Filled with history, culture and top schools and located in an enviable position between Richmond Park and the London’s River Thames, Kingston-upon-Thames is an affluent hotspot.
Living in Kingston-upon-Thames: What to expect
Although Kingston was part of Surrey until the 1960s, it’s now classed as Greater London. As such, it’s busy and bustling. However, it still feels like a town and has all the community and amenities you’d need without ever heading into the city
For this reason, Kingston-upon-Thames is perfect for families and commuters looking for a little more space without sacrificing convenience. But with even average property values sitting at more than £630,000 according to Zoopla data, you’ll need a pretty handsome budget to move and live here.
Well-heeled as it might be, improvements are underway in Kingston. Eden Walk Shopping Centre, for example, saw a £400 million redevelopment project signed off in May 2015. The plans will bring 380 new homes, as well as shops, offices and public spaces to the community. There are also proposals to introduce six new cycle paths, to make getting around town easier, greener and safer.
Where to start your property search
Kingston-upon-Thames has four main neighbourhoods set among several conservation areas. Here’s a snapshot.
Kingston Town: With its medieval buildings (and even their historic street plans still intact) much of the old town centre is protected by a conservation order. The newer area is made up of shops and offices, although there are flats and apartments mixed in. If you’re looking to be close to the action and public transport, this is a good place to start your search – though prices are high.
Coombe and Maldens: Located towards the northeast of town, this neighbourhood incorporates Coombe and both Old Malden and New Malden. There are several conservation areas here, including Liverpool Road and Coombe Wood. These are protected for their architecture or heritage.
Known for its multimillion pound mansions, Coombe Hill is where you’ll find the biggest price tags. Properties here are also within the catchment area of The Tiffin Girls’ School, an academy given an ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Surbiton: This predominantly suburban area of Kingston has become increasingly desirable in recent years, due to the ripple effect of rocketing central London prices.
Once a more attainable pocket of the area, average property values in Surbiton have now reached north of the half a million mark. If you have the budget to match, you’ll find streets of handsome Victorian and Edwardian properties here. Look out for hotspots, Surbiton Park and St Matthew’s Avenue.
South of the Borough: Made up of Chessington, Tolworth, Hook and Hook Rise, this area to the south of Kingston-upon-Thames offers a range of more modern properties, many of which date from the 1960s. This area can offer a more realistic starting point or step up the property ladder.
Getting in and around Kingston-upon-Thames
One of the biggest benefits of being part of Greater London is Transport for London (TfL). Classed as Zone Six, trains and buses are many and frequent which makes getting about easy.
Plus, because Kingston is on the Thames, you can also make use of riverboat services. Running to Hampton Court, Richmond and Putney at various times throughout the year, it can be a simple way to avoid traffic.
Train: Getting into London from Kingston is straightforward. South West Trains’ route from Waterloo to Shepperton and Strawberry Hill passes through town, getting you to the heart of the city in 30 minutes.
Car: You can be on the A3 dual carriageway in minutes. Head north and you’ll end up in Southwark, or go south to connect with the M25 – ideal if you want to skirt around London.
Air: You can be at Heathrow Airport in 30 minutes from Kingston on a good run by car, while a 45-minute drive will get you to Gatwick Airport. Most major airlines service one of these two airports, although Ryanair and easyJet are only available at Gatwick.
Things to do in Kingston-upon-Thames
For shopaholics: From well-known brands to quirky independent shops, Kingston will occupy keen shoppers for hours. That Old Vintage Shop has rails of unique vintage items to discover, while Kaleido will keep magpies happy with its handmade jewellery.
From antiques to international flavours, there are also specialist markets held all year round. Our favourite is the Chocolate Visiting Market in spring, where you can get your hands on delicacies from all over the world.
For thrill-seekers: Chessington World of Adventures is right on your doorstep, in Kingston. With classic thrill rides such as Rameses Revenge sitting alongside more gentle alternatives like the Bubble Works, there’s something for all age ranges. Families in particular will love the zoo which is home to tigers, lions, monkeys and lots more.
If you prefer the simple things in life, take a stroll along the banks of the River Thames. There you can watch the wildlife and boats coming and going, before stopping for lunch on the waterfront in the sunshine. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday morning.
For culture-lovers: The arts are at the heart of life in Kingston-upon-Thames, with the Elizabethan-style Rose Theatre playing host to the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Joely Richardson. There are also several art galleries, the Fusion Arts Centre and an annual Performance Arts Festival.
For history lovers: Just over the border in the Borough of Richmond, you can traverse the ages with a trip to Hampton Court Palace. Building began in the 16th century and since then the palace has grown and developed with each of its owners. In fact, it's reportedly haunted by the ghost of Anne Boleyn! The grounds are also extensive, with the world’s oldest maze providing plenty of entertainment.
Check out the Wood and Richard Jefferies Bird Sanctuary which is often overlooked even by locals. Hidden away behind Oakhill Grove, this green space is home to kestrels, great spotted woodpeckers and tawny owls.
5 reasons to live in Kingston-upon-Thames
- A self-contained historic town right on London’s borders
- Great schools
- Bags of history, culture and things to do
- On the banks of the River Thames
- The chance to move out of ‘London proper’ and buy yourself a garden.