With Twickenham about to host their first ever NFL game, our new general manager Bruce Leatherman thought it would be fitting to put together an unofficial and biased guide for those visiting Twickenham for the first time. Bruce lived in Twickenham for 7 years so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff…
I have to start by saying that I’m extremely biased when it comes to Twickenham, having lived and worked there for 7 years. From the very first NFL International game at Wembley I have always said that Twickenham would be a better venue. Not necessarily the stadium but the town itself. Unlike Wembley, where once stepping off the train the uninitiated will be unceremoniously funnelled in the direction of the stadium, Twickenham will immediately present you with a choice: left or right…
Right will take you to the stadium. Along the way you’ll be greeted by touts and a selection of stalls selling fast food and merchandise.
Left, however, will take you into Twickenham. A small town with a black-belt in sporting event hospitality. First place you’ll see as you reach the brow of the incline out of the station is the world famous Cabbage Patch pub (#1 on the map below). The only real issue about going there is that so will EVERYONE else; even on the quietest match days the Patch is heaving. Expect 4-5 deep at the bar within an hour of it opening. It’s also often cash only. For those of you short on time or not wanting to go too far in the opposite direction of the stadium there are a few other options if the mass of people in the beer garden puts you off the Patch. Also left out of the station, and on the same side of the road, is Shack 68, which is technically a BBQ restaurant (the burgers are amazing) but if you’re looking to just relax with a drink they do have plenty of space out back. After that there’s the Albany (#2), a good option if the other two are packed as it’s hidden just round to the right of the Patch.
If you manage to not be dragged into any of the three establishments mentioned above you only need to walk a few more feet to find yourself on London Road. Here you’ll find the Misty Moon and The William Web Ellis pub (#3), both of who compete for most “economic” pub in Twickenham. You’ll also find your standard takeaway fare such as Burger King, Subway and independent pizza places. There’s even another BBQ restaurant (local businesses are not always known for their originality) down on the right. Besides that there’s very little to see other than Waitrose and the newsagent/off-licence. At this point I should put to bed a popular myth, which is that you cannot drink in the streets freely. Yes, people absolutely do go straight into an off-licence and buy up as many cans of Skol as they can carry. But this is a residential area and antisocial behaviour is not cool. Don’t be a mole.
If respite from the drunken masses is your goal then keep heading down London Road until you get to the traffic lights, this is also where the only free cash machines can be found (there are more at the stadium). To the left you’ll have Richmond Road. With only one pub, The Bear (#4), things are usually quieter here. There’s also a number of restaurants including a Thai, Indian, Italian, another BBQ place (see point about originality above) and – in my opinion – the best curry house in the borough, The Ghurkha’s Inn.
If you decide to go straight at the lights you’ll find yourself at the top of Church Street. If there is going to be a party it will be here. On busy days they’ll close off the road and leave you with two great pubs, The Fox and the Eel Pie (#5), and numerous alfresco dining options (weather permitting). The Fox will have a band playing out the front and the street will overflow with atmosphere. I’m also informed that The Fox will have something called the “Fast Bar” on show which can reportedly serve a pint in 5 seconds!
Finally, if it’s a particularly sunny day you need to pop down (you’ve already come this far after all) to the Barmy Arms (#6). It’s just behind Church Street and has a beer garden that leads right down to the Thames. Please leave swimming across to Eel Pie Island until the Army vs Navy annual rugby match.