March 25, 2010
If you tend to think you should work to live, not live to work, then Kingston upon Thames might just be the place for you. Travelling out of London’s stressful city centre you’ll be guaranteed a seat on the morning commute; why not grab a coffee, catch-up on the day’s news, or just relax before you reach the office? Like the sound of going against the flow, then read on…
Lively social scene
As the name suggests, Kingston sits on the bank of the River Thames and has a bustling social scene in the summer months. Pubs and bars line the river, with the charming Boater’s pub, one of Time Out’s ‘hidden gems’ of London, tucked away in Canbury Gardens. And the town’s entertainment credentials don’t stop with the bustling pub and bar scene. Five nightclubs cater for all tastes, and several live music venues including the Grey Horse and The Mill play host to regular open-mike nights during the week.
The modern Rotunda complex houses a large bowling alley, multiplex cinema and choice of international restaurants. And summer picnics at lunchtime are never far from reach, with the Fairfield park just a short stroll from the office.
Shopping to rival the West End
The pedestrianised town centre attracts shoppers from far and wide with hundreds of shops and restaurants, two large department stores and a major shopping centre, The Bentall Centre, at its heart. Whether you’re looking for luxury designer stores, high street favourites, or marketplace bargains, Kingston’s shops feature the best of London without the city hassle. And with late night opening every Thursday, a trip to the shops after work is always on the cards. Not to be missed are the daily fruit market, the renowned Clock’s Sandwiches, or a trip to Harrington’s old-fashioned sweet shop.
A hidden gem for culture vultures
Once the royal stomping ground of ancient Saxon kings, Kingston has not forgotten its cultural and historical roots with the 2008 opening of the Rose Theatre. Recently the host of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ featuring Dame Judi Dench, the theatre has attracted critical acclaim for its past productions, not to mention the Comedy Store nights- a staff favourite. Kingston’s cosmopolitan style hasn’t gone amiss with city urbanites either, who dominate the town and swiftly attracted the sights of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who opened the fashionable Jamie’s Italian in the centre of town.
Convenient transport links leave London Waterloo just 30 minutes away by train, with the trendy hotspots of Richmond and Wimbledon just around the corner. Haven’t heard of Kingston upon Thames before- where have you been?