Local Area Guide Ashford

Overview

Ashford is a uniquely charming small town in the Spelthorne district of Surrey. This once rural land is now a flourishing town of pubs and restaurants, with more community clubs and groups than any other town in the borough. The area is abundant in local parks and natural hotspots, so it is incredible to think that Heathrow airport is only 3 miles away, and major cities are accessible in well under an hour. There are some unmissable attractions like the famous Ashford Manor Golf Club to visit, but also hidden gems await discovery in the local parks, lakes, and reservoirs. There is entertainment for all age groups and leisurely pursuits in the area to suit an active lifestyle. With outstanding early childcare in the area and a range of possibilities for further education, the town ticks boxes for working families that want to combine rural life with the professional.

History of Ashford

Ashford takes its name from the River Ash, which runs through the western corner of the parish, and the crossing point at the Ford where it meets the road which enters the parish from Staines and Laleham. Archaeological discoveries around St Michael’s School revealed Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age flint work. Around Spelthorne Fire station, a series of postholes indicated a roundhouse or open-sided structure dating from Middle-Late Bronze Age.

The London and South Western Railway came to Ashford in 1848, which led to considerable expansion. The parish church of St Matthew was erected in 1858, and Manor House Farm became premises for Ashford Manor Golf Club in about 1899. As well as this, the Ashford County Grammar School, founded in 1911, now forms the Ashford campus of Brooklands College. Until relatively recently, Ashford was almost entirely rural. Now, what was formally the village street has been transformed with modern shops and restaurants.

Property Types in Ashford

As Ashford lies within the London commuter area, the area is a hotspot for professionals. Although many residents commute to the capital, there are jobs within the local area and a strong workforce in Heathrow Airport. Ashford has nearly 129,000 residents, and the average age of people here is 40. Property in Ashford is made up of mainly medium to low-rise buildings, with most houses being semi- detached. The majority of the property is modern, but some date back to the Victorian period.
The average price for a property varies with the property type. There are plenty of 4, 5, and 6 bedroom homes with various looks from chalet-style bungalows to gable styled roofs, with private gardens and spacious driveways. Elmsway is one of the town’s most prestigious locations, and there are many semi-detached properties in Gilmore Crescent, Junction Road, and Garden Close. Near Ashford Common on Alexandra Road, a range of two bedroomed semi-detached houses have been newly built. In Brooklands Park, a collection of stylish studio, 1 and 2 bedroom open plan apartments are just a 6-minute walk from the train station.

Schools & Colleges in Ashford

For a small town, Ashford has some quality schools within its vicinity. There are plenty of worthy nurseries in the area, and St Michael Catholic Primary School has received an excellent rating by Ofsted. Ashford’s location means there are plenty of opportunities for further education and beyond after GCSE level.

Nursery & Pre-schools
  • Towntree Pre-school Ltd - Outstanding
  • The Salvation Army Rainbow Pre-school - Outstanding
  • Footprints Day Nursery - Good
  • Little Gems - Good
  • Happytots Pre-school - Good
Primary Schools
  • St Michael Catholic Primary School - Excellent
  • Clarendon Primary School - Good
  • Echelford Primary School - Good
Secondary Schools
  • Thomas Knyvett College - Good
Independent Schools
  • St James’ Senior Boys’ School
Local Universities & Colleges
  • Brooklands College
  • Strode’s College
  • Royal Holloway
  • Kingston University
  • University of West London
Things to do in Ashford

Bedfont Lakes Country Park
The Bedfont Lake Country Park is a nature reserve dominated by expansive lakes and green space. There are two lakes, Bedfont and Princes, which offer some of the best birdwatching sites around, with 40 types of birds and over 300 plants recorded in the park. You can walk up to Monolith Hill, which is 95 feet and is the highest point in Hounslow. On a clear day, you can see various attractions like Windsor Castle from the top of the hill. The park is popular with nature lovers, joggers, walkers and photographers for its variety of insects, bats, and birds.

Fordbridge Park
Fordbridge Park, run by Spelthorne Borough Council, offers a range of recreational and sporting facilities in the fresh air. There is a bowling green for lawn bowls, free tennis courts, footpaths, and plenty of multi-use open space for joggers or Bootcamp sessions. A gem of a find is the fabulous café, 96 degrees, which lies in the park. The café serves coffee, cake, and hot food with an outdoor seating area overlooking the tennis courts. There is also a unique 3.1 mile walk in the park, and you can download the route online. The walk takes you on a circuit as you pass through watercourses and walk alongside the River Ash.

Ashford Recreational Ground
Ashford Recreational Ground is a fantastic place in the community and has been a key component of the area for decades, with children playing cricket and climbing trees here since the 60s. There is a grass sports pitch for adults and juniors to hire for 11-sided football matches and shower changing facilities. From April through Summer, the park doesn’t close until 8.30 pm, and there is free parking. There are six public tennis courts, various seating areas, a children’s science-themed play area with swings, slides, and trampolines.

Kempton Park Racecourse
A ten-minute drive to Sunbury-on-Thames takes you to the Kempton Park Racecourse, which opened in July 1878. You choose whether you sit in the stands, close to the railside, or next to the finish line. In the Parade Ring, you can meet the horses and their riders before each race and take a good look before placing your bet. Nothing tops the adrenaline and excitement from watching the race with the flash of colour and thundering hooves as the race begins. After the race, the winner’s enclosure is where you see the horses reunited with their owners and the trophies presented. In the panoramic bar and restaurant, you can have the three-course bistro meal, or if you’re feeling lavish, the VIP three-course experience with a champagne reception.

Love Open Water Venue
Take a seven-minute drive to Bedfont Lake and the Love Open Water venue, a great swim training lake in a beautiful location with the buzz of immersing yourself in nature. There is a great running trail nearby to run before you take a swim, and the Park Run usually takes place two minutes away on a Saturday. There is a serving of hot and cold drinks after each session, with a free car park on-site. A 450m and 250m loop exists for open water swimming training or those who enjoy a leisurely bob around. Outdoor camping shower bags are available for members to wash after their swim.

Top 3 Things to do for Children in Ashford

Hounslow Urban Farm
Hounslow Urban Farm is a 12-minute drive to Feltham with plenty of parking spaces and is a place where children and adults alike can come to pet and feed the barnyard animals. There are events put on throughout the day by the farm, for example, an owl display and a micro pig meet and greet. The farm has every recognisable farmyard animal and some unusual animals such as the blue- tongued skink, the royal python and the massive African leopard tortoise. Family groups can handle a few animals at a time while staff members educate the children and welcome any questions.

Kidabulous
Just over two miles away in Brooklands Close is Kidabulous, and as the name suggests, it is an indoor play area that is the perfect day out for kids. Suitable for children 12 years and under, Kidabulous is a place to let the children roam free and burn off some energy in a safe environment. The play area consists of two large indoor play areas, a giant playframe five storeys high and a toddler town for soft play. You must not forget to bring spare change for the coin-operated mini go-karts on the go-kart track. For the adults, there is free wifi and a café to keep you entertained while the children go off on an adventure.

St Dunstan’s Park
St Dunstan’s Park, also known as St Dunstan’s recreation ground, was opened in 1951 on land originally owned by St Dunstan’s Church. This tree-scattered park has a circuit path with picnic tables, and the trees give a seasonal ambience, depending on the time of year. The play area is accessible for ages three and over and has swings, slides, climbing frames and wobbly boards. The children’s play area is separate from the rest of the park, so you can watch on as the children play basketball or explore the trim trail in a safe environment.

Shopping & Leisure in Ashford

Shopping
Church Road has small convenience shops like Sainsbury’s local, Tesco express, and Ashford Fruits, a greengrocer for delivery and in-store shopping. Here you’ll also find the children’s clothing shop Cachet Kids, a Boots, and Divas, a ladies clothing shop. Church Lane has an Asian grocery store, Alfa market for ingredients you can’t buy in the supermarket. There are five Londis convenience stores across Ashford town, a Simply M&S on Staines Road, and for some eye-catching jewellery, Anupam Jewellers on church parade is a family run business. For retail outlets like TK Maxx and Primark, Staines High Street is only a 12-minute car drive.

Restaurants
You will be spoilt for choice in Ashford with the mouth-watering food available on your doorstep with well-known restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, Dominos, Subway, and Wimpy. If Asian cuisine is your speciality, you’re in luck because as well as the Top Wok Chinese takeaway, there are three curry-based restaurants Tamanna’s, Kouchin, and Baburchi restaurant. On Church Road, MW Pizza Pasta is a must-visit, small, family-run restaurant that stays grounded to its Italian roots. There are three great fish and chip shops including, Two Brothers Fish House, which has had rave reviews. Church Street also has TUT restaurant, a sleek, stylish place that serves authentic Egyptian food and drinks.

Pubs
There are pubs in Ashford to suit all occasions, and each has something special. On Fordbridge Road, The King’s Fairway serves traditional pub lunches and dinners next to a cosy open fire and is known for its finest cask ales. The Ash Tree is a homely, rustic pub with armchairs, a beer garden, a pool table, and is where you can watch all the latest live sports matches. If you’re looking for a warm, inviting pub with themed evenings and great food and snacks, then Freeman’s Arms is the pub for you. For a pub with a lively atmosphere and karaoke, discos and live music, then the gastropub King’s Head just down the road from Ashford Recreational Ground is the place to be.

Cinemas
Pinewood cinema at Shepperton, opposite the Queen Mary reservoir, features weekend only screenings of blockbuster releases and indie, independent films. To the west of Ashford, 3.5 miles away, the Vue cinema in Staines has the mainstream films shown to you in a modern cinema complex and often has family deals on offer. The Cineworld cinema in Feltham, a 12-minute drive northeast of Ashford, is a multiplex cinema. Recently, the cinema has updated its screens to include the new 4DX screen with high-tech motion programming. The latest technology brings motion, wind, scent, water, and seat manoeuvring to make you feel like you are part of the action on screen.

Gym & Health
There is a legion of ways to get fit and healthy in Ashford, with the Odyssey boxing and Ashford Ks club to join for adults and children. Stanwell Road has weekly pilates classes at Prima Pilates every Friday morning. Less than 3 miles away is Nuffield Health Sunbury Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, a modern, refurbished club with recently upgraded Technogym equipment. As well as a swimming pool and spa, it offers training areas and boutique classes for all fitness needs. Less than a ten-minute drive from Ashford is Spelthorne Leisure Centre, a leisure centre with everything you need to achieve your fitness desires where there is a 120-station gym, two pools, fitness classes, and a sports hall.

Golf Clubs
Ashford Manor Golf Club is one of Ashford’s main attractions, established in 1898 and the nicest greenery in the Surrey area. The 18-hole course is a quality parkland course that measures over 6,400 yards. The original Manor House is now the clubhouse that tempts potential members with the bars and tasty food. Just over 2 miles south of Ashford is Sunbury Golf Course, a beautifully vast open course with plenty of light and few trees. Although a challenging course, with its combination of water, and undulating terrain in places, makes for a thrilling and enjoyable game.

Other Entertainment
Entertainment doesn’t get more thrilling than the XScream Escapes in Ashford. You’ll have to find clues, solve riddles, and work together as a team to escape the room before the time runs out. With groups of four to six people recommended, you can challenge friends, family and colleagues to decipher the hidden messages. For more outdoor entertainment, the Queen Mary Sailing Club on the local reservoir has recreational sailing and windsurfing for those wishing to bring their equipment to use. Or, for those musically inclined, Airplay Studios is a professional recording and rehearsal studio with eight rooms available for bands, solo acts, orchestras, and musicians.

Travel Connections
Ashford has easy access to Heathrow by bus and car, and Waterloo station is less than a 40-minute trip by train. The M3 and M4 are close at hand, allowing easy access to southern England and Wales. The M25 is reachable in 16-minutes and is ideal for commuters navigating their way around London. Air travel has never been quicker, with Heathrow only 3 miles away.

Train
The South Western Railway at Ashford Train Station on Station Road has two platforms. The London Waterloo train runs four times every hour, stopping at places including Twickenham and Putney along the way and taking less than 40-minutes to arrive at London Waterloo. The 22-minute train to Windsor & Eton Riverside stops at Staines along the way.

Road
You can reach central London within an hour by following the A30 in Feltham and joining the A4. Slough is just over 11 miles when you take the B376 and to Reading in an hour via the M3. The M4 is 18-minutes away, ten minutes to the M3, and 16-minutes to the M25 via the A30.

Air
Just 3 miles north of Ashford is Heathrow Airport, which you can reach in just 10 minutes. London City Airport to the east is under 2 hours by car via the M4, and Gatwick Airport is under an hour via the M25.

Bus
Dudley Road and Station Crescent are just two of the main bus and coach stations in the area. Both share the 216 bus to Staines, passing through Sunbury, Hampton, and Kingston, and the 555 bus to Heathrow. The Stanwell Road bus has the 117 route where you can stop at the Ashford War Memorial and get to the Ashford train station.

5 fun facts about Ashford
  1. Recent discoveries in the north end of St. Michael’s Road has found Bronze Age equipment going back 3,000 years.
  2. The Queen Mary Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in London and supplies fresh water to London and surrounding areas.
  3. The Ashford War memorial is carved in Portland stone, a limestone from the late Jurassic period.
  4. In 1905 one of the greatest golf players in Britain, Harold Horsfall Hilton joined the Ashford Manor Golf Club.
  5. Ashford Common was a favourite ground of George III for the forces to put on military displays.

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