Local Area Guide Staines-upon-Thames

Overview

Staines-upon-Thames is a bustling town in Surrey, just west of the River Thames. The town's proximity to London made it a popular destination for the Romans where they hold the legacy of building the first-ever Staines Bridge. The river that runs through the town gives its unique geography, renowned for wildlife and a staggering four miles of homes that overlook the river. Inside the M25 motorway, this town has easy access to major cities and being next door to Heathrow makes travelling very easy. Every school in the area is above average standard, with plenty of opportunities for further education. The thrice-weekly markets, pubs, group water sports and activities give the town a community feel. A hotspot for picturesque walks, rare bird watching, and with Thorpe Park only a few miles away, it's no wonder Staines- upon-Thames is one of the best commuter towns for all the facilities it has to offer.

History of Staines-upon-Thames

Staines-upon-Thames has a deep history going back to the Ice Age. The River Thames formed when the Ice Age ended, and excavators have found evidence of people living in the same spot as Staines-upon-Thames today. The Roman emperor Claudius sent the Romans to settle in Staines in AD 43. Shortly after this invasion, they built the first Staines Bridge as a crossing point from London to Hampshire. The Roman name for the area, ‘Ad Pontes,’ translates to, ‘at the bridges,’ which implies the Romans built more than one bridge here.

The current name ‘Staines’ is derived from the Old English for ‘the place at the stones.' The stones were a boundary marker to mark the western limit to the city of London. The ‘London Stone’ and its replica stands next to the river today. The arrival of the railway in 1848 made way for the Staines Linoleum Factory in 1864. The factory was the first worldwide to make the floor covering, and inventor Frederick Walton moved his factory to Staines. Linoleum became a crucial industry, employing people well into the 1960s. You can view the famous Lino Statue on High Street as a tribute to its valued history.

Property Types in Staines-upon-Thames

All types of people are enticed by Staines-upon-Thames. The local parks, schools and local amenities of the town centre make the area popular with young families looking to settle, with the average age of residents being 40. Young professionals and first-time buyers come for the easy London commute. Being only three miles from Heathrow airport makes this town a perfect, easy-access location, and prices are relatively modest compared to other towns in the Surrey commuter area. The nearby Royal Holloway University adds a student touch with many students staying in Staines during their studies.

The town has almost four miles of homes, restaurants and pubs that overlook the river. The town has recently undergone an impressive amount of regeneration work in the last decade, with investments in contemporary, modern housing. London Square Staines is a regeneration scheme offering a collection of private apartments with outdoor space and stylish interiors. There are currently 756 private units in the pipeline located on the thriving High Street and Bridge Street. There is a complete variety of property in Staines-upon-Thames, including three and four-bedroom 1930s style semi-detached family homes, terraced Victorian cottages, large riverside homes, apartments and state of the art penthouses.

Schools & Colleges in Staines-upon-Thames

Every primary and secondary school in Staines-upon-Thames maintains an above-average standard. The Matthew Arnold School has academy status, and The Magna Carta School has been awarded specialisms in ICT and Technology. There are unlimited good-quality nurseries and primary schools to choose from, and local universities are just a car drive away.

Nursery & Pre-schools
  • Knowle Green Day Nursery - Outstanding
  • Scallywags Nursery - Outstanding
  • Playtime Nursery Staines - Good
  • Roslin Nursery - Good
  • Little Dreams Day Nursery - Good
Primary Schools
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School - Good
  • Riverbridge Primary School - Good
  • Buckland Primary School - Good
  • Hythe Primary School - Good
  • Town Farm Primary School - Good
Secondary Schools
  • The Matthew Arnold School - Good
  • The Magna Carta School - Good
Independent Schools
  • Staines Preparatory School
Local Universities & Colleges
  • Royal Holloway
  • Kingston University
  • University of West London
Things to do in Staines-upon-Thames

Penton Hook Island
Penton Hook is a naturally formed bend and impressive loop in the River Thames, and its first lock was constructed back in 1815. The island is a secluded, quiet spot with a network of paths, ideal for walking and fishing. Located between Laleham and Staines-upon-Thames, visitors can walk the riverside trail the entire way around the spot in 30 minutes, with plenty of benches to stop and take a picnic next to the serene waters. A natural habitat for voles, ducks, and herons, there is even a fish ladder where you can view migrating fish as they bypass the lock. For a lengthier walk, park at the Thameside Car Park and take your time touring this natural beauty spot.

Staines Market
Markets in Staines-upon-Thames go back as far as 1218 when the local Sheriff ordered markets every Friday. Today, if you head to the High Street, Staines Market is held every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and has something for everyone to browse or buy. There is freshly grown produce of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and hot, yummy street food stalls at very reasonable prices. The cuisine on display comes from far and wide, including Greek, French, Turkish, and Asian. The atmosphere is friendly and warm with unique pieces of one-off clothing, flower bouquets, jewellery, ornaments, bedding, accessories, canvas artwork, and more.

Spelthorne Museum
The Spelthorne Museum on Elmsleigh Road is an accredited museum covering the entire Surrey area. The museum has permanent exhibits that display years of archaeological findings. You can travel back to prehistoric times with actual woolly mammoth tusks and teeth in the mammoth display. Staines was a haven for Roman material from a baby’s feeding bottle to a roof tile, and in the museum, you can visit a replica of a Roman shop and a Victorian kitchen room, too. The original London Stone used to mark London’s jurisdiction over the Staines and Thames area in 1285 is here for viewing. If that wasn’t enough, there is even a model of a local woman that lived 4,000 years ago. Everyone is welcome to listen to the regular speakers at the museum who present historical talks.

Staines Reservoir
The Staines Reservoir is a haven for bird watchers and consists of two reservoirs separated by a causeway. The reservoir is a site of special scientific interest, especially for the winter wildfowl it attracts. The Staines Reservoir aqueduct is over 8 miles, and 363 million litres of water flow through it every day. Simply access the reservoir on foot from each end of the 1km causeway, make your way around and don’t forget your binoculars! The reservoir has an impressive list of birds it has attracted over the years with wading birds like the sandpipers, gulls, terns, seabirds, and even legendary birds like the Collared Pratincole.

Great Cockcrow Railway
Great Cockcrow Railway is an 8-minute drive to Chertsey, where you can ride the miniature railway. It's a must-visit day out with rows of open carriages to enter in small groups. Journeys are just over a mile and go through a tunnel. There are two routes you can take, red or green. The red route heads to Cockcrow Hill and takes an extra loop to go back, whereas the green route is non-stop back and forth. On your return to the station, you can take your picture next to the train while it refuels ready for the next trip.

Top 3 Things to do for Children in Staines-upon-Thames

The Little Green Boat Company
To appreciate Staines in all its glory, hiring a boat from Staines Boat Hire on the stretch of the upper River Thames is a must. Hiring can be done in advance or on-site by an adult and includes rowing boats, open motorboats, and 5 to 6 seater boats for small groups. On your boating journey, you will be able to pass under the iconic Staines Bridge, stop off at Church and Hollyhock Islands, or pull up at nearby villages like Egham and Thorpe, to explore.

Thorpe Park
Just south of Staines-upon-Thames is the most thrilling adventure park in the country, holding countless world records to its name. Whether for a day trip or an overnight stay, there is no shortage of entertainment. There are classic rollercoasters like Saw, Nemesis, Colossus, Stealth, and the new sensory-defying maze, Black Mirror Labyrinth. For small children, gentler family rides are available like the Angry Birds 4D Experience, teacups, rapids, slides, boats, dodgems and much more. Every Summer, the park offers live entertainment with dancing, music and actors around the park.

Lammas Recreation Park
Lammas Recreation Park is a park and garden host to all manner of fun leisure activities with free tennis courts and a skate park. Children can use the equipment at the play area, and there's an outdoor Splash Park to cool off in the warmer months. The Cycle for Health Scheme has a collection of guided cycle routes where you take off from Llamas Park and travel all around the Surrey countryside. There is a new 9-hole mini-golf course hidden amongst the trees developed for all groups and ability levels.

Shopping & Leisure in Staines-upon-Thames

Shopping
Staines-upon-Thames is lucky enough to have two bustling shopping centres: The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers. Located in the heart of the town, they are home to independent retailers and many big brands such as Marks & Spencer, H&M, TK Maxx, JD Sports, Next, Waterstones and Pandora. As well as a farmers market that takes place once a month, there is also the thrice-weekly Staines Market on the High Street selling local fresh produce, clothing, technological gadgets, and more. Staines has many popular supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks and Spencer’s Food, Co-op, and Lidl.

Restaurants
You are spoilt for choice when looking for a place to dine out in Staines-upon- Thames. The Slug and Lettuce and the riverside restaurant at the Swan Hotel have stunning views over the River Thames. There are big UK popular chain restaurants located in the Two Rivers Shopping Centre. There are independent restaurants on the high street, like Koguryo, which serves Korean food and the Flamm Restaurant, which serves Turkish food. Or, if you fancy sampling some Greek cuisine, head down to Clarence Street and dine at The Greek Souvlaki.

Pubs & Nightclubs
For traditional pub food to go along with your finest brew, try the Three Horseshoes, The Wheatsheaf & Pigeon or The Bells. All three pubs have beer gardens and are highly rated. For night owls, the funky Nostrano Lounge and the Turtle Bay serve a variety of cocktails for you to kickstart your nights out with friends and colleagues. Reasonably priced drinks are available at The George Wetherspoons on the high street, which is open until 1 a.m on weekends.

Cinema & Theatre
The Vue Cinema at Two Rivers has 10 screens with 2,126 seats where you can kick back, relax and watch the latest blockbuster. The car park is right next door, and Staines Bus Station is only a 7-minute walk. Set within the Magna Carta School complex, The Magna Carta Arts Centre hosts local theatre and dance groups from the school and the local area. Staines Musical Theatre Group and The Performance Academy are two of the local companies that have put on memorable shows including Chicago, and Guys and Dolls.

Gym & Health
There are many options for keeping up your fitness in Staines-upon-Thames. Pure Gym, in Two Rivers, provides fitness classes with 24/7 access. The 360 Ultimate Fitness focuses on CrossFit and personal training with one-on-one instruction, and the Thames Club is a spacious and elegant gym with access to pool facilities. On Knowle Green, Spelthorne Leisure Centre has a 120-station gym, two pools, squash courts, and a fitness hall that hosts badminton play and five-a-side football. For a spot of wild swimming, head to Heron Lake, where swimmers and triathletes of all abilities are welcome.

Golf Clubs
Just outside Staines-upon-Thames in Ashford, and less than a 10-minute drive is Ashford Manor Golf Course. It is an 18-hole course set in stunning parkland with tree-lined fairways and well-bunkered approaches to greens. Wentworth Golf club is a 15-minute drive into Virginia Water and has three 18-hole courses. The club has played host to some of the world's most prestigious trophies including, The Daks Tournament, British Masters, Women’s British Open, and PGA Championships. After a round of golf, cocktail bars, private dining rooms, lounges and an iconic ballroom offer a refined, relaxed ambience where you can unwind.

Other Entertainment
For a casino gaming experience with complimentary refreshments, comfortable seating and exciting video slot machines, visit Admiral Staines on the high street. Lammas Recreation Park has a live music bandstand, a café and is the home of Spelthorne Kayak and Canoe Club. Spelthorne Museum is a 2-room museum in Staines library featuring local history exhibits, and if you would like to make the most of Staines-upon-Thames' riverside location, the Little Green Boat Company lets you learn to row with Staines Boat Club.

Travel Connections
Staines-upon-Thames is well-connected in all fields of transport. For commuters to London, the M25 is nearby, and for easy travel, Heathrow Airport is a speedy eight-minute car journey. Local buses can take you to all the nearby towns and destinations. The Staines Train Station has frequent trains to the major cities and towns such as Reading, Windsor, and trains departing at least every 30 minutes to London Waterloo.

Trains
The South Western Railway service at Staines Train Station has two platforms and regular trains to nearby small towns like Weybridge and larger towns like Reading up to four times a day. Windsor in the northwest is a 14-minute train drive away, and a 35-minute train drive into London waterloo runs at least every 30 minutes.

Road
Situated between the M3 and M4, the M25 allows easy access into London and takes around 46 minutes. Slough takes 22 minutes via the A308, and Reading, 42 minutes through the M4.

Air
Heathrow airport is a mere 8 minutes away via the M25 by car and two stops on the train in less than 30 minutes. London City Airport in the east of London takes just over an hour by both car and train.

Bus
Nearby towns have easy access via bus such as Egham on the 441 and 441A, and plenty of bus routes travel to Ashford, including the 571, which only takes two stops. The number 8 bus has two stops before arriving at Heathrow Airport and takes 14 minutes. The 950 also has a direct shuttle service to Thorpe Park as frequently as every 15 minutes.

5 fun facts about Staines
  1. The Thames Valley was settled by prehistoric people, with the earliest occupation discovered in Staines 6,000 years ago.
  2. The ‘All Alone’ war pigeon, hatched in Staines, won a bravery award in World War Two.
  3. Sacha Baron Cohen set one of his highest grossing UK films in Staines- upon-Thames
  4. The town hall was the setting for a courtroom in the 1982 film Gandhi.
  5. In Victorian times the Circus came to town in Clarence Street, bringing elephants, camels and bears.

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