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Top 10 things about living in Kingston
Did you know there are a few places around the world called Kingston?
In South Australia I grew up not far from a small beach town called Kingston. I can’t say there was much there other than an overabundance of smelly seaweed. I hope it’s improved.
There is also a Kingston in Jamaica. Unfortunately I know nothing about that one.
Back to Kingston in the UK. Kingston Upon Thames to be exact (and I’m hoping there isn’t more than one) is located in Surrey in the South West of London. A 40 minute train journey from Waterloo (central London) it’s nestled along the River Thames and enjoys views of surrounding parklands (if you’re lucky). At this time of year it’s bustling with Christmas shoppers who scurry from shop to shop, perhaps ignoring the well positioned Christmas lights and decorations adding a real festive feel. Hidden amongst the modern shops is what’s left of the ancient market town where Saxon Kings were crowned, such as the old coronation stone and Clattern Bridge, a 1293 masterpiece still standing strong and carrying guests into and out of the town. If you’re here this time of year stop off at the Christmas Markets for a mulled wine and roast chestnuts.
There are lots of things that I think make Kingston a lovely place to live. In no particular order, here are a few;
1. The Red Telephone Boxes
Yes that famous photo you may have seen filling the stands at tourist shops can be found in Kingston, on Old London Road. It’s actually a sculpture made by David Mach and is officially called ‘Out of Order’.
No I am not referring to a famous pub, although I’m sure there are many pubs in the UK with ‘Swans’ in the title. Along the river frontage is a wildlife reserve for Swans and Ducks. On any one day you will find families strolling along and feeding the birds. It’s a great spot to take the kiddies and some old mouldy bread.
3. Old Market Square
While this area is currently undergoing a revamp at the moment, it’s one of my favourite spots. Carrying on the tradition of the ancient markets, old market square, is where you’ll see the fruit, vegetable, fish and meat markets in action. Arrive in the afternoon and you’ll be sure to bag a bargain as well as enjoy the friendly banter among stall owners. The only day you won't see the markets on is a Sunday.
4. Thames Boat Rides
Something for your ‘to do’ list in summer. A journey by boat from Kingston to Hampton Court takes about 15-20minutes, dependent on where you embark and along the way you can soak up the sights as you make your way towards the famous Hampton Court Palace.
5. Hampton Court Palace
While not officially in Kingston, it is just down the road...A great spot for picnics during summer and ice skating at Christmas time. Many different events are held here during the year and even if you just come for a wander around the gardens it’s well worth the visit.
As well as Bushy Park, the second largest of the capitals royal parks you also have Home Park where descendents of Henry VIII’s deer herd still roam. I’ve wandered through Home Park many times as it is just across the river and a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle.
7. Bike Rides
Being close to the river and within range of a number of parks there are lots of bike paths available. I like the journey from Kingston to Richmond; just make sure your bike has mud guards if you’re cycling in the winter. I didn’t look particularly presentable at the end of a rather muddy bike ride the other week. I do still have to buy those mud guards!
Westfield isn’t the only place to hit the shops for some retail therapy, Kingston is so convenient for all the major high street shops and more. Bentalls, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and the list goes on.
Kingston really has an array of restaurants and cafes. With so many to mention, one of my favourite little cafes right on the river front is Woody's. Most importantly it is not a chain so it actually has atmosphere. It's a cafe with an eclectic mix of furniture and a great menu. You can also try the quiz night on a Thursday.
10. Riverside Cafe
I think this place is a little gem. It’s not the fanciest of cafe’s and it’s definately not a chain. Take a stroll along the Thames Path from Kingston Bridge to Surbiton on a Saturday morning with the paper and stop off for your morning coffee here, you can’t miss it. Not a huge range of food but you can enjoy a nice piece of cake if you fancy it.
So that's Kingston wrapped up in a Top 10, although the list really could go on. If you've never been then do come and visit and if you want some tips let me know, there's always something on in Kingston.
Bye for now.
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Contest Comments » There are 2 comments
Hamish M wrote 9 years ago:
Wow there really are so many things to do in Kingston, an insightful piece Tania
Ann wrote 9 years ago:
I feel that I know Kingston and parts of London very well having followed this blog over the past year. Long may she continue to enlighten me about this beautiful town, where there seems so much to do.