leafy, may be best known for its river views and period architecture, the wildness of the famous park and, as a welcome extra, some of the best traditional London pubs. But it is also the location of several distinctive clubs that attract people from near and far, offering them access to the sporting activities they enjoy with passion and purpose, writes businesswoman Dom Day.
THE POLO CLUB
Polo is a cosmopolitan sport where people come together from across the globe in a spirit of friendly rivalry. This always makes both playing and watching a game a special experience. “Those who love horses and dogs know how good it is to be in their midst,” says Club Chair Howard Davis. And with a glass of chilled rosé or a Pimms in your hand, sitting in the shady clubhouse watching the white-clad players from both Richmond and Argentina, you feel you could be in Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire or lunching al fresco in St Tropez.
Polo Season opens: May 5th. Social Membership £340
THE CYCLING CLUB
If you find urban spinning classes a bit too stationary, why not try racing around the beautiful Surrey countryside while your wheels do the spinning for you?
The Twickenham Cycling Club is primarily a racing club and members can participate in road and circuit events across the region.
The club boasts the best racing programme in the UK. It has a particularly strong women’s team and newcomers are given regular training sessions to help them gain confidence and skills.
Club Membership: £44. Year-round training and races
THE ROWING CLUB
If you’re a water-baby and want to get fit and make new friends, then the Richmond Bridge Rowing Club is the one for you. Billing itself as the “friendliest rowing club on the Thames”, it’s a mix of serious early-morning practice throughout the year and gentle glides to picturesque riverside pubs and lively picnics. It’s addictive!
There is a free induction class for beginners and long-time members are always on hand to offer tips and advice. After only a couple of sessions you might be eligible to compete in the Great River Race or even try your navigation skills in the team outing to Venice. And if you don’t want to leave Richmond, you might make the acquaintance of our long-term resident seal that lives off Eel Island.
Annual Membership: £195
THE YACHT CLUB
Though most members of the Twickenham Yacht Club have boats, it is not unusual for a yacht club to have members who, though boatless, like to be around boat owners, to listen to their stories of sailing adventures, and join in the group activities the club organises. By belonging to a yacht club you gain friends and opportunities for sporting and social activities that can widen your outlook and enrich your life. The club suits both seasoned sailors and novices alike, as a wide range of training is provided. The clubhouse provides a magnificent view of the river and Richmond Hill beyond and if you’re suffering from a touch of the ‘Ancient Mariner’ you can always enjoy a heartening hot drink on the club patio or upstairs in the bar.
Start of Season: Full Membership: £110