Kingston Area Guide

Kingston or Kingston upon Thames to give it its full title is known locally as just Kingston and also used to be hyphenated until 1965. It was formerly within the county of Surrey but became part of Greater London in the same year that it lost its hyphens and is now a town and a Royal borough, a title conferred by George V in 1927. After the local government reorganisation in 1965, a further royal charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth II to allow Kingston to continue to use the title of ‘Royal Borough’.(Estate agents in Kingston)

Notable as the ancient market town were Saxon kings were crowned – the clue is in the name – the town was granted a charter by King John in 1200. Kingston was the first crossing point of the Thames upstream from London Bridge and still retains a bridge at the same site. Because of the bridge, Kingston had significant importance in the 13th century.

Kingston is home to The Lovekyn Chapel, part of St Mary Magdalene’s collegiate chapel and founded in 1309 by Edward Lovekyn. It is the only private chantry chapel in the UK to survive the Reformation.

The railways arrived in the 1830s and began to transform Kingston with much new building to the south. Kingston has its own permanent barracks which were built in 1875. During the 20th century, Kingston was a big player in the manufacture of military aircraft, home to Sopwith Aviation, later Hawker Siddeley and eventually, British Aerospace. Some illustrious aircraft were designed and manufactured in Kingston including the Sopwith Camel, Hurricane and Harrier Jump Jet but the last factory which was owned by British Aerospace closed in 1992.

10 miles south-west of Charing Cross, Kingston has easy access to Central London. Here you will find one of the biggest retail centres in the UK, and a university developed from the former Kingston Polytechnic.

Kingston has many famous literary connections, it is the setting for the Victorian novel, ‘Three Men in a Boat’ by Jerome. K. Jerome and also features in ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H. G. Wells. Mr Knightly, in the novel ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen, regularly visits Kingston although the narrative never describes his time there.

Kingston has also provided the backdrop for many films and television series and in his early music career, the singer and rock legend, Eric Clapton, spent a lot of time busking on Kingston’s streets.

Property Types in Kingston

Like many areas of London developed by the arrival of the railways, Kingston offers plenty of Victorian and Edwardian homes and also a range of property dating from the 1920s and 1930s, popular because of their spacious rooms and gardens. There are also entry-level flats and apartments in the town centre and the other end of the spectrum, sizeable well-appointed family houses on the Coombe Estate. Kingston is popular with young professionals and consequently has a strong market for luxury flats. Kingston Riverside offers high-end apartments with views over the Thames and Kingston Heights is a mixed-use development with a hotel, affordable homes and private flats.(Estate agents in Kingston)

The average price paid in Kingston over the last year for a detached property was £1,194,669* but most sales in Kingston during the previous 12 months were flats selling for an average price of £378,692. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £667,946. Overall, Kingston’s sold prices were up 67% on the previous year and 77% on the 2017 peak of £657,705. The average monthly rental price in Kingston is £2084*

Demographics in Kingston

There are 176,107 people living in Kingston, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Just over 21% are children or young people under 17 with 65% of this figure of working age, so between 18 and 64 years old. The median age is 36.2 years with Kingston, a popular area targeted by young professionals.(Estate agents in Kingston)

Schools and Colleges in Kingston

There are 35 primary schools in the Kingston area with St James’s Roman Catholic Primary School and St Luke’s CofE Primary School both being awarded ‘Outstanding ‘ratings from OFSTED. Many other primary schools are rated at a minimum level of ‘Good’ with two others receiving ‘Outstanding’ ratings.

The Tiffin School and the Tiffin Girls’ School are both ‘Outstanding’ secondary schools alongside Grey Court School and Esher Sixth Form College. Kingston is also home to Kingston Grammar School, an independent school dating back to 1561 for students aged 11-18 and there is also the private Hampton Court House which starts children at age five and takes them through to sixth form.

Kingston University is renowned for its architecture and art and design courses.

Local Attractions in Kingston

Kingston is one of the greenest locations in London with two Royal Parks close by including Richmond Park, where you can horse ride and cycle. There are several smaller green spaces like Canbury Gardens situated between Lower Ham Road and the Thames. Home to Kingston Rowing Club, the wide pathway beside the river is also popular with fishermen. Over the river lies Bushy Park with some fine architectural features including the Diana Fountain which dates from 1637 and the Baroque style pools at the Upper Lodge Water Gardens.(Estate agents in Kingston)

It would be hard to mention Kingston without referring to Hampton Court Palace, a Grade I listed Royal Palace and home to the Tudor King, Henry VIII. Apart from the historic palace and its collections, there are also 60 acres of beautiful gardens and grounds to enjoy.

For culture vultures, the Rose Theatre opened in January 2008 with the internationally acclaimed Sir Peter Hall as director. It is a nod to Kingston’s heritage and is styled on Elizabethan playhouses where the auditorium is circular. For something a little more contemporary, try the Crack Comedy Club which runs live comedy shows in Kingston and Brixton every week.

Shopping Facilities and Leisure in Kingston

Central Kingston is a retail mecca with a large shopping mall called The Bentall Centre and a smaller 1960s shopping centre called Eden Walk. The high street is also home to many independents and boutiques. The central shopping area in Kingston is fully pedestrianised. Most supermarkets are represented in Kingston with Tesco and Sainsbury near the station and a large Asda. Kingston is also home to two speciality Asian supermarkets called Longdan and Hmart.

An ancient market is held daily in the Market Place with all sorts of stalls selling anything from fish to jewellery. The site regularly hosts visiting markets including a stylish Christmas Market and frequent guest continental markets.

The Rotunda offers a bowling alley, fitness centre and a 15-screen Odeon multiplex cinema and for bookworms, the borough has seven libraries with reading groups at some and IT tuition available.

Because of its situation on the River Thames, a lot of Kingston’s leisure is associated with its riverside location. There are rowing and sailing clubs, and the vast green spaces are home to a variety of golf clubs including Hampton Court Palace Golf Club.(Estate agents in Kingston)

Pubs and Restaurants in Kingston

The exceptional shopping plus its riverside location means that Kingston supports a massive variety of restaurants with new developments such as Riverside Walk only adding to the choice.

Enjoy vegetarian cuisine at the award-winning Riverside Vegetaria, voted London’s best veggie restaurant in 2012. Sample great food and a stunning riverside view at Bills’ or Busaba Eathai where the latter serves Thai cuisine with a lovely courtyard for outside dining in the summer and a stylish interior for when the weather is not so clement.

Hawkers Bar and Grill is an elegant brasserie which offers all-day dining with seasonal British fare and regional beers plus an afternoon tea service.

For a light snack after some serious shopping, the Cakewalk Pattiserie and Coffee House is popular with locals with exceptional service and legendary hot chocolate and brownies.

Upcoming Developments in Kingston

There is a planning application in process for the Cambridge Road Estate with an £800m regeneration fund to target this area and provide around 2,170 new homes plus 114 additional council homes and a new community centre, gardens and play areas.

The council has also approved 101 new homes to be built on small sites dotted throughout the borough; these will be aimed at those currently on the council’s Housing Register and will be set at London Affordable Rent.

The Berkeley Group under the name St George have a brand new development right in the heart of historic Kingston with high-specification one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses with a gym for residents, meeting room, screening room and 24-hour concierge service.

Travel Connections from Kingston

There is a fast service from Kingston station to Waterloo which takes just 30 minutes, or there is the alternative option of travelling to Victoria via Clapham Junction which takes 40 minutes.

Kingston has an exceptional bus network with over 30 routes running to Ealing, Putney and Hounslow amongst other destinations and further afield to Epsom and Guildford.

River buses are another option with services between Kingston and several stations in the capital, including Canary Wharf and London Bridge.

Located 8 miles from the M25 motorway, the London Orbital provides good links to the home counties in all directions, and the A3 connects Kingston to Central London.

Gatwick airport is a 45-minute drive from Kingston, and the X26 bus offers regular services to Heathrow which takes a similar amount of time.

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