Kingston Upon Thames is a former old market town just 10 miles south of London situated on the river Thames. It is in the county of Surrey and was originally where the Saxon kings were crowned. Kingston is located in zone 6 of the London transport network, with 4 trains an hour from London Waterloo. It is well worth a trip out to visit here are some of attractions to see.
The Rose Theatre built in 2008 was a welcome addition to Kingston. There are constantly new shows taking place and with its modern seating, kids can get really up close to all the performers. Tickets can be bought through the box office or online.
Between April and October, the Turk Launches and Parr Boat Hire operate services between Kingston, Hampton Court and Richmond. You can also hire out boats for private functions.
Kingston has numerous parks within a few miles of the town centre Canbury Gardens is located north of Kingston bridge, (right in town) along the Thames and has a wide riverside path which is also used for the 10km Richmond Riverside run. Bushy Park which is the second largest of the Royal Parks is just over the river, on the Hampton Wick side. Richmond Park is situated off of Kingston Hill and is listed as Grade 1 on the English Heritage Register. It is also home to 750 fallow and red deer. Wimbledon Common is also easily accessible from Kingston.
Kingston is a great place to eat out. There is a wide selection of restaurants including Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Wagamama, Strada, Freres Jacuques, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nando’s as well a number of pubs that serve traditional British food. Since the development of Charter Quay, there are many restaurants overlooking the river, which is very pleasant in the warmer months.
Kingston is one of the best shopping towns outside of central London. The Bentalls Centre is a shopping mall that was built in the mid 1990s and includes some of the most well known high street shops such as Apple, Zara, H&M, Esprit. At the far end of the centre, there is the Bentalls department store which has concession stands of some of the higher end fashion such as Coast, Miss Sixty and Phase Eight as well as English china and souvenirs.
The market is open every day except Sunday (and for some stalls Monday too) and sells fruit, vegetables, fish and meat much cheaper than in the supermarkets. If you head down towards the end of the day there will be an even bigger discount as the traders are unable to sell the goods the following day. At Christmas time, there is a German market selling mulled wine, frankfurters and Christmas gifts.
The Ram on the river front has a large back garden overlooking the Thames. The Slug and Lettuce is in the new development of Charter Quay right by the river. The Pavilion faces on to the Thames and is a perfect location on warm summer’s day. Those wishing to have some cheaper drinks, can head to the Wetherspoons just across the road from Oceana.
There are many clubs in Kingston, one of the most well known in Oceana. With more than 6 different themed rooms and music, you will never run out of rooms to visit and dance in. Essence is a night club on the river, with one main dance floor, Saturday night is R&B and Garage. It is free to enter before 10pm, £10 after. The Hippodrome in Kingston is the newest club in the area, with 3 different theme nights throughout the week.
Kingston is full of history, it was where the Saxon kings were crowned and the coronation stone is now situated by the Guildhall. It is also home to one of the oldest bridges in the UK, the Clattern bridge which runs over the River Hogsmill joining the Thames. Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII lived is just over Kingston Bridge and in winter the front garden holds an ice rink making it a picturesque setting.
When you are next in London, take a day trip to Kingston Upon Thames. It is only 30 minutes from Waterloo. It has everything you could want in a town without the hustle and bustle of London.