Richmond’s Treble of Twinned Towns

Many towns in the UK enjoy strong cultural and historic links with others around the world, and some of those connections have been made official through the concept of town twinning.

In particular, following the end of World War Two, twinning was encouraged as a way to foster greater understanding between different nationalities and cultures after the trauma of the war.

Many of the most interesting pairings between UK towns and those abroad were noted in a recent study commissioned by Voucherbox and most towns have only one twin.

With somewhere as large as London, though, the prospect of the whole city twinning with just one other city would be too unmanageable and that’s why you find many London boroughs have their own twin town. Richmond takes it even further than that – it has three twin-town arrangements in place.

So what do Richmond’s three twins have to offer their visitors and are there any links with Richmond itself?

Richmond, Virginia

It’s probably unsurprising that one of Richmond’s sister towns also shares its name.

There are a fair few Richmonds around the world, but the one that’s twinned to Richmond in Greater London is Richmond, Virginia, USA.


Known as the Capital of the South, Richmond has a history that stretches back over 400 years.

But while it’s well known for its past, this is also a modern and lively city that today is renowned for its craft beer and gastronomic delights.

Any Richmond resident who’s bemoaning the loss of the Stag Brewery can make up for it by exploring the Richmond Beer Trail while in Virginia, taking in 20 craft breweries en route.

Many visitors also time their trip to Richmond to catch sight of the magnificent fall colours during the autumn.

Fontainebleau, France

Another town that’s twinned with Richmond in London is the French town of Fontainebleau.

The town grew up around the Château de Fontainebleau that was home to French ruling dynasties for eight centuries.

From the Capétians to the Orléans, different French rulers expanded the castle over the years and it now has more than 1500 rooms and is set in half a square mile of parkland.

fontainebleau-190611-016-jpg-cc-by-sa-2-0-by-antonikon                                    © antonikon

Richmond Park may be a great place to go for a Sunday morning bike ride or ramble, but any visitor to Fontainebleau will be astounded by the size of its forest.

There are 110 square miles of beautiful forest to explore, with more than 300 km of signposted forest trails to follow.

The town is also an equestrian centre and the location for a number of show-jumping and racing events throughout the year.

Konstanz, Germany

Part of the charm of living in Richmond is having a magnificent stretch of the Thames running through the borough.

It makes for a great focal point for weekend strolls and there are lots of bars and restaurants that overlook the river.

Konstanz, Richmond’s twin town in Germany, has its own water features – the magnificent Lake Konstanz and the River Rhine that surround the town. In the backdrop are the breath-taking Swiss mountains.

konstanz-cc-by-2-0-by-michael-zero-mayer     © Michael Zero Mayer

Lake Konstanz is the largest lake in Germany and the Mainau island is a must-see destination for anyone with an interest in botany.

Mainau provides a reflection of Richmond’s Kew Gardens with its superb collection of rare trees, tropical plants and gardens.

The town of Konstanz is steeped in history, with a medieval old town that has been preserved and today is also a lively university town.

Each of the towns that Richmond has chosen to twin with have fascinating histories, yet are also modern and active cities, much like Richmond itself.

And even though their locations are very different, there are some landscape and cultural similarities that the towns share too.

Featured image courtesy of Herry Lawford, with thanks

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