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Richmond-on-Thames for 6 month house swap. Too far from CBD?

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We are looking at a house swap for 6 months in Richmond-on-Thames (Greater London) starting October 2012.

We go away for the winter and often rent an apartment in a European City for 8-10 weeks. This location is further away from a city centre than we are used to...in Paris we stayed in the First Arr, in Barcelona by the Cathedral and Trastevere in Rome - in each case we could walk to major attractions and shopping, which we enjoy.

I understand Richmond is about 30 minutes by Underground to Westminster (it's at the end of the District Line) or 20 minutes by train to Waterloo. It's a pretty looking town but we wonder if it's too suburban to really feel as though we're in London? We wouldn't have a car (other than occasional rentals to travel within the UK) ... the apartment is located very near Richmond Station - can we do most of our marketing on foot? (obviously I've put these questions to the owner but would appreciate independent opinions).

6 months would be fun and this way we wouldn't have any housing costs - which is a great advantage - but we don't want to sacrifice the experience either.

TIA for any comments.

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