Having spent the best part of fifteen years living and working in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey I want to share my favourite things to do and see. A beautiful riverside town to visit on a day trip, ideal for all ages, with the River Thames to explore, bustling food market to tempt taste buds, heavenly shopping and unusual landmark features scattered around the town.
Scenic River Thames
I miss sitting along the river bank reading a book, writing an article, but mostly relaxing and enjoying ‘me time’. Watching the swans gracefully glide past, creating ripples across the river. There is something strangely calming about water. I enjoyed many a run along the river path, chasing sailing boats and waving as they pass me, this place has motivated and challenged me – something I am forever grateful for. For a quiet spot along the river try the Surbiton end, near Raven’s Inn, if you prefer it slightly busier stay nearer the Hampton Wick Bridge end where the restaurants and pubs overlook the water. Turk Launches are based here. I have taken boat rides to Hampton Court and Richmond countless times and it is the best way to explore the River Thames and admire the stunning selection of houses, with differing styles, that line the journey. Inexpensive too and has the option of a single, or return trip. http://www.turks.co.uk/
Tempting Food Market
In the centre of town you will stumble across an abundance of stalls, selling dishes from around the world – Kingston Food Market. Overlooked by the impressive clock tower in the centre, stalls include Korean, Jamaican, Japanese, English, Japanese, Swedish Indian, Lebanese – the list goes on. Offering homemade dishes, desserts, freshly made fruit and chai smoothies, to crepes and waffles. I have eaten from nearly every stall, browsing on my lunchbreak most days, apart from the end of the month when I was skint. It was one of the many perks of working in the nearby TUI/Crystal Ski offices being able to support local business traders.
My favourite food stalls and culinary dishes
The melt in the mouth Lamb Shwarma from the Lebanese stall, mouthwatering and delightfully messy.
Oxtail stew, Ital stew in the sweetest coconut sauce and vegetarian sweet potato tomato stew with rice and beans. I usually followed this up with Gizzada, a coconut pastry. Simply divine.
Bulgogi, a type of grilled meat dish, accompanied with noodles from the Korean stall.
Quite simply this is a dream for any shopper. A mixture of well known branded clothes, independent boutiques and bookshops, personalised jewellery, music, gadgets and a whole floor dedicated to food and drink, including a rotating sushi bar.
Quirky features not to miss
Toppling London red phoneboxes, located not far from the train station on Old London Road.
Decking-style sunloungers fitted along the river bank – the perfect place sunbathe, people watch and do absolutely nothing.
Residential mooring houseboats along the river front showcasing mini gardens and signage that change regularly.
Hart’s Boatyard Pub – I can’t even begin to tell you how much I yearn for this place with an outdoor decking area overlooking the river. On Portsmouth Road, Surbiton. https://www.hartsboatyard.co.uk/
How to get there and shortcuts
Kingston-upon-Thames is located in the county of Surrrey, England. 35 minutes direct train ride from London Waterloo. (See this Kingston Town Guide for trains and buses) https://www.inkingston.co.uk/getting-here
Shortcuts: To get to the river there is a walkway by Patisserie Valerie and another by Ultimate Outdoors store near the market place that saves you walking all the way round.
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Disclaimer: All opinions and recommendations included in this article are my personal choice. No affiliation links. Supporting local business and UK Travel trade at a difficult time.