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Opinions on Surbiton

6 years ago...

Hello Surbiton,

Im an art student at Kingston Uni, looking to see what people in Surbiton (residents and visitors) feel about the place and creating a souvenir to capture the real essence of the town. I want to know your favourite places to be, and what you're passionate/hate about surbiton.

Thanks in advance



Thanks to everyone who's commented, its actually been a great help to my research!

Good observational posts.
One negative which is a national problem but particularly relevant here due to the number of cafes is encouraging smoking at outside tables by putting ash trays out.
Passers by or customers entering have to run the gauntlet of the smoke clouds.
At The Press Room when the front by-fold doors were open I saw three non smoking pretty teenage girls dressed up with nicely made up hair sat having a coffee at an outside table. another lady was typing away at her lap top.
Up rocks a slovenly looking cretin who sits at the middle table and fires up a gasper and smoked them all out and they left en masse. His smoke actually blew back into the cafe causing a group of four Far Eastern tourists to retreat back from their front indoor table.
It is unreasonable that non smokers are denied a nice smoke free outside table on a fine day. Why should sensible people who are polite enough to not pollute other people's space get second best treatment.
It is the same as letting a stink bomb off under someone's table. Smokers should smoke where they only contaminate themselves.

"It is unreasonable that non smokers are denied a nice smoke free outside table on a fine day. Why should sensible people who are polite enough to not pollute other people's space get second best treatment."

Because it is a free country (sort of) and you are not forced to sit anywhere where someone smokes.
It would be same if someone rocked up stinking of BO or piss. I not particularly keen on secondhand smoke, but until the government ban it, you will have to lump it I'm afraid.

Totally agree. I am a non-smoker myself, and love the fact that smokers can no longer sit inside smoking, but I'd not ban them from doing it outside!

Best avoided nowadays,too many bars and coffee shops which attract weirdos both day and night.

I think that McDonald's decision to make Surbiton one of the pilot 24 hour branches has caused a lot of problems and not brought any benefits to people who actually live here.

I haven't seen that many 'weirdos' in the coffee shops (no more than anywhere else anyway), but a few of the bars/pubs have become a bit more 'lively' at chucking out time. It does seem that Surbiton's nightlife has begun to attract people in from other areas which is a big turnaround from a few years ago when it seemed most people who actually lived here would go elsewhere for a night out! This obviously has advantages and disadvantages.

I actually think that the so-called nightlife in Surbiton is one of it's appeals. Nothing ground breaking, of course, but there is a nice variety of pubs to suit most tastes and some ok restaurants. It is generally pretty safe and unintimidating and it is nice to be able to walk home after a nice meal out rather than bother with the train. The downside is that there doesn't really seem to be a price difference between here and London for food and drink prices

The fact that the YMCA is a halfway house full of dubious individuals sitting outside, I always give them a very wide berth. Also the Big Issue seller smiling sweetly outside Waitrose. She has a phone tucked into her scarf (how can she afford the contract I wonder). Surbiton is not the place it used to be.

That's true, but a bit of a 'glass-half-empty' view. Unfortunately, the UK isn't the place it used to be and Surbiton can't escape that. A lot of things haven't changed much, and a lot of things are better.

The pubs are much improved. Most of the bad ones have closed - Rat & Parrot, Corkys, Railway Tavern. Others have turned into much improved versions of their former selves - Surbiton Flyer, Saucy Kettle. The good pubs continue to thrive.

Similarly the cafes and restaurants are pretty good for a small town - French Table, French Tarte, Da Lucio are all good independents. People don't often like the big chains like Pizza Express and Zizzi, but these are the type of places that Surbiton struggled to attract 10 years ago because of it's proximity to Kingston.

The YCMA is a problem and I have noticed the spread of the 'inmates' as far as Claremont Gardens. They do feel threatening in an otherwise quiet town, but if they keep themselves to themselves (and their K cider) it is not a massive problem for me.

In answer to the original question, I love the area because of it's quiet feel whilst being so close to central London on the train. If you sit on the balcony at Harts Boatyard and watch the sun go down, it is hard to believe you are in suburban London at all sometimes. If you fancy something different, a pleasant 15 minute walk along the river will take you to the centre of Kingston and you definitely know you are back in suburban London then!

Thanks very much! I'm glad that you have an overall positive view of Surbiton and its been really helpful to see a more cheerful approach to the town.

You do have to remember that the reason most people come on forums such as this is to have a good moan, so you will get a much more negative view here than you would in the real world. My impression is that most people are actually quite happy with Surbiton and what it offers.

Yeah, I definitely have gathered that. Its a nice place to live, but I wanted a sense of the other side of it too. So the comments that are having a 'good moan' have been equally useful.

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