5 Things I Love About Surbiton

16 years ago...

I can’t help but notice that most of the comments on this site display a certain amount of cynicism and discontent. And that’s fine. The internet exists for people to let off steam and have a good old rant.

But since these comments are going out on the World Wide Web I thought it may be nice to show folk in Sydney or Seattle the positive side to life in our town.

So here’s a challenge. See if you can come up with 5 things you actually LIKE about living in Surbiton.

Let me start you off with my own list (in no particular order):

1. Strolling along Queens Promenade by the Thames on a sunny Autumn day. It feels like I’m on holiday.

2. Taking my 6 year-old into Puccino’s for his tea. The waitresses are lovely and always have time to chat and joke with him.

3. Gordon Bennett’s on Maple Road. Brilliant food. The best.

4. I can enjoy the peace, calm and relative safety of the Queen of the Suburbs, yet be in the heart of London in under 45 minutes.

5. Unlike many other places which are nothing more than ribbon developments following main roads, Surbiton is a ‘proper’ town in a definable space with a central hub, making it distinct from nearby Kingston. And it has a real sense of neighbourliness and community too… if you’re willing to get involved.


Whilst sat in The Press Room having my usual excellent coffee I was considering what type of retailer might occupy the recently vacated suit hire shop opposite. Would it be a new and exciting estate agents or perhaps a charity shop? Well blow me over with a feather! It's a charity shop! I must say it sits well next to the charity shop next door. Does this mean that the 14(?) estate agents will shortly be out numbered by charity shops? In one of the country's (if not the world) most affluent areas, proper shops cannot compete with charity shops or estate agents. What does this mean? Business rates and rent too high? (Charity shops get 80%(?) rates exemption) or are retailers just put off by the scumbag tramp outside the bank.
Strange that amid all the complaints about Waitrose planning to compete with local retailers no-one mentions their charity re-cycling point.
If they opened an estate agency section things could get interesting - your house or flat would 'never knowingly be undersold'! This could lead to a well needed escalation in prices.
Good to hear of the new student accomodation planned for opposite Oceana, along with the three schemes near County hall plus the Kingston (Norbiton) Plaza and others.
Are there any league tables of achievements by our students? They did not get a mention in the top forty list like Imperial College, UCL, Oxford etc and I haven't seen them on University Challenge. Mind you I did overhear a few of them in The Vic debating the benefits of an hour of 'Power Drinking' at 11am to overcome a hangover.

Not to be outdone, the take away food sector is pleased to announce that it is trying to open yet another pizza takeaway in thd ex-csr showroom, around the corner in the St Marks Hill parade of shops.

I thought the council had a policy to prevent shops getting turned into takeaways. Didn't they prevent such a conversion on the Surbiton Rd, Kingston recently?

I am not sure if they did that on Surbiton Road, but they certainly should have the power to do that. Tolworth Broadway is basically just a row of takeway food shops serving the wider area now, and I'd hate to see Surbiton turn into the same.

I can't understand why a delivery company needs a shopfront right outside the exit of one of the busiest train stations in the country if they are just going to be concentrating on deliveries. Surely we can do better than that for that location even in these tough times?

Even in the 'good' times, Surbiton was always full of charity shops and estate agents. The rent and rates are far too high, but the main problem is location - 15 minutes on the train from Central London and 15 minutes walk from Kingston. There are not many retailers that would set up shop in Surbiton even if it was half the price of Kingston (and it's not!).

Eventually, the estate agents will have to shut down as well. Anyone under the age of 40 (and probably most over that age) just use Rightmove anyway, so the agents may as well be holed up in a warehouse in Tolworth ready to meet customers at the property of interest rather than paying a fortune to have a shop on Surbiton high street.

What happens then? We have got all of the coffee chains and a few independents, and there is no real need for any more restaurants because Surbiton's population is moving much more towards families than the dingoes and couples who are likely to eat out more often. It can only mean even more charity shops unless some of the retail space is converted into residential.

Surbiton is a fantastic place to live. My partner and I are in our mid twenties, both work in London but prefer to live away from the hustle and bustle. Surbiton has great transport links, excellent rental accommodation and really friendly bars and restaurants. I recommend the area to everyone and hopefully one day can afford to settle here!!

1. The quick trains to Waterloo, 17mins in the morning and then a short walk to central London

2. Walk along the Thames to Kingston the Queens Promenade is beautiful and well looked after.

3. Such as safe and friendly neighbourhood, Surbiton has a village atmosphere

4. Pressroom cafe, comfortable and a great place to relax with a drink

5. The Victoria Pub, good place to watch the football with a big screen and decent pub garden in the summer.

I must say I do agree with comments below that Gordon Bennett's wine is terrible .I have lived in Surbiton for 8 years and it hasnt improved over time .It is definately a place to avoid in my book.However what has improved is the new Wine Cellar shop with snacks and tables at the end of Victoria Road down opposite the YMCA.It really is a great place to meet people for coffee and cheese .

Have to disagree, i wouldn't exactly call their wine terrible. They have come a long way in the last 2 years and so have their sister pub The Flyer. Their prices seem to have crept up recently but this is good as it seems to have kept out the baby brigade on Saturday afternoons :) (No offense to them but i prefer to drink around adults and not smelly nappies)
No pub will ever cater for the wine buff as everyone's idea of good and terrible differs. People generally prefer to make their own opinions without having to refer to the' under the counter' copy of wine weekly.

Sorry but last month at Gordon Bennetts I was served Red wine warm in a warm glass ,It was clear the glass had come out hot out of a dishwasher ,this is the second time it has happened this summer,The bar wasnt full of families but then neither is the winecellar on Victoria Road.I am not a wine buff ,nor a yummy mummy ,but female in her 30s .There are basic standards you expect being served wine and a hot glass from a dishwasher

You know you could of asked them to change it? They are a friendly bunch as are many pubs Surbiton and they will more often than not let you taste before you buy. I look forward to dropping by the wine cellar some time soon and I hope you don't get a third strike if you ever visit GB's again.


Did you even go to school? You could of... my god grammar overload. Its you could HAVE.

You missed an apostrophe.

You should say "It's" and not "Its". Also, I would have put a comma after the "have" but that is just being pedantic isn't it?...

What a silly comment ~ I love good grammar too ~ but hey ho chill a little!

I don't live in Surbiton but nearby
5 things I love about Surbiton
~ That the old TV series 'The Good Life' was cited as being in Surbiton when it was actually filmed in Northwood (Surbiton wasn't Surbiton enough apparently!)
~ It has a proper high street & still has some independent shops (very rare these days)
~ That it has the last station on the line where you can still use an Oyster card and takes no time at all to be slap bang in the middle of Central London
~ That the pub next door to the station 'The Surbiton Flyer' hosts local bands and good food to eat whilst you are watching
~ That its easy and safe to walk everywhere from the town centre right down to the river walk all the way into Kingston!

Actually, I've just seen how long ago the post I am replying to was posted ~ maybe the weather got him or her down. Now, its 7am and the sun is shining, as it has done for the whole summer!

Btw, great topic!!!

' ' use them well.

Chill out man, have you seen the state of your post? If anyone should have gone to school it should have been you!

yes I have 12 gcses 6 A levels and 2 degrees plus an accountancy qualification ,however that is hardly the point on a quick blog about poor standards of a product at a local wine bar.

Where are your apostrophes? Also, God should be capitalised - presuming you're a monotheist.

I am just one of many whom have had poor service at Gordon Bennett wine bar on Maple Road and happy to tell people

I wish I still lived in Surbiton.

I wish anonymous posters were BANNED.
My inbox gets clogged up with notifications of inane comments.

I wish you would stop posting pointless messages. Nobody actually cares.

Yes bbruce, anonymous posters are annoying. Doesn't take much to register. You don't even have to use a real name. Their grammar arguments are amusing though.

Back on topic, five things I love about Surbiton:
1. After work pizza at Allegro, served by Nesti
2. One of Kalin's pork sandwiches at one of the many crazy summer events (or his burger at the Flyer)
3. Dim sum and other lovely stuff from Amie at Naturally Chinese
4. "Need to get out of the house when working from home" lunch from Three Peas in a Pod
5. Beer and pork products just up the river at Stein's

Notice a theme?

sounds like you work for Gordon Bennetts!,why should we have had to go to the bar to change the glass and wine ,a half decent bar person on handling the glass would have known it was warm,We walked out instead, and wont be going back.
When they become a bit more professional in Gordon Bennetts we will consider it ,but the Victoria is a better pub ,with a nice beer garden ,as is the Wine Cellar now for somewhere to meet, They are v friendly there and dont serve warm wine

I have no personal interest in GB's but am only stating that they made a mistake and you could of easily 'communicated' this to the bar staff. It's quite clear that you have a different excuse each time, first it was the terrible wine, then it was the warm glass and now it's the bar staff!
Even if i did work there I don't think id need to promote or defend this place, as you can see for yourself they are a very popular and successful establishment which certainly doesn't need defending from you.
I suspect you will be back with further abuse about the type of person that drinks there but Ill leave you to it.

1. Riverside location and the feeling of personal space - while technically living in London.
2. Super fast train service to and from Waterloo! I caught a 'flyer' from Waterloo fast to Surbiton in 13 minutes 50 seconds last night.
3. Tranquil Surrey countryside only a few miles beyond the Greater London boundary.
4. Architecture - Victorian, Georgian and Art Deco (station)
5. Can cycle to and around Richmond Park very easily.

some of these anon posts should be deleted

Agreed. Or prevent anonymous posting generally across the site. Perhaps if people could only leave their opinions once registered they'd be more likely to moderate any pejorative comment. I mean, if you're going to bowdlerise your own words with weaselly asterisks you probably should choose a different phrase altogether.

Sorry.....are we talking about the same Gordon Bennett "pub" (note, not wine bar), i.e.:-

1. Owner!!
2. Tables too small
3. The worst wine I have ever paid for in a pub (simple benchmark to All Bar One - would fail).
4. The owner
5. They refuse to make scrambled eggs with breakfast as it is "too difficult to get right"....

Enough said.

You can always push two tables together if you take up a lot of space. And what about the owner? As long as you don't start banging your fists because they won't give you soldiers with your eggies, he's a perfectly reasonable sweet guy.

I am new to Surbiton. Is there parking facilities at the train station to park bicycles and is it safe?

Just before I moved away they brought in a new cycle lock-up...


...but there has always been plenty of bike parking on both sides of the line. As to how safe it is, I've no idea. But Surbiton's a pretty safe place. Having said that, I think that Kingston is a bicycle crime hotspot. Or at least it was.

Kingston always shows as a bike crime hotspot, but I don't think that the stats are particularly scientific. The towns that always come top of this survey are Oxford and Cambridge - there are more bikes stolen there than anywhere else, but there are also many more bikes than in most places!

Say Kingston gets 3 bikes stolen every month from an average of 200 parked in the town, it will come higher than somewhere than gets 1 bike stolen from an average of 5 parked there.

Unfortunately bicycle theft is rife in the Royal Borough of Kingston. Last year (2009) 541 bikes were reported to the police as stolen (451 reported to the Met police and 90 to British Transport Police; i.e. 90 reported stolen from stations). Transport for London's Draft Bike Security Plan shows that Suribiton Station had the worst bike theft record of any station in London. Table 4, page 15 of that report shows 29 bikes reported stolen from Surbiton Station in 2008/09 and 44 in 2009/10 - worse than Euston, Waterloo, Paddington; worse than any rail station in London.

Already in 2010 405 bikes have been reported stolen just to the Met Police, up 23% compared to the same period last year (Jan to Sept).


If you're thinking of leaving your bike at Surbiton station, make usre you use good locks - at least 2 - to deter theft. Do not leave and expensive bike there. Do get your bike marked by the police in case it's stolen and found and recovered, in which case it can be returned to you - but really that's a weak hope. Use good locks and lock your bike frame and the wheels to something solid in a public place.

See also NEWS at www.kingstoncycling.org.uk


(1) Selection of "good" nearby state schools, with good quality of teachers, where kids have an enviroment to succeed IF they choose not to be distracted and put their mind to it.
(2) Residents "educated" enough to be neighbourly, polite and well-mannered (though students can get a bit boisterous ,,, as they do)
(3) Great commuting into London ,,, or overseas
(4) Safe, quiet and lovely just to walk around - riverside, parks and even grand period homes
(5) Even though it's nowhere or nothing "significant", other people have heard of Surbiton, and has a good image and brand (thanks to The Good Life ...) rivalling "Richmond", "Wimbledon", "Brixton" etc. (though not saying that in REALITY Surbiton is of the same level)

Richmond, Wimbledon & Brixton seems a strange set of benchmarks! I could quite see how someone attracted to Richmond might be happy in Surbiton as a cheaper alternative, but Brixton is vey differnet, I would have thought?

I actually find Surbiton's noteriety a bit of a pain. I work in the City and when you tell people you live in Surbiton, they invariably seem to think that is just rows of 30s semis stuck an hour out of London. When they visit and see the predominantly Victorian central area and the river, they are usually very surprised.

I am not sure quite where Surbiton gets it's reputation from. The Good Life portrayed it very much as the 'Southborough' area of town rather than the Victorian centre or the 1930s suburbia of Berrylands. I suppose people just assume it is all like that from the name.

We must perpetuate the "jokey" view outsiders have of Surbiton,it is suburban and thats fine,if we big it up all the yummy mummys from postal London will invade with their revolting offspring and 4X4 vehicles.

I think that is happening already. I live in one of the roads off Maple Road in the town centre. I moved there for the location, but the fact that it is almost 100% flats reassured me that I would not be surrounded by screaming kids.

Five years later, and there seems to be kids living in loads of the flats. Not sure if this is more due to rising house prices or 'incomers', but there has definitely been a change.

I too moved to one of the river roads off Maple Road for the location and peace and quite. One year later...still not a screaming baby in sight, It just goes to show, money can buy you happiness!!!
I wouldn't worry to much about the kids near you, their parents will soon be wanting to move to the outer Surrey sticks to get more for their money and that family home to house their little aliens.
It will be fair well to those North Face jacket wearing, Golf/BMW/Audi driving, Gordon Bennett drinking type......but.... only to be replaced by the new batch straight after. It's not as if i'm complaining, id much rather them then some other riff raff.

God I love Surbiton :)

You might be right, but I think a lot of these new parents like to stay in the area so they can continue their 'Gordon Bennett drinking' lifestyle even though it means putting off that family home for a while longer.

It's rather ironic that The Good Life was filmed in anonymous Northwood!

(1) Village atmosphere full of extremly friendly people
(2) Chez Julien Delicatessen with awsome savory pancakes just as I enjoy when going to France in a traditionnal creperie
(3) Health shop opposite Waitrose
(4) Pices fish and chips
(5) the farmers market, let's hope this will continue for a long time

Having started this thread long ago I'd like to make a revision. Strike Puccino's, nowhere near as friendly as it once was after a culling of staff. Instead add foodie. Lovely coffee and homemade cakes run by a charming couple who are working hard in a recession to make a real go of it.

In no particular order

1. The Lamb. The land Lord has been doing a great job in breathing new life into it.

2. Hotel Bosco’s, A great hotel in the centre of town.

3. Equidistant between Gatwick and Heathrow airports, but without the continuous aircraft noise as in Richmond and Kew

4. The new Farmers Market

5. A really nice, safe place to live

6. Pisces Fish and Chip shop. I thought Super Fish was the best until Pisces opened.

7. Wagon and horses, nice relaxing pub

8. Fantastic walks along the Thames, and over to Hampton Court

9. Generally nice people that look after the area

10. Excellent public transport.

You can be in the heart of London in less than 25 minutes!!

> there is no reason for ever wanting to wear one with the hood up
> unless the weather is really bad or to hide the face

Hmm. Some people look cute in hoodies. That's a great reason for wearing one.

1. Chez Julien Delicatessen
2. Pisces Fish and Chip Shop
3. St. James Cafe
4. Hogsmill River
5. Long Ditton skatepark

Surbiton is the coolest area I have ever lived in. Its is peaceful and full of fun places to go to.
I truly miss the place.

Does the cafe delight at tolworth count?I liked it so much i added it to my blog.
Even though you have to pay for parking.

if the cafe delight at tolworth counts as surbiton, then u might as well count kingston, wimbledon and hampton court as being surbiton!!

Short answer


Tolworth ain't Surbiton (no matter what the estate agents tell ya ;-)

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