Other people's opinions of Surbiton

15 years ago...

I have lived in Surbiton for years and have always loved the place. I am constantly amazed by the low opinion that everyone seems to have of Surbiton. I was out in London drinking on the weekend and the subject came up. People generally fell into 3 distinct groups:

1. Those who came from outside London did not like Surbiton because it was part of London. They picture it as a place with no green space, lots of violence and pollution.

2. Those who came from London 'proper' did not like Surbiton because it is too far out in the sticks. They picture it as somewhere with no facilities and a 1 hour train ride into central London.

3. Those who have never been to Surbiton, but hate it because it's name suggests it is a made-up place out of a 70s sitcom.

I live in Surbiton because I like to live somewhere with a short commute to London and endless facilities (ok mainly in Kingston!) on my doorstep whilst feeling to safe to walk around and have easy access to plenty of open green space. I cannot think of many places that offer this 'best of both worlds' combination. Surely this must be a relatively sought after set of benefits?


Just had a browse through some Twitter comments about Surbiton, and there are some more strange views:

1. A link to a Daily Mail article where the writer visits Surbiton, and cannot believe how 'Middle England' it is. He cites a message that asks 'briefcases to be left at the door' and a lady who can't abide by baseball caps as being 'classic Surbiton'.

2. Several opposite views - 'Surbiton is full of weirdos', 'I hate Surbiton' etc.

Am I alone in not seeing these as dominating factors in many years of living here? Sure, Surbiton does have certain old fashioned middle class features (which I like), but I certainly would not say they are the first thing I notice. It is no more noticeable than in Esher, Wimbledon or anywhere else around here, but I suppose that they do not have the name to latch onto.

Equally, weirdos and chavs do exist here, but not in any greater numbers than most other towns I have been to.

I am sure that both groups of detractors just have to find something to label Surbiton with, even if in reality it is just a nice, normally balanced town with the added advantages that have been highlighted on this thread.

Wow! It's great to finally find a positive thread on this site. Yes, Surbiton is a great place to live, isn't it.

I agree: Surby is a great place - I like the proximity to the river, the bars in Maple Road, the station, &cycling downhill......

true, Surbiton rocks, only if there where more opps for first time buyers...

I agree. Surbiton will always be a relatively expensive place due to all of the advantages extolled on this thread, but this has been compounded by the recent boom in prices.

Whilst Surbiton is expensive compared to areas further out of London, it is very cheap for second time buyers moving out of Clapham/Wimbledon etc. They can easily trade their flat in for a £500k terraced house down Cleaveland Road, where as local first (and second) time buyers would not be able to.

If the current fall in prices continues, these people are likely to be able to afford to stay in Clapham/Wimbledon and this should make Surbiton property quite a bit more affordable.

I lived in Islington, N1 for years and my move to Surbiton last year was the best thing I ever did. Now I spend my weekends walking by the river or cycling in Richmond Park, or just enjoying a cold beer at one of the dozens of pubs and restaurants along the portsmouth Road into Kingston.
I don't go to sleep at night to the sounds of muggings and parades of drunken kids outside my window, don't come out of my front door to find gangs of hoodies lurking, and I don't have to stand and watch half a dozen buses sail past without stopping in the morning whilst I'm trying desperately to get into work. My commute is actually quicker now from Surbiton to Monument than it was from Islington. I can actually drive places after work instead of finding every road one way or no entry or subject to a congestion charge, or more usually just gridlocked....

Surbiton is a gem of a place, and like the other poster said it would be nice to keep it as a well kept secret, so I just laugh when people react as though we're living in Ledbetter-ville!

People who think it takes an hour to get to central London from here are nuts. The slowest train from Surbiton to Waterloo is 28 minutes! Friends who live in Zones 1 or 2 and I have been out in London, gone our separate ways around 12:30 and I always make it home before them!

That being said, I am looking to move into Central London but not because I dislike Surbiton by any means.

Surbiton is Fab,
I'm not too upset that others haven't found it. Keep it a lovely little secret, might avoid the 'gentrification'.
I like the mix of the area and proximity to london/kingston and the lovely Surrey countryside.

I think you are right - the only problem for me is that no-one seems to consider Surbiton a secret. Everyone thinks they know the place but usually have never been here!

It is surprising how often people vhange their opinions when they actually come here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

By posting content on Surbiton.com, you agree to adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Your username and password must only be used by you, keep them safe. If a posting is made using your username and password it will be considered to have been posted by you. If you have a friend who wants to use our site and post messages on the site, show them how to register.
  • Be courteous at all times, inciting racial hatred, posting abusive, obscene, threatening, harassing, defamatory, libellous or sexually explicit material or any material that is found to be offensive is not acceptable and we may suspend your username and password.
  • Retaliating to offensive posts causes more problems for other users on the discussion boards. Just report such messages to us using the Feedback link which is available at the top of every page or the 'report this' link associated with individual postings. We will act on every report we receive.
  • Please respect other people's work and do not post material that infringes copyright.
  • Do not post information that you know to be confidential or sensitive or otherwise in breach of the law. You should only post material that you know to be public knowledge. If you have any doubts do not post it on the site.
  • Never attempt to gain unauthorised access to any area of the site. This is known as hacking and is illegal.
  • Content posted represents the opinions of the author, and does not represent the opinions of Surbiton.com or its affiliates and has not been approved or issued by Surbiton.com. You should be aware that the other participants are strangers to you and may make statements which may be misleading, deceptive or wrong.
  • Spoofing or posing as another user is unacceptable. Anonymous users' postings should always be considered with suspicion.
  • Help keep Surbiton.com a safe place for information and opinion. Please alert us of any anti-social behaviour as described above.
Please note that Surbiton.com does not monitor the comments posted and we are therefore reliant upon users reporting antisocial behaviour.