Historic Thames Ditton

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of Surrey called Thames Ditton, it’s a tiny riverside village commutable to London and full of English charm, somewhere that I think Beatrix Potter would be quite at home!


I love the river you’ll often find me out and about on it so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the historic riverside of this part of the River Thames.

 The Astoria

A timeless houseboat which evokes Great Gatsby vibes.

The Astoria has a magical musical history. One of the most unusual and magical sights on this part of the River Thames is the Astoria house boat.

A luxurious houseboat on the river, which looks like it could be could be straight out of Great Gatsby. It’s always such a joy to cruise past.

Built in 1911 for Fred Karno who wanted to have the best houseboat on the river – he designed it to include a stunning deck- so big that an entire 90-piece orchestra could comfortably play on top. The Astoria’s gorgeous mahogany frame and crittall windows is a timeless design of old age glamourThe magic of music. Destined to be a musical boat, the Astoria was later bought in 1986 by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour who adapted the boat into a floating recording studio. He later went on to record several of Pink Floyd’s albums on the boat, including The Endless River and his solo album On an Island.

The boat wasn’t soundproof so the sounds of the river because the background of many of these sounds including ducks and passing boats. I love the unique history of the boat and can only imagine the fabulous Art Deco parties that once took place.D'Oyly Carte Island.  Just past Shepperton Lock, you’ll find this imposing Victorian Mansion set in the centre of a small island. With an ethereal, haunting atmosphere, this beautiful building has been vacant for some time and is falling into disrepair.D'Oyly Carte Island Originally built by Richard D'Oyly Carte in 1890, this giant mansion has 13 bedrooms, a ballroom and 5 bathrooms. Surround by wild gardens this luxurious island is a haven for wildlife.


Shakespeare's Temple

Another favourite building of mine along the Thames is Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare. Thought to be the only shine the Shakespeare in the world, this beautiful temple, or garden folly was built in 1756.Grade I listed; this unusual building was built by Shakespearian actor David Garrick to honour the playwright, William Shakespeare. A lifelong affair

During Garrick’s lifetime the temple was used to display his extension collection of Shakespearian objects. Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens, this unique place is always a joy to pass on the boat and the perfect spot for a sunny picnic.

Hampton Court Palace

A palace of two halves and home to Henry VIII
hampton court palace

Hampton Court Palace is of course one of the most imposing historic buildings on the outskirts of Thames Ditton. Nestled alongside the River Thames, this historic palace is just a stone’s throw away from my home and it is a historic building that I’m lucky enough to always pass when I’m out on the river.

Best known for being the home of Henry VIII, this Tudor Palace is a palace of two halves – narrowly escaping removal during William and Mary’s Baroque renovations, who luckily (for us) ran out of money before they were able to completely replace the Tudor half of the building. It certainly adds an extra point of interest when sailing down the river and it’s a wonderful example of two era’s merging together.

Little Banqueting House

A party palace of riverside decadence.
The magical River Thames Ditton

I hope you enjoyed reading about my little riverside world. I find boating to be the ultimate escapism, I love the way the same part of a river will bring new energy and stories each time you visit. From the array of wildlife to the beautiful riverside architecture it really is one of the most magical ways to spend a day.

Share your favourite riverside spots in the comments

Lynsey x

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