Where to live in London – Kingston Upon Thames area guide

Kingston Upon Thames area guide

Kingston Upon Thames is a bustling suburb with a rich cultural tradition and shopping to rival central London just 12 miles away. Once an ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned, it is the second smallest London Borough after the City of London and one of only four Royal Boroughs in England and Wales.

Living in Kingston

With its leisure facilities, restaurants and relaxed café scene, Kingston is ideal for students, families and anyone who is young at heart. It has one of the most scenic stretches of the River Thames, with walks and cycle routes to nearby Hampton Court and Richmond.

Top five Kingston features

  1. Riverside location. With three miles of the picturesque River Thames to enjoy, Kingston is perfectly placed for weekend walking, running or cycling, as well as relaxing at the many riverside pubs and restaurants
  2. Retail heaven. Kingston is the UK’s seventh largest retail centre, with modern and historical locations including the Bentall Centre, John Lewis, Eden Walk, Market Place, Old London Road and the High Street
  3. Transport connections. Only 25 minutes to London Waterloo, eight miles to the M25 and 12 miles to the centre of London
  4. Educational excellence. Kingston is home to a leading London university, with its campus and building set in and around the centre. As well as the university, Kingston boasts a wealth of high performing schools for all ages
  5. Safe living. Overall, Kingston has one of the lowest crime rates in London

The best of Kingston

  • The Rose Theatre. Modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on London’s Bankside, this 900 seat venue has a circular auditorium
  • The Rotunda. Choose from cinemas, restaurants, ten pin bowling and more in this impressive entertainment complex
  • Kingston guided tour. Find out more about the town with tours, every Sunday for just £3.00
  • Town Centre. Explore an impressive mix of boutiques, high street stores and Kingston’s historic market centre
  • Thames riverside. Relax, feed the swans and enjoy the view as the Thames ebbs and flows past

Time out in Kingston

  • Crack Comedy Club. A regular stop for stand-up comics from the UK and around the world
  • Kingston is home to the Thames Sailing Club and the Kingston Rowing Club
  • Jamie’s Italian. Famous dining perfectly located near the river and the Rose Theatre
  • Riverside Vegetaria. According to the Vegetarian Society, ‘Britain’s best vegetarian restaurant’
  • The Grey Horse and Ram Jam Club. Have a drink, see all sorts of live music, enjoy comedy and the latest movies
  • Cappadocia. Authentic Turkish cuisine in this restaurant that’s handily opposite the station and our office
  • The Druid’s Head. This Market Place pub was one of the first taverns to make the famous dessert ‘syllabub’ in the 18th century, and its long history can be sensed at every turn of its quirky layout. It’s relaxed, friendly and highly recommended for ale lovers


  • Hogsmill Valley. The Hogsmill River winds along its valley through a mix of urban countryside, wide grassy paths and open fields until it reaches the Thames in Kingston. The Clattern Bridge by Kingston’s High Street is one of the oldest in the south of England
  • Canbury Gardens. This spacious, leafy park is an easy walk from Kingston town centre and situated between the Thames and the Lower Ham Road. It has a wide riverside pathway and gardens, and is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking
  • Richmond Park. The largest of London’s Royal Parks is also Britain’s second largest urban walled park and is said to be three times the size of New York’s Central Park. Charles I ordered the land to be enclosed in 1637, but granted pedestrian right of way and the easiest access for residents is via Kingston Gate, within the boroughs’ boundary. The park boasts plenty of wildlife, including 600 deer
  • Bushy Park – This broad, historic park can be found just to the north of Hampton Court Palace

Education in Kingston

Widely renowned schools and colleges are a major incentive for families moving to Kingston.

  • Kingston is renowned for excellent primary education, provided by 34 schools (infant and junior), of which 14 are church schools, ten are secondary schools and 14 are private schools
  • Burlington Grammar, Tiffin Grammar, Tiffin Girls’ School and Kingston Grammar are just a few schools that attract families into the area
  • Kingston University is said to attract more applications than any other university in London

Local Kingston facts

  • Kingston is widely believed to mark the end of the 184 mile long Thames Path, which runs along both sides of the river. However, explorers can continue along one side of the river to its source in Gloucestershire
  • Saxon Kings were all crowned at The Coronation Stone, located just outside Kingston’s Guildhall
  • Famous HMV dog Nipper was buried in Kingston under the site of the current Lloyds TSB. Nipper Alley, next to the Kings Tun, was named after him
  • The ‘Born Too Soon’ charity was established in Kingston Hospital and supports babies who need Neonatal ward care
  • Famous Kingston University alumni include footballer Graeme Le Saux, musician Eric Clapton and author Nick Hornby


Kingston has excellent links to central London, and easy access to the A3 and M25. Trains go directly to London Waterloo from Kingston or Norbiton stations, taking from 25 minutes. London Victoria is just 40 minutes away, with a change at Clapham Junction.

The roads can be avoided with peak time river buses from Kingston and Hampton Court to Richmond, Putney and Westminster.


Kingston has an exceptional bus network, with a regular service provided by more than 40 routes. Kingston has three bus stations that enable easy travel to south west London (57 to Streatham) and into Surrey (406 to Epsom and 515 to Guildford). There is also a 24 hour service to London Heathrow Airport that takes 40 minutes 

Property in Kingston

Kingston has a broad mix of architectural styles, from modern developments to Edwardian, Victorian and 1920s/1930s houses. Properties range from entry level flats in the centre to expensive family homes in the Coombe Estate. The last decade has seen change in the landscape with an increase in one, two and three bedroom apartments to accommodate young professionals

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