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Staines is a town to the south west of London situated on the river Thames. I have lived near this town for my entire life so I have seen it develop from a pretty rundown and exhausted looking centre to a far more modern and cosmopolitan town with a good number of facilities for visitors. Staines has recieved a makeover in the last decade in the form of the Two Rivers retail park which includes large national retail shops such as Next, Waitrose, HMV, TK Maxx, JD sports and more along with a better selection of restaurants such as Ask, Nandos, Pizza Hut and a selection of nice cafes. The Two Rivers spreads over a fairly large area and has been nicely landscaped with the river Colne cutting through the area in a couple of places. The other shopping centre in town the Elmsleigh has also recieves a makeover and although small for a shopping centre it looks much better than it used to with a glass ceiling allowing light to flow into the building which creates a nice effect. Both shopping centres combine with the high street shops to make Staines one of the best places in the area to visit for shopping. However despite all the changes made in Staines one thing that will not change is some of the people that frequent it. Going into Staines on a week day can be a somewhat demoralising experience as youths, single mothers and the unemployed roam the streets and at the weekend there is often still a number of the local chav brigade out and about. This makes Staines for me a place where you come in and get what you need but the atmosphere of the town itself isn't the best and this is why I wouldn't be particularly happy whiling away an afternoon here sitting in cafes or such like, its just not that sort of place.
Staines is a medium sized market town located in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne. Staines being not too far from me, is quite a pleasant place to shop and go out in the evening. It was established as a Roman settlement many years ago and is today one of the largest towns in Surrey. There are many listed buildings around the town, especially in the high street and this - together with River Thames location -helps make the town more attractive, fighting against the influx of office complexes being built. There is the Elmsleigh shopping centre right in the town centre and this is not the newest of shopping areas but is home to many shops including M&S, Bay Trading, River Island, Our Price, Dixons, Orange Shop, and a few sports shops. The recently completed Two-Rivers shopping complex is a outside large retail area with shops like Currys, CarpetRite, First Sport etc. There is also a mega-store Boots and smaller shops like Toni & Guy and Thorntons ice cream. Staines must be the best place in the area if you are after card shops and sports shops as there are so many of them its crazy! The next stage of the new development will be completed soon introducing the Warner Village 10 screen cinema and Holmes Place health club with indoor swimming pool. In the evening, going to this town is more relaxing than nearer towns and offers a modest amount of entertainment including over 10 pubs in the town centre, a nightclub, and a few restaurants. Because of its location, about 10/15 mins drive of Heathrow airport has made Staines very convenient for large companies to locate there. Mcvities, Courage and Del Monte all have there UK headquarters in Staines and Bupa, British Gas, and North Surrey Water all have major offices there. Living in Staines is somthing I cant comment on because I dont live there and I dont even live in the borough but the house prices are very high, taking into consideration London being nearby, t he mainline station also going straight to Waterloo and near the M25, so its hardly surprising. I found the average price of a 2-bed flat about £140,000 (my own estimate) and that was in the not so nice parts - of which there arent too many of. People tell me the nicer areas are around Spelthorne Leisure centre, also the new estate by the old station is nice and of course towns nearby like Shepperton and Wraysbury go even more upmarket.
The first thing that strikes you about Staines is the name. Who ever would want to live in a place with a name like that? However when you look into it a little more closely you find out there is plenty of history to the town. There was a settlement there dating back to about 4000 BC. When the Romans arrived they built a camp there with the name Pontes because it was the lowest bridging point on the River Thames. After the Romans left the Anglo Saxons demolished the buildings to leave rubble or stones there - and the Anglo Saxon for stone is Stanna - hence the name Staines. The town is situated on the River Thames just inside the M25 and about 5 miles south of Heathrow Airport. The A30 is also close by making access very easy. Like most towns it has its good and bad points. The shopping centre is being considerably enlarged. The Elmsleigh Centre was built about fifteen years ago, and recently a new shopping area - The Two Rivers centre has been opened. Most of the large stores are there. Woolworths, marks and Spencer, W H Smith, Debenhams and many others. For groceries there is a Waitrose in the new Two Rivers shopping area, and Somerfield / Gateway in the Elmsleigh Centre. Then just outside the centre there is a large Sainsbury's as well. Further developments including a new cinema complex are being built, and this should bring in more people for entertainment. Fortunately there is plenty of parking, and even on most Saturdays there is little problem in parking, although you do have to pay, but this is normal these days. Parking is in a variety of areas around the town, and is either surface parking or in multi-storey parks - take your choice. For those wanting to take refreshment there are plenty of pubs - at least eleven in a comparatively small area. There are also plenty of restaurants, ranging from Italian, Indian, Steak Houses, and of course McDonalds. For those wanting a coffee after shopping there are some co ffee shops. The best is a Costa's in the Two Rivers area. So there is plenty in Staines now, and with the new developments it is likely to attract more people. Judge for yourself.