IntroductionKingston upon Thames in south-west London, is the principal town of the beautiful and vibrant Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Kingston used to be a bustling market town where Saxon kings were crowned. Bordered by parks and the River Thames, Kingston is a busy retail centre with all the familiar High Street chains as well as more select boutiques. Right in the town centre, there’s Bentalls, a large shopping centre which attracts big crowds every weekend.
Along the River Thames, you’ll find a variety of lively bars and restaurants, but the whole of Kingston offers a huge number of shops, cafes and bistros, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs.
There are a number of annual festivals held in Kingston; most of them are organized by the Council and Kingston Arts Council, such as Kingston Readers' Festival, Think-in-Kingston and the Festival of the Voice. For exhibitions, there’s the Stanley Picker Gallery (run by Kingston University) and Kingston Museum, which has changing exhibitions on the first floor.
The Rotunda, in the centre of Kingston, offers a bowling alley, a fitness centre, a 14-screen Odeon multiplex cinema and a handful of restaurants. Along the riverside, south of Kingston Bridge, you’ll find Kingston’s popular theatre, the Rose, which opened in 2008.
In the town centre you’ll also find the well-known sculpture by David Mach, called ‘Out of Order’: red telephone boxes that lean against one another like dominoes.