Make the move to Kingston upon Thames smart suburban surroundings and you will be following in the illustrious footsteps of England’s most famous monarch, Henry VIII.
Kingston upon Thames: where royal history meets modern suburbia
Steeped in history – it’s here that Saxon kings were crowned – Kingston upon Thames is an ancient market town situated on the leafy banks of the River Thames. Fast-forward 1,000 years and this corner of southwest London has become synonymous with a more modern shopping experience, evolving into a retail hub to rival central London.
Kingston’s royal reputation has echoed through the ages: in 1540 Henry VIII’s most famous residence Hampton Court Palace was completed; around the same time, he established what we know today as Bushy Park – the second largest of London’s eight Royal Parks – as a deer-hunting ground; and since 1965 the town has been situated in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames – the oldest of the four royal boroughs in England.
Kingston has a diverse mix of architectural styles, including Victorian and Edwardian period homes, 1920s and 1930s properties, and contemporary riverside flats built this century. A common feature of the Victorian housing stock is the semi-detached cottage with the main door at the side and an internal layout that positions the staircase in the middle of the property.
For those with big budgets, the Coombe area off Kingston Hill and Coombe Lane West is home to some of London’s most expensive properties, including large, detached houses in big plots. The influx of young professionals into the area has seen high-end flats spring up.
Average property price in Kingston: £773,253 (average flat price: £442,127, average house price: £1,234,464)
Average rental price in Kingston: £386 per week
- Primary: the local primary schools are all Ofsted rated “good” or “outstanding”, including: St Luke’s CofE Primary School, Alexandra Primary School, Fern Hill Primary School, Latchmere School, St Paul’s CofE Primary School and Coombe Hill Junior School.
- Secondary: Tiffin School (boys, ages 11 to 18) and The Tiffin Girls’ School (ages 11 to 18) are highly selective state grammar schools, while The Kingston Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) is selected using catchment area criteria – all three are Ofsted rated “outstanding”.
- Private: there’s a slew of private schools in the area, including: Educare Small School (co-ed, ages three to 11), Park Hill Prep School and Nursery (co-ed, ages two to seven), Holy Cross School (girls, ages four to 11), Rokeby Scholl (boys, ages four to 13), Kingston Grammar School (co-ed, ages 11 to 18), and Canbury School (co-ed, ages 11 to 16).
Things to do
- Shopping: over 300 stores, two large shopping centres, a bustling historic marketplace and a vibrant independent shopping scene combine to make Kingston one of London’s premier shopping destinations.
- Open space: with two Royal Parks – Bushy and Richmond – on its doorstep and wide riverside paths to stroll along, Kingston is a London location with a rural vibe.
- Leisure and the arts: the Rose Theatre is modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on London’s Bankside. The Rotunda Kingston leisure park has an Odeon multiplex cinema, a bowling alley, a David Lloyd gym, and a selection of chain restaurants.
- Road: Kingston is on the A3, which connects with London’s south circular; it’s also just eight miles from the M25.
- Air: Gatwick is a 45-minute drive away, while Heathrow is even closer, taking just 30 minutes by car.
- Train: fast trains from Kingston station (zone 6) whisk passengers to Waterloo in just 30 minutes via Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. Another option is the Victoria service via Clapham Junction, which takes 40 minutes.
- Bus: popular bus routes include: 65 (to Ealing), 85 (to Putney) and 281 (to Hounslow), which take passengers north of the river, while the 406 (to Epsom) and 515 (to Guildford) travel into Surrey.
- River: alternatively, make the most of living on the Thames by hopping on the river bus to central London stops including London Bridge and Canary Wharf.