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A Comprehensive Guide to Kingston London: Best Things to Do in Kingston

Kingston upon Thames, located in southwest London, offers a blend of historic charm and modern attractions. This guide highlights the best things to do in Kingston, explores educational institutions, and provides insights into living in Kingston London. Discover what makes Kingston a vibrant and inviting destination!

Where is Kingston London?

Kingston upon Thames, often just called Kingston, is a lively town in south-west London, part of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It’s located along the scenic River Thames, about 12 miles from Central London. A train ride from Waterloo Station to Kingston takes around 28 minutes, with trains operated by South Western Railway.

Kingston is in Travelcard Zone 6, making it convenient for commuting. The postcodes for Kingston upon Thames are KT1 and KT2, which cover areas like Canbury Gardens, Coombe Hill, Kingston Gate, Kingston Town, Norbiton, and Tudor. The borough also includes New Malden, Surbiton, parts of Worcester Park, and some other nearby areas.

Where is Kingston London?

What is Kingston UK Known for?

Historic Market Town

Kingston upon Thames is an ancient market town, formally incorporated in 1441. It has a rich history, notably as the coronation site for several Saxon kings, including Athelstan, the first King of England. The town’s historic market continues to thrive, offering a variety of goods and local produce. The market square, with its traditional stalls, provides a lively atmosphere and a glimpse into the town’s medieval past.

Key Hub in London

Kingston became part of Greater London in 1965 with the creation of the modern borough. It is recognized as a metropolitan centre in the London Plan and is one of the largest retail centres in the UK, drawing 18 million visitors annually. This transformation has made Kingston a key economic and cultural hub within London.

Shopping Destination

Kingston is famous for its shopping facilities, especially the Bentall Centre, which features over 75 stores. The town offers a mix of high street brands and independent shops, providing a comprehensive shopping experience. The historic market square enhances the shopping appeal with its vibrant stalls and local vendors, making Kingston a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Thames Riverside

Kingston boasts a scenic riverside along the Thames, perfect for picturesque walks and various boating activities. The riverside area is lined with charming pubs, restaurants, and cafes, offering great spots for relaxation. Events like the annual Dragon Boat Race make the Thames a focal point for community gatherings and activities.

kingston london

Kingston University

Kingston is home to Kingston University, which adds to the town’s lively student population. The university is known for its wide range of courses and strong focus on research and innovation. It plays a significant role in the local economy and cultural life, hosting various public events, lectures, and exhibitions that enrich the community.

Affordable Living

Kingston is considered an affordable place for those working in London or students attending local universities. It offers excellent transport links, with a 28-minute train ride to Waterloo, making it convenient for commuters. The town combines suburban charm with urban amenities, making it an attractive and practical choice for residents looking for a balanced lifestyle.

Things to Do in Kingston London or Nearby

Shop at Bentall Centre and Nearby Gems

Kingston is one of the best shopping spots outside central London. The Bentall Centre offers a wide range of high street chains, as well as its own Bentalls department store. The centre regularly hosts events and pop-ups like mini food and drinks markets, gin sampling, and art exhibitions. Just around the corner on Old London Road, you’ll also find quirky vintage, antiques, and charity shops.

Walk and Dine Along the Riverside

Kingston’s riverside is perfect for a scenic walk along the Thames. You can enjoy picturesque views, watch boats pass by, and take in the serene atmosphere. Numerous restaurants and cafés line the river, offering diverse dining options with stunning waterside views.

Experience the Rose Theatre Kingston

The Rose Theatre, located in the town centre, is a modern venue that opened in 2008. It’s known for its relaxed atmosphere and reasonably priced tickets. Unique seating options include watching shows from the floor at the front of the stage, which kids particularly enjoy.

Visit the “Out of Order”

“Out of Order” is a playful public art installation by David Mach, featuring a domino effect of Britain’s iconic red telephone boxes. Installed in 1989, it has become one of Kingston’s most recognizable landmarks. The installation delights both locals and tourists, providing a quirky and amusing addition to the town’s cultural landscape.

Out of Order

Unwind in Canbury Gardens

Canbury Gardens is a beautiful riverside park in Kingston, offering playgrounds, tennis courts, and a café. It’s a great spot for families to enjoy outdoor activities, picnics, and leisurely strolls along the river. The park’s scenic setting and well-maintained facilities make it a popular choice for locals and visitors alike.

Explore Kingston Market

Kingston Market is a vibrant market square where you can experience fresh produce, street food, and local crafts. The market’s lively atmosphere and diverse offerings make it a great place to explore, shop, and enjoy delicious food.

Visit the Historic All Saints Church

All Saints Church is a historic site in Kingston, known for its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere. It offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling town centre, with its impressive stained glass windows and intricate stonework.

Discover Hampton Court Palace

The beautiful Hampton Court Palace is about a 30-minute walk from Kingston’s town centre. The palace is stunning, especially when walking around the gardens on a summer day. It also hosts the annual RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, perfect for those who struggle to get tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show. The palace’s rich history and magnificent architecture make it a must-visit.

Explore Bushy Park

The picturesque walk to Hampton Court Palace takes you through the gorgeous Bushy Park, home to red and fallow deer families. The park offers vast green spaces, beautiful gardens, and tranquil ponds, making it ideal for picnics, leisurely walks, and wildlife spotting. It’s a perfect escape into nature within easy reach of Kingston.

Venture to Richmond Park and Ham House

Richmond Park and Ham House are within walking distance of Kingston town centre and are well worth a visit. Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks, is famous for its herds of deer and expansive landscapes. Ham House, a historic 17th-century mansion, offers beautifully preserved interiors and stunning gardens. Both locations provide a rich blend of natural beauty and historical interest.

Universities in Kingston or Nearby

Kingston University London

Kingston University London offers a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses for UK and international students. Renowned for its strong industry links, the university provides sector-leading Future Skills teaching to give students a competitive edge in the workplace. In the 2024 Guardian University Guide, Kingston University ranked in the top 10 for seven subjects and among the top 60 overall. With a multicultural environment and an acceptance rate of 20-30%, the university fosters an inclusive learning experience. Situated in Kingston upon Thames, it combines a vibrant campus life with easy access to London’s opportunities.

Kingston University

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

St Mary’s University, Twickenham is a public university located in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, South West London, with a mission rooted in the Catholic Church’s values in higher education. The university is renowned for its programs in sport, health, and education, offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London, is located in Egham, Surrey, just a short drive from Kingston. It offers a broad range of courses with particular strengths in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The university is known for its picturesque campus and high-quality education, attracting students from around the world.

University of Roehampton

The University of Roehampton, located in Roehampton, London, near Kingston, is renowned for its beautiful campus and supportive learning environment. It has a highly international student body, with 8,000 students from 110 different countries. While teacher training is a historical strength, Roehampton is also highly regarded for its programmes in Dance, Biological Anthropology, Drama, and English Literature.

Is Kingston London a Nice Area to Live?

Yes, Kingston London is as an attractive residential choice due to its affordability, excellent transport links to central London, quality education options, and abundant amenities catering to diverse lifestyles.

Relatively Affordable Living

Kingston offers a range of housing options at more competitive prices compared to central London. Rental costs for a one-bedroom apartment in Kingston average around £1,750 per month, significantly lower than central London’s £2,100 average. Property prices also reflect this affordability, making homeownership more accessible to families and young professionals.

Easy Access to Central London

Kingston’s proximity to central London, just 12 miles southwest, ensures convenient transportation options. Commuters benefit from a direct 28-minute train ride to Waterloo Station, a major hub in London. This connectivity makes it feasible for residents to work or study in central London while enjoying the quieter, suburban lifestyle Kingston offers.

Educational and Amenities Hub

Kingston is renowned for its educational institutions, notably Kingston University, which attracts a diverse international student body of 8,000 from over 140 countries. The area boasts excellent primary and secondary schools, enhancing its appeal to families. Amenities include the Bentall Centre, a premier shopping destination, and picturesque riverside parks offering recreational spaces and cultural events.

kingston town centre

Student Accommodation in Kingston or Nearby

You have a variety of student housing options in Kingston, providing excellent choices for accommodation in London.

iQ Kingston

iQ Kingston, established in 2015 and refurbished in 2016, offers stylish student accommodation in Kingston upon Thames. En-suite rooms and studios are fully furnished with amenities, including communal spaces, gym, and proximity to Kingston University campuses and amenities.
iQ Kingston

Bright House

Bright House offers 54 fully furnished student rooms in Kingston, conveniently situated near Kingston University and the town center. Residents can choose between Classic and Premium rooms, each equipped with en-suite bathrooms. The shared flats include communal living spaces and kitchens with amenities like TV screens. All-inclusive rent covers high-speed internet and laundry facilities.

ViBe Student Living

ViBe Student Living Kingston offers stylish student accommodation near Kingston University and St Mary’s University. With en-suite and studio apartments, it combines sophisticated design and comfort. Opened in 2017, it’s a short walk from the town centre and provides easy access to central London via nearby train stations.

Tribu Kingston

Tribu Kingston offers luxurious student accommodation in Kingston upon Thames, fostering a vibrant community for socializing and collaboration. Located near London with excellent transport links, including mainline train stations and buses, it provides easy access to both city attractions and airports. Close to Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road campus, Tribu features modern apartments with varied styles and sizes, equipped with kitchens and en-suite bathrooms. Amenities include a rooftop terrace, private dining room, communal kitchen, and a private cinema.

Quebec House

Quebec House is a modern student accommodation in Kingston, London. Established in 2012, it offers five types of studio apartments featuring ample storage, small double beds, spacious study areas, and private bathrooms. Conveniently located near restaurants, shops, and bars, the facility includes amenities such as an elevator, laundry room, study area, communal corridor, and complimentary bicycle storage services.

Kingston Plaza

Kingston Plaza offers convenient London student accommodation near Kingston town centre, with quick access to Central London. Ideal for students from Kingston University, St Mary’s University Twickenham, Roehampton University, and Richmond University, it features thoughtfully designed studio apartments tailored for modern student living.

Where to Book Student Accommodation in London?

uhomes.com simplifies the search for London student housing in Kingston and other sought-after locations. Offering a wide range of listings, expert guidance, and user-friendly filters, uhomes.com ensures an effortless booking process for students seeking accommodation in the city.


Transport Guide for Kingston London

Transport Links

Kingston station is a pivotal transport hub in South West London, providing easy access across the capital. Located in Zone 6, it offers direct services via South Western Railway to central London destinations like Waterloo, taking around 25 minutes. With frequent bus routes linking to nearby areas such as Richmond and Wimbledon, as well as proximity to major roads like the A3, Kingston ensures convenient travel options for residents and commuters alike.

Proximity to Key Areas

  • London Landmarks: Kingston is surrounded by cultural landmarks. A short walk leads to Richmond Park, a green oasis famous for its deer herds and scenic trails. For history lovers, Hampton Court Palace, a royal residence renowned for its Tudor architecture and gardens, is within easy reach by bus or car.
  • Business Districts: Kingston benefits from its close proximity to Wimbledon (20 mins by bus), a vibrant commercial area with corporate offices and shopping centres. The area also offers convenient access to Heathrow Airport (30 mins by car or bus), ensuring seamless travel connections.

Kingston London FAQ

Kingston upon Thames experiences a temperate maritime climate with mild winters and warm summers. Average temperatures range from 2°C in winter to 25°C in summer. Rainfall is consistent throughout the year, making for pleasant, moderate weather ideal for enjoying the town’s riverside location and outdoor activities. Snowfall is rare and usually light.

The London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, commonly referred to as Kingston, is one of the 32 boroughs that make up Greater London. It is located in the southwest part of the city and is known for its rich history, vibrant town center, and beautiful riverside.

Old London Road Kingston is a vibrant and historic street in Kingston upon Thames. Known for its mix of quirky shops, vintage stores, and unique attractions, it is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. One of the notable features of Old London Road is the “Out of Order” art installation by David Mach, which consists of a series of red telephone boxes tipped over like dominoes, adding a distinctive character to the area. The street is also home to a variety of antique shops, cafes, and small businesses, making it a lively spot for shopping and exploring.

Kingston upon Thames is a town in southwest London, part of the Greater London area. It became a London borough in 1965 and is located 12 miles from Central London. While it has suburban characteristics, it is not strictly a suburb but a significant metropolitan centre within Greater London.

Kingston is one of London’s safest boroughs. As of June 2024, the annual crime rate in the Kingston upon Thames postcode area is 24.3 crimes per 1,000 people. This rate is 69% lower than the national crime rate. Violent crime accounts for 29.1% of all crimes reported in the area.

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