Explore Eel Pie Island: The Hidden Gem of the Thames




Explore Eel Pie Island: The Hidden Gem of the Thames


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Eel Pie Island, one of the few inhabited islands on the River Thames, holds a unique place in the fabric of London’s rich history. Nestled amidst the meandering waters of the Thames, in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, the island is truly an oasis of mystery and charm in the heart of the bustling city. Its quirky name is said to have originated from the delicious eel pies served to boaters stopping off at the island’s hotel during the 19th century, providing the island with a distinct cultural identity.


With a land area of approximately 9 acres, Eel Pie Island is home to an eclectic mix of cottages, art studios, and boat yards.

Its proximity to Twickenham, often referred to as the home of English rugby, lends it an intriguing blend of tranquility and vibrancy.

The island is also a sanctuary for a wide variety of flora and fauna, showcasing a unique biodiversity that adds to its charm.


Eel Pie Island boasts a history as colorful as its present-day milieu.

From its early 19th-century days as a popular riverside retreat, where the iconic Eel Pie Island Hotel catered to London’s elite, to the swinging 60s when it became a beacon of the British blues scene, hosting the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd, the island has donned many hats.

While its famous hotel may no longer exist, its influential musical legacy lives on.


The island today presents a plethora of engaging activities for visitors.

Its twice-yearly open studio days, when local artists open their doors to the public, are especially notable.

These events offer the chance to appreciate a diverse range of artworks and crafts, from painting and sculpture to mixed media installations, providing a unique cultural experience in a picturesque setting.

Explore Eel Pie Island: The Hidden Gem of the Thames


The island maintains an air of exclusivity due to its limited residential space.

Approximately 50 homes house around 120 people, making for a tight-knit community.

When to Go

June and December are the best months to visit, aligning with the Open Studios events when you can get an inside look at the local art scene.

How to Get There

Access to the island is via a footbridge from The Embankment at Twickenham. Please note, the island is privately owned and is only open to the public on specific days.


The unique Eel Pie Island Museum, the picturesque riverside setting, the vibrant art studios during Open Studios events, and the island’s rich musical history stand out as key highlights.

What You Should Know

The island has no shops or restaurants, so visitors should plan accordingly.

Also, be respectful of the island’s residents as it’s their home.


Is Eel Pie Island open to the public?

Yes, but only during the Open Studios events and the local artists’ private appointments.

Can you stay overnight on Eel Pie Island?

There are no accommodations available for overnight stays.

Is Eel Pie Island wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the island is wheelchair accessible, but do keep in mind that the terrain can be uneven at places.

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