Living in Woking
What is life like in Woking
Woking is a large town located in the west of Surrey, providing excellent links to London while retaining its own unique charm and appeal. It is incredibly popular with both young professionals and families, with many people from across the south-east looking to move to the area.
The town is positioned 23 miles south-west of central London, with direct rail links making it a commuter hotspot.
People who move to Woking can look not only at the town centre, but also some of its suburban districts including St Johns, Goldsworth Park, Horsell and Pyrford. Another option is to secure a home in the adjacent village of Knaphill, which is often considered to be part of Woking.
A modern shopping centre and several leisure facilities also go towards making Woking a pleasant and comfortable place to live.
Woking is a town that holds a place in the hearts of many motor racing enthusiasts, as the internationally acclaimed and hugely popular McLaren team are based in the town. It runs the team from the state-of-the-art McLaren Technology Centre.
Woking began life as a small village in the area now known as Old Woking. It began to develop first when the Basingstoke Canal was built and to an even greater extent upon the arrival of the railway in 1838.
At this point, Woking quickly became an increasingly popular spot, as its connections to London were both direct and fast. When London suffered from a shortage of land in the 1800s, it was areas like Woking that cashed in, as developers looked to improve such outlying towns.
One key step was the decision of the London Necropolis Company to buy 2,300 acres of land at Woking Common for use as a cemetery. However, only 400 acres were ever used for this purpose, and the rest of the land was then subject to huge property developments.
Much of the town centre reflects its Victorian origin, although there are sizeable areas with a more modern feeling, including many shops, offices and apartments that have been built from the 1970s onwards.
McLaren Group chief and head of the company's Formula 1 team Ron Dennis is from Woking, while British Olympic rower James Cracknell is from nearby Pyrford.
Countdown star Susie Dent and comedian Harry Hill were also born in the town, while celebrity chef Delia Smith hails from Woking, despite being more commonly associated with Norwich.
Entertainment, sport and days out
One of the best ways to spend some time in Woking is to enjoy its many parks and open spaces. Five of these are fitted with a skate park, while two have specialist climbing areas. There are also several country parks in the surrounding area, and people who love nothing more than to walk should head to the 32-mile towpath alongside the Basingstoke Canal or the 20-mile Wey Navigation route.
There are several cultural hotspots in Woking, with the New Victoria Theatre and the Rhoda McGaw studio theatre the best options for those who enjoy a drama production. Another option is The Lightbox, which is a relatively new arts centre that also contains an interactive museum and hosts exhibitions.
Motor racing plays a crucial role in life in Woking, as the town is the home of two major attractions in this field. Mercedes-Benz World is a popular landmark with tourists, with some choosing to race around the historic Brooklands track. The McLaren Group is also based in Woking, with its famous Formula 1 team run from its factory there.
Golfers will be in no short supply of wonderful courses to play, with Hoebridge Golf Centre offering three courses, while there are others at Woking, West Hill, Pyrford and Chobham clubs.
Sporty locals can also take advantage of the facilities at Woking Leisure Centre, which offers workout classes, a fully-fitted gym and more. Alternatively, those who fancy watching rather than playing can catch a game at the Kingfield Stadium, home of Woking FC.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Booking early to secure a table at the London House restaurant in Old Woking is a top tip for those who love to eat out in the town. The eatery is owned and run by Masterchef finalist Ben Piette and is certainly a great choice for an enjoyable evening and high-quality food.
The Sovereigns has previously been voted the best local pub, while Sands at Bleak House and The Inn at West End are also highly recommended. Those seeking somewhere to eat can also look at some of the chain restaurants to have based themselves in Woking, including Café Rouge.
Woking is the second largest shopping destination in Surrey and the iconic Peacock Centre is its hub, with its splendid indoor facilities boasting not only dozens of stores, but also a cinema and theatre complex. It is the ideal place for a spot of retail therapy, as no matter what people are looking for they are sure to find it in the mall.
Wolsey Place is another shopping centre in the town, while there are many more stores in the surrounding streets. Between the two malls is a local market, with a variety of stalls selling all manner of local produce, crafts and products at bargain rates.
The town council has plans to carry out a £150 million regeneration of central Woking, which would include further improvements to the shopping facilities alongside the creation of 190 new flats and a large Marks & Spencer store.
Schools & healthcare
As with any large town, Woking boasts a good selection of schools that will leave parents in no doubt that their children are receiving high-quality education. Greenfield School, Maybury Infant School, St Dunstan's Catholic Primary School, Horsell Village School and Goldsworth are among the primary schools in the area.
Parents with slightly older children can choose between institutions including the Park School, St Andrew's, Woking High School and St John the Baptist Catholic Comprehensive School, all of which are secondary schools. There are also several colleges in Woking.
Woking Community Hospital is the number one health facility in the town and should be able to deal with any injury or illness suffered by one of its residents. Nuffield Health also operates its own Woking Hospital.
Woking is extremely well connected, with the A3, M3 and M25 all lying within a few minutes of the town. This makes driving into London or to any other part of the south-east incredibly easy and fast.
The town is also well placed for commuters, with train services running to central London on a regular basis. It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel from Woking to London Waterloo by rail, while passengers can also utilise other stations at West Byfleet and Brookwood for an increased range of routes.