Your Kingston Destination Guide
05 January 2018
Starting university can be daunting enough, never mind when it involves moving to a new city and living independently for the first time. At aparto, we believe in helping you make the smoothest transition possible, from promising college student to successful, capable adult.
As well as creating the student communities that really do feel like home, we like to go that bit further and help you find your feet in your new city. With aparto, you’ll never have to worry where the nearest supermarket is, where to take your mum for lunch when she comes to visit, or where the coolest nightclubs are – we’ve got you covered.
Kingston’s Arbury Court apartment building enjoys all the benefits of being part of the big city, whilst retaining the charm of a town steeped in history. It doesn’t matter whether you love to go out for a few cocktails or your idea of a good time is a long riverside walk, Kingston has something to suit everyone.
When it comes to settling into your new home, aparto’s stylish rooms, cleverly designed common rooms, and door-to-door bus service means you have nothing to worry about at home. That leaves you free to get out and explore all the exciting things that your new city has to offer. To help you get started, we’ve used our insider expertise to create a few guides to Kingston for new students.
Guide to the Area
Once you’ve moved all your things into your new room and made it feel like home, you’ll probably want to get out and explore your new area. Kingston is a thriving area of London that perfectly combines a rich heritage with the trappings of a stylish modern borough. Granted the royal charter in 1208, Kingston was once the site where new kings were crowned. It is also home to Henry VIII’s splendid Hampton Court Palace, which is set in acres of landscaped gardens.
As well as a legacy of royal glamour, Kingston has all the benefits of a modern borough, with beautiful pubs perched on the banks of the river, cuisine from all over the world, and some great shopping. Getting settled in a new area takes more than just finding the nearest supermarket, so follow our tips to find everything you need at Arbury Court, from the corner shop to the best place to get a pint.
It’s likely that one of the first things you will want to do when you’ve unpacked is head to the supermarket so you don’t have to live on the 10kg sack of rice your mum gave you. Finding a supermarket near Arbury Court is a simple task, as there is a good-sized Aldi just around from the building, making it easy to do a food shop on foot.
There is also a large supermarket around the corner called H Mart, that stocks all the ingredients you will need to create beautiful Asian cuisine. Even if you aren’t the most skilled cook, stir fry is the student’s best friend, so you’ll want to stock up on noodles and spices. For quick trips when you’ve realised there’s no milk just as you put the kettle on, there’s also a small corner shop directly across from the apartments.
Grabbing a coffee is a great way to lift your spirits and get a feel for the place once you arrive. Head into the centre for big brand names like Starbucks and Costa, who do reliably good coffee and sweet treats. If you want to push the boat out, convince your family that the only way to send you off in style is a trip to Warren House. The building is spectacularly beautiful and their afternoon teas are the stuff of legend – your mum will love it.
(Oh, and also, the very best hangover fry ups are to be found across the road at King Café. They’re cheap, delicious, and good for what ails you. You’re welcome!)
Everyone knows the best way to get settled into a new home is to find a good local pub. Whether you take your dad for a final pint or you’re heading out with your new housemates, finding somewhere to have a quiet drink is essential. Kingston’s best watering holes can be found down towards the river and you’ll soon grow to love watching the boats drift past as you enjoy a drink outside.
Try Woody’s for somewhere with the perfect outdoor terrace overlooking the river or Boaters Inn if you know a bit about interesting beers. Alternatively, if you want to get in touch with Kingston’s history, try the Druid’s Head, where Jerome K Jerome sat and wrote the famous Three Men in a Boat.
Most students don’t run a car during university, but getting around Kingston by alternative modes of transport couldn’t be easier. Whether you’re travelling to university, heading out for a drink with friends, or making your way into London’s centre, there are a variety of options for getting you there. Specific information about stations, stops, and departure times can all be found on the appropriate websites. If you aren’t sure when your next bus is or how to find the train station, just ask one of aparto’s friendly members of staff and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Bicycle is both the cheapest and the greenest way to get around, not to mention its effectiveness at keeping off that Freshers’ weight gain. Kingston is a really beautiful area to cycle around, with picturesque buildings and green spaces around every corner. As part of the borough’s Go Programme, money has been invested in creating and improving cycling facilities. Dedicated cycle paths can now be found across the area, with many running through parks and open spaces along the way. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll also find that there are plenty of bike racks and other safety measures to make cycling around easier.
There are several train stations serving the Kingston area, so you’ll have plenty of options if you’re wanting to travel a little further afield. New Malden train station is the easiest to get to from aparto and it is served by a wide variety of train services. You can find out all the information you need about the trains on the National Rail website, which has a dedicated journey planner as well as a complete set of timetables. Simple put in which stations you are travelling between and you can easily find which services are suitable and what times they depart throughout the day.
If you want to really get into the spirit of things, you can also get around Kingston by boat. Turks Launches run services between Richmond, Kingston, and Hampton Court. You can find the full river timetable on their website. This probably isn’t the best option if you’re late for meeting your friends, but it’s the perfect relaxing way to travel on a day out exploring the area.
Things to Do
One of the great things about aparto’s location in Kingston is that it’s not only handy for getting to university, but it is also just a short journey away from all that London has to offer. South West London is packed full of exciting activities, wonderful food, and vibrant nightlife, so you’ll never be stuck for something to do. If anything, the biggest problem is choosing where to get started!
Since we’ve got plenty of insider knowledge, we’ve put together a guide to the area with a few activities to get you started. Whether you want to embrace your touristy side for the day, grab some delicious food at a sensible price, head out for a few cocktails, or buy some stylish new threads no one else will have, we’ve got you covered.
South West London is a great place to get out and explore, with plenty of historical landmarks, cool culture, and beautiful open spaces. When you live in an area, you can sometimes forget to be a tourist and miss some of the more obvious places for a day out.
Near Kingston, one of these is Hampton Court Palace, a massive Tudor palace right on the edge of the river. You can even get to it by boat from Kingston if you want the full royal experience. The palace was Henry VIII’s royal residence and you can see the character of one of Britain’s most extravagant kings in the design of this ornate palace. With a superb art collection, famed formal gardens as far as the eye can see, and a fun maze to get lost in, you can easily spend the full day here.
If you’ve had your fill of historical buildings, or you’re just a massive fan, South West London is also a great place to go on a few football stadium tours. Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge offers hour long tours of the stadium, along with a museum visit and tours of the dressing room, press room, and pitch. Craven Cottage, home to Fulham, is also worth a visit as it’s one of the few surviving examples of a 19th-century stadium.
Dining out in London can feel a little overwhelming, with a quick internet search turning up hundreds of spectacular (and often expensive!) options. That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to the best places to get some seriously good food on a student budget. One of the best places near aparto Arbury Court is New Malden’s Little Korea. The area has a large Korean community and the foodie scene here is getting a lot of attention because of its amazing quality. Check out Sorabol at the end of the High Street for amazing Korean BBQ and kimchi that is out of this world.
If you’re heading out of the area, we’d seriously recommend you take a trip to Brixton to soak up the cool vibes and have some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat. Franco Manca is on every London foodie list you’ll ever see and once you’ve tasted their pizzas you won’t wonder why. All under £10, their delicious sourdough pizzas have a variety of simple topping combinations that will suit everyone. The best way to experience Franco Manca is to round up a few friends and order several different pizzas, so you can try as many delicious taste sensations as possible.
South West London has plenty of trendy nightlife options to choose from, especially in areas like Clapham and Brixton that are just a short journey away from Kingston. Clapham boasts drinking destinations such as The Loft and Sugar Cane, where you’re guaranteed to find the cool kids sipping a cocktail to an eclectic playlist. The Loft doesn’t look like much from the outside, but its stylish New York charm will win you over at first sight. What’s more, the cocktail menu is massive and surprisingly well priced.
Sugar Cane has a slightly different vibe, offering a bit of tiki sunshine on even the greyest of London days. The fabulous selection of cocktails and tacky-chic décor are offset by an amazing mix of music, with everything from hip-hop, jazz, and funk to old school classics. If fancy cocktails and trendy DJs aren’t really your scene, try heading to Brixton for a visit to the legendary pub, The Windmill. Attracting the very best in up-and-coming live bands, you can expect the beer to be cheap and the music to be loud. You never know, you might even discover the next big thing.
Shopping is serious business in South West London and the area is famed for its tiny, upmarket boutiques where you’re guaranteed to find something no one else is wearing. Head to Belgravia for cool, concept fashion stores such as Egg and high-end bespoke outlets such as the Queen’s couturier Stewart Parvin.
If you want something with a bigger focus on brands, head to Chelsea for a look around the world-famous Harrods, which has floor after floor of spectacular luxury brands. Harvey Nichols is another luxury department store that is well worth a visit, with a mix of big name fashion labels and a tempting delicatessen.
A little bit closer to home, the area around Wimbledon and Richmond has some great small shops and markets to suit a slightly more modest budget. Local food suppliers are plentiful here, so if you’re dying for a loaf of artisan bread or you want to impress some visitors with a really beautiful cut of meat, this is the place to shop. Small clothing boutiques can be found in droves here, with a focus on classic styles that will last and last.
Kingston itself is also a great place to indulge in a little retail therapy. The Bentall Shopping Centre has an amazing range of shops, from the stylish minimalist-chic & Other Stories to fashion’s leading designers such as Chanel and Tom Ford.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, head to the Ancient Market Place, where there is a market selling fresh fruit, veg, fish, flower, artisan, foods, vintage clothes and more, every day of the week. The marketplace is a great place to visit even if you aren’t looking for bargain, as they hold festivals and events throughout the year. What’s more, the worn brick pavements, cluttered with old-fashioned market stalls, make for the perfect Instagram pictures.