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What's Surbiton like?

8 years ago...

Hello all,

my partner and I are about to move to Surbiton, but we're having some last minute wobbles! It's a big move for us and something of a leap in the dark. How would you characterise Surbiton? What are it's pluses and minuses?

We live in central London at the moment (Borough) and have done for 6 years. We're in our late 30s now. Our first little'un was born over christmas and so we're looking for a more family oriented area now, but ideally we want to maintain a bit of London, er, sophistication, or something! We've visited Surbiton a few times and somehow we liked the feeling of it and the scale (compared to, say, Kingston), and as we both work in town there's the excellent train line. It still feels like a long way from our comfort zone though and, in moments of doubt, very er, suburban!

This forum seems to good place to get some honest impressions - whether good or bad - from the horses' mouths!

Thanks in advance!



Judging by the anonymous comments in the Sacuy Kettle thread, Surbiton is now being populated by brain dead Daily Mail bigots.

The fact that both the Saucy Kettle and Gordon Bennett exist within a few hundread yards of each other is testament to what a varied area Surbiton is.

The Saucy Kettle can get a bit lively and a small proportion of it's crowd may be going in there for the wrong reasons but that could be said of a lot of pubs in most areas.

Ooooppps looks like someone forgot to take their meds again?
Now what have we told you about being a good little boy?

@Ionkontrol - yes, that is rather concerning!

Thanks for your comments everyone - your thoughts are very much appreciated!

Yes I should have said that the place in question is central - Arlington Rd just behind Glenbuck. I looked at the Tolworth area and really like the houses down there, but it's a bit less scary for us at the moment to be closer to the station (though naturally we have had to make compromises in exchange).

Hopefully Arlington gets our little one/s into Maple Infants when the time comes, and the park is a short walk away (albeit across the Brighton Rd).

Hotspanners - I think "soul" was the word I was looking for actually, thanks!

Arlington Road certainly is central, a fair bit cheaper than the 'river roads' area off Maple Road and benefits from a very quick walk to the station. The only slight negative might be the train noise, but that does not bother everyone so much.

I wouldn't venture that far into Tolworth if I were you. There are some nice houses down there and it certainly is a lot cheaper than Surbiton proper, but you lose all of the amenities - you won't be able to walk to the station, river or Kingston from there and the local shops/bars aren't really up to much.

I love Surbiton, I have lived here for about 10 years. I have tried to tear myself away and make the move further into London but for me there are too many nice things that want to keep me put for a little longer.
As mentioned earlier there are plenty of nice pubs / restaurants and an amazing river walk into Kingston if you fancy some great shopping. (Although the pubs and food places in Kingston tend to be chains and not so great but still nice to eat and drink by the river) You also have the lovely Richmond and Hampton very close by.
And if you get home sick you can jump on the fast train straight into Waterloo and go visit your old haunts within 20-30 minutes.

There is a big BUT, you mention that you have just become parents and you are late 30s. There is nothing wrong with this but this could be a big part in where you choose to live. People with kids tend to move out of central Surbiton and further up towards Tolworth where you can find more family friendly homes. The problem with this is that you don't have as much on your doorstep and you could feel a little isolated especially coming from where you are now. It's got some lovely charming houses and only about a 20 minute walk into central Surbiton. It would be well worth coming down and checking out the area where you propose to actually buy a house.

Well I hope you manage to make your mind up and you certainly wont be disappointed with these suburbs!

I agree, but increasingly people with kids are moving to/staying in central Surbiton.

Obviously the budget needs to be bigger to buy a family home in the nice part of the centre, but bight no be a problem for someone moving down from a more expensive part of London.

As has already been said it depends which area you are moving too but on the whole Surbiton has some cool pubs (The Lamb in particular), great rail links to town, Kingston and all its shops on you doorstep, it's on the river, it's a short drive/cycle to the Surrey Hills, it has some great restaurants (The French Table should be Michelin starred really) and some choice local shops.

Yes, it's the suburbs but it's got a lot more soul than places like Earlsfield and the crime rate is very low. Ignore what your fancy metropolitan friends say and embrace the suburbs!

It would help to know whereabouts in Surbiton you are planning to live. The area varies greatly from say, Berrylands, which could be described as 'ultra suburban' to the river roads area which is a bit of a younger area with more going on.

A lot will also depend on your point of view. I wouldn't say that Surbiton is particularly sophisticated, but then I wouldn't have said that Borough is either! Different things suit different people.

One thing is for sure, though, and that is that Surbiton is one of the areas of choice when people do choose to move to the suburbs from central London. Ultimately, I guess that a lot of people in this position would prefer Richmond or Wimbledon village, but they are a lot more expensive.

I have lived here for ages, so am probably not the best placed to comment on Surbiton to a ‘newcomer’, but to me it has always had a lovely feel about it – safe and quite quiet, but with a fair amount going on. The local facilities are good, but it is nice to live in a relatively quiet area and still have the amenities of a massive place like Kingston within walking distance.

The riverside walks are nice and there is plenty of open green space but they are quite nicely combined with plenty of coffee shops, pubs and bars and of course that quick train back into London if there are not quite enough!

My only complaint is that the High Street (Victoria Road) feels a bit down at heel for a relatively prosperous suburb. There are plenty of interesting little shops on it, and it was certainly improving rapidly a few years ago, but I can’t help thinking that the recession came at the wrong time for Surbiton and that it could have been much better by now if it had stayed on that course.

Overall, I don't think that you will beat the combintation that Surbiton offers(for the money). Take a trip to slightly cheaper suburbs like Sutton and Bromley and you will really think it is worth paying the difference. Take a trip to more expensive suburbs like Richmond and Chiswick and you might not find quite enough to justify the massive extra expense.

Good luck!

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