An archetypal leafy suburb to the west of London, Kingston upon Thames attracts Londoners of all stripes, from hipsters to hedge fund managers. It boasts an embarrassment of riches, including majestic Royal Parks and an attractive, buzzing riverside that snakes through the town centre. There's plenty going on both socially and culturally too, from Michelin-starred dining to a burgeoning independent music scene. And there's quick, easy access to the big city too. What more do you need?
Kingston is home to not one but two Royal Parks. The larger of the two, Richmond Park, is a fifteen-minute walk north of the station, past the spectacular view of the Thames from Richmond Hill. Sadly you stand little chance of seeing the whole park - it's the biggest enclosed space in Greater London. Pitch up at one of its many picnic spots, watch its population of Red and Fallow deer, or just get lost among the trees, forgetting just how close you are to the nation's capital.
Back in the town centre, the banks of the Thames are home to an array of top-notch restaurants, including Cau, Bill's and the Thai extravaganza that is Busaba Eathai. They all of look out over the wide river as it makes its lazy way toward central London. For full-on card-carrying foodies, Roz Ana is the place to be. It's the town's only Michelin-starred restaurant, and just 10 minutes from the station.
If you're the artistic type, Kingston has you covered too. The world-renowned indie label Banquet Records is based here, along with its eponymous record store and always-buzzing club night. And for drama you can't beat the Rose Theatre, which shows everything from Shakespeare to live comedy.