Living in Epsom
What is life like in Epsom?
Traditionally a market town, it is around 13 miles south-west of central London, making it a prime base for City workers who prefer to live away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. It is also nestled in an area surrounded by the Epsom Downs and the Thanet Beds, meaning there are many rural delights for local people to enjoy.
The population of Epsom is a little over 30,000, so it is large enough to warrant its own facilities and small enough to retain a strong community spirit. Epsom is also the source of the Hogsmill river, so for a stroll by the water's edge there is nowhere better.
Of course, Epsom is most famous for its classic racecourse, which is known for hosting the popular Epsom Derby. With a capacity of 12,000 and Grade 1 status, it is a wonderful venue and a great place for locals to enjoy a day at the races.
The name Epsom is thought to come from the early title of Ebba's ham, with ham meaning home and Ebba having been a renowned local Saxon landowner. The location of Epsom is not particularly unusual for a town of its age, with many Anglo-Saxon settlements in England being created at the foot of dry valleys.
By the end of the Georgian period, Epsom had gained a reputation as a leading spa town, and some evidence of this can still be found today. There is a water pump and other exhibits on show at the town's museum.
Epsom is also famous for its salt, with Epsom salts originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters that sprung in the area. The town's pond in the Middle Ages is now its central market.
A number of celebrities can trace their roots back to Epsom, with Star Wars actor Warwick Davis just one of those to have been born in the town.
Outnumbered star Tyger Drew-Honey is also from Epsom, along with broadcaster James Whale, former tennis player and television presenter Andrew Castle and Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The Epsom Playhouse is perhaps the town's greatest entertainment venue, hosting a varied programme of events including both professional and community productions. It first opened in 1984 and has a capacity of 450 seats.
Everything from opera and dance to drama, comedy and music has been performed at the theatre, while there is also a summer film season that enables locals to catch up with movies they wished they had seen when they were first released.
Of course, the town's most famous sporting venue is Epsom racecourse, and this attracts thousands of visitors each year. For top-quality horse racing, it is the place to be in the region and the ideal location for a day out.
The Rainbow Leisure Centre provides excellent facilities for people who want to get fit, including swimming pools, a thermal spa, a gym, a sports hall and a bowls centre.
With London so close, residents of Epsom are unlikely to be stuck for a place to visit for a day out. However, there are some attractions even closer than the centre of London, such as Chessington World of Adventures, which is just three miles away.
Eating, drinking & shopping
A wide range of restaurants are open in Epsom town centre and serve food from around the world. The Canopy and Field to Fork are just two of the eateries in the area that are highly recommended and well worth a visit.
Locals tend to head to the Ashley Centre to satisfy their shopping needs, with many of the country's major high street names based there. These include Marks and Spencer, H&M, Burton, Lakeland and the Body Shop.
Schools & healthcare
A good selection of nurseries, schools and colleges is available in Epsom and Ewell and the surrounding area, with some of the most popular institutions including Rosebery School, Kingswood House School and St Martin's C of E Junior School.
There is also Epsom College, which is one of the most prestigious establishments of its type in the country. The college was founded in 1855 by Dr John Propert, who wanted to assist the sons of doctors in their quest to develop the skills and character required of any young boy. In the modern day, the college is keen to celebrate creative, physical, spiritual and intellectual values.
Those requiring medical assistance in the town will be best served by visiting Epsom Hospital, which is located close to the A24. It is operated by the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Epsom is located just inside the M25, so quick access to this road is assured at all times. This allows anyone who lives in the town to easily reach all parts of London and the south-east by road, with the M23, M3 and M4 junctions just a short drive away.
Train services are also key for many people in Epsom, with journeys from the town to central London taking a little more than half an hour. There is a direct service running from Epsom to Waterloo, on the banks of the River Thames.
Epsom Coaches run a local bus and coach service, with 19 routes in Surrey and south-west London in operation.