Living in Kingston-upon-Thames
“Kingston is now a prime spot for families seeking more space and safe neighbourhoods outside the hubbub of Central London”
Moving to Kingston
With the River Thames stretching along the western side of the borough and the glorious greenery of Richmond Park to the north, Kingston is highly desirable to families and retirees seeking a spacious property without the high prices of neighbouring Twickenham, Wimbledon, and Richmond. While it may not offer the same affluent village feel as these areas, Kingston makes up for this with an impressive array of shopping complexes, which easily outshine their more limited retail offerings. Schools are also a huge draw for families with young children seeking to settle here, with a great selection of Ofsted ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools, and a reasonably high student population can also be found as a result of Kingston University.
House prices in Kingston
Properties in here are around £676,7340 on average as of February 2020, making the area cheaper than neighbouring boroughs of Richmond-upon-Thames and Merton, but more expensive than the likes of Greenwich and Hounslow. The borough has a good selection of terraced and detached family properties, as well as smart apartments for young professionals and student-friendly terraces. Some of the most exclusive properties in the borough can be found on the Coombe Hill Estate, while Surbiton is popular with commuters looking for a direct rail route into Waterloo.
“Schools are also a huge draw for families with young children seeking to settle here, with a great selection of Ofsted ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools”
Travelling in Kingston
Whilst no Underground links run through the area, the borough is well-served by rail connections which mostly make up for the lack of tube stations. There are many stations nearby, almost all of which are on the South West Trains route, and direct trains to London Waterloo take around 30 minutes. The closest Underground stations can be found in nearby Morden, Wimbledon or Richmond for those who are prepared to travel.
For residents with access to a car, this borough has a number of connecting A-roads, such as the A3 and A243, as well as various bus services throughout the borough.
Restaurants in Kingston
The restaurant scene here is largely comprised of popular high-street restaurant chains, such as Côte Brasserie, Busaba Eathai. Norbiton is home to some fantastic independent eateries, including the Italian Trattoria Calabrese and tradition fish n’ chip shop Fish Kitchen. Plenty of small cafes and bargain lunch spots can be found close to the Kingston University Campus, whilst throughout the borough there are some great gastropubs to be found – local favourites include The Canbury Arms and The Queen’s Head.
Shopping in Kingston
For an outer London borough, Kingston boasts an excellent selection of shopping spots, particularly in the area surrounding Kingston station. The High Street and Eden Walk are filled with big brand names, while the Bentall Shopping Centre offers 600,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, including upmarket womenswear boutiques such as & Other Stories, Cos, and American Vintage, as well as Bentall’s department store and an Apple store. For new residents, the large John Lewis on Wood Street is an excellent place to stock up on homewares and furniture.
Food shopping in Kingston
Kingston has a good selection of supermarkets, ranging from Asda, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s to small branches of Londis and Costcutter. For artisan produce or unusual products Kingston town centre, Surbiton, and New Malden all host regular Farmer’s Markets with a wide range of vendors selling their wares.
Gyms in Kingston
There are various fitness facilities in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, including branches of gyms chains such as Virgin Active, Fitness4Less, David Lloyd and Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gym. Smaller studios such as F45 Training can also be found here, as well as a range of council-run centres including the Kingfisher Leisure Centre and Tiffin Sports Centre, and for those who prefer a wetter form of exercise there’s always the Kingston Rowing Club.
On the other hand, if you prefer your activities with a side of adventure, the popular theme park Chessington World of Adventures features a zoo, rollercoaster rides and a water park among other attractions and can be found in the south of the borough
Kingston doesn’t quite offer the same lively cultural life as neighbouring Richmond, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have some appealing options. Highlights in the area include the Kingston Museum with its exhibitions on local history, the intriguing Dorich House Museum, and the Rose Theatre, an Elizabethan-style venue in the style of the famous Rose Theatre in Central London where some of Shakespeare’s early plays were performed. It is now the largest producing theatre in South West London, and hugely popular among theatre-loving locals. Meanwhile, for film fans, the Rotunda Centre is home to a large Odeon Cinema.
“Highlights in the area include the Kingston Museum with its exhibitions on local history, the intriguing Dorich House Museum, and the Rose Theatre, an Elizabethan-style venue in the style of the famous Rose Theatre”
Schools and education in Kingston
Family friendly Kingston has a good selection of schools, with around 84% of secondary school pupils attending an Ofsted ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school as of 2013. Among the best primary schools in the borough are St Luke’s CofE Primary School, Ellingham Primary School and Coombe Hill Junior School, while leading state secondary schools in Kingston include The Holy Cross School and Holyfield School and Sixth Form Centre. The independent Tiffin Girls Secondary School on Richmond Road and Kingston Grammar School are also highly sought-after.
Beyond secondary school, the borough is home to Kingston University, which has around 21,000 students and is particularly renowned for its Nursing, Fashion & Textiles and Design & Crafts courses.
Safety in Kingston
Kingston is one of the safest boroughs in London, with a relatively low crime rate of 57 crimes per 1000 people as of 2013, significantly lower than both the England average and the London average.
Green spaces in Kingston
While the borough starts just shy of the vast expanse of Richmond Park and borders Bushy Park to the west, there are still some good parks and open spaces to be found here, including Churchfields Recreation Ground and Hogsmill Public Open Space. Some lovely patches of greenery can also be found alongside the River Thames, with riverside walking routes stretching up the boundary of the border towards Richmond.
A coronation stone stands outside the Guildhall in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, marking the area’s historic reputation as a ‘town of kings’ where up to seven Saxon rulers may have been crowned. Royalty have since moved on to the palaces of Central London, but this ancient market town is now a prime spot for families seeking more space and safe neighbourhoods outside the hubbub of Central London.
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