Discover – Kingston
I have been a fan of Kingston ever since I first moved to London, almost 10 years ago. I lived in east London, but after a friend recommended the area, I decided to make the journey across town and I’m glad I did. It is closer and easier to get to than you might think: direct trains to Kingston leave from Waterloo every
First stop, you’ll want a coffee. The popular Department of Coffee and Social Affairs has a branch in the centre of Kingston. They know their beans and let you choose your blend when you order. I had no clue that picking your own blends of coffee was a thing, but went for the tropical option which had an interesting taste. A few doors down is another coffee shop, Local Hero. Here you can get your caffeine fix and it does the best breakfast and brunches – it’s worth visiting for the courgette fritters alone!
The Bentall Centre offers all your favourite high-street chains, as well as its own Bentalls department store, which sells everything from beauty products to homewares. The shopping centre hosts regular events, recent ones have included a mini food and drink market, gin sampling and an art pop-up. Just around the corner on Old London Road, you’ll find vintage, antiques and charity shops, an old record store and a tattoo parlour. That Vintage Shop is cute, inside and out, and the prices are good. The fragrance store Jo Malone, off the main square, is one of the most Instagrammable ones I’ve ever seen.
For those interested in discovering a little bit more about the history of Kingston, there are fascinating guided walks every Sunday where you can learn
all about Saxon kings, local heroes and villains, and much more. The tours start from the doors to the Market House in the Ancient Market Place, and cost £5.
Rose Theatre Kingston in the town centre opened in 2008. The theatre is quite relaxed and tickets are reasonably priced. There’s even the option of bringing your own cushion and watching the shows from the floor at the front of the stage – kids love this! I’ve been inspired by every production I’ve seen, so keep an eye out to see what’s on next.
Choose from Thai classics at Busaba Eathai, burgers at GBK or British favourites at Bill’s. If you want something unique, the riverside has gorgeous pubs and restaurants, all with outdoor seating.Kingston also has a few great independent eateries. My favouriteis Poor Boys, which specialises in food inspired by New Orleans. It also does ice-cream floats and great cocktails.
For info on London’s areas, go to www.visit london.com/areas