Living in Walton-on-Thames
What is life like in Walton-on-Thames
With a beautiful riverside location, excellent shopping facilities and a range of traditional pubs to enjoy, it is hard to find fault with Walton-on-Thames as a place to live.
Located in the Elmbridge borough of Surrey, the town is around 15 miles from Charing Cross, making it an ideal spot for those who work in London but prefer to live somewhere greener, quieter and more scenic.
An original village still stands in the north of Walton-on-Thames, while there have been a range of newer developments to the south. This has provided a good selection of housing for families, young professionals and individuals who wish to live there.
A stroll along the beautiful banks of the Thames is understandably a popular pastime among people in Walton-on-Thames, but it is important to remember the town offers much more than a picturesque view. It is also home to impressive architecture, superb transport links and many shops and restaurants.
The town's name was given in Anglo-Saxon times, with 'Walton' thought to mean 'Briton settlement'. Even before this, there was a Celtic settlement in the area, and Walton-on-Thames itself was identified by William Camden as the place where the River Thames was forded by Julius Caesar on his second invasion of Britain.
St Mary's Parish Church dates back to Saxon times, with some parts from the 12th century. There is a square flint tower and a ring of eight bells, with the oldest bearing the date 1606.
Troops from New Zealand were hospitalised in Walton-on-Thames at the now demolished Mount Felix House during World War I. There is a memorial in the local cemetery to remember them, while there is a Wellington Pub and New Zealand Avenue also in their honour.
Hersham and Walton Motors shot to fame in the 1950s when it constructed its own motor car that was raced by Stirling Moss in a grand prix. The company was also the first Aston Martin dealership in the world that diversified into Alfa Romeo.
The most famous person to have been born in Walton-on-Thames is Dame Julie Andrews, the star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.
Other celebrities to have lived in the area include Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley and former US president Herbert Hoover.
Entertainment, sport and days out
There is plenty of entertainment and a good selection of activities for people in Walton-on-Thames to throw themselves into. The Excel Leisure Centre is equipped with a gym, swimming pool, climbing wall, football pitches and squash courts to satisfy everyone who loves to exercise.
It will come as no surprise to find the River Thames plays a key role in the lives of many in the town, with walks alongside it a great way to spend an evening or a weekend. More active locals can take to the waters either for a swim or as part of the Walton Rowing Club's programme of training and events.
Another leisure option comes in the shape of Walton Tennis Club, which has both indoor and outdoor courts, allowing people to play throughout the year.
Walton Marina is a popular spot and offers river trips, motorised boat journeys and punt hire, allowing people to travel on the water. It also offers a wonderful view of the new Walton Bridge, which was built at a cost of £32.3 million.
The local football team is Walton & Hersham FC, which is backed by former Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis, who is a director. He became involved after taking his children to some matches, which is something residents today can still go at the club's Stompond Lane stadium.
One of the UK's largest and most popular theme parks, Thorpe Park, is around 15 minutes away from Walton-on-Thames and is a favourite with adrenaline junkies.
Eating, drinking & shopping
There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat in and around Walton-on-Thames, with one of the most spectacular options being Burhill Golf Club's restaurant, The Green. This is now open to non-members and offers a range of high-quality Mediterranean dishes.
Alternatively, people in the town could try out Italian eatery Prima Fila or its main rival Carluccio's. With its riverside location in mind, it is no surprise there are some eye-catching places to eat and drink by the water, including two iconic pubs, the Anglers and the Swan.
Shoppers in Walton-on-Thames can take advantage of the modern Heart shopping complex, which is situated in the town centre. It boasts a covered mall containing more than 50 shops and restaurants, with some of the UK's biggest names in place. Next, Debenhams and Sainsbury's are among those with a store at Heart.
Even more are found outside in Walton High Street, while there is also a monthly farmers' market that allows locals to stock up on delicious local produce.
Schools & healthcare
Parents should have no worries about finding a suitable school in Walton-on-Thames, as there are plenty of high-performing institutions in the town. The primary schools on offer include the Danesfield Manor School, Walton Oak, Westward School and Grovelands.
For older children, there are secondary education facilities available at Walton Leigh School, Thamesmead School, Halliford School and Rydens Enterprise School. There are also several colleges and a university in nearby Kingston.
Walton Hospital is the largest medical facility in the town, although it does not have an accident and emergency department. However, there are additional hospitals in Cobham, Molesey and Weybridge, so people will not go without the care they require.
Walton-on-Thames offers excellent transport links to all those who live there, with the town's train station providing direct services to central London. These run to Waterloo and take about 25 minutes, while people travelling in the opposite direction can easily each Woking and Guildford by rail.
Road users can take advantage of the town's proximity to the A3, M25 and M3, meaning it is simple to access the country's motorway network. A local bus service makes travelling in the surrounding area straightforward, and there is a link to Heathrow Airport.