“ London Borough of Sutton „
The borough of Sutton is part of South London includes other towns such as Carshalton and Wallington and is often thought of as being one of the better parts of London to live in. There are a number of high performing grammar schools in the borough including Wilson's and Sutton Grammar and the borough is consistently represented as being one of the best environmentally to live in as the environment is one of the Liberal Democrat council's main priorities.
However there are downsides to living in Sutton as although many of the residents of the borough of Sutton are rich many are also poor and crime is fairly high in some areas and although the police force do their best to prevent crime it has always been a problem as in much else of London. I would recommend that you do not walk alone in some parts of Sutton if you do not know the area well as muggings is a fairly common incidence
I have been a Suttonite for my whole life so I thought I'd write a review and detail some of the weird and wacky characters in Sutton as well as Sutton as a whole. However, I won't talk about the schools as I have no children!
Sutton is located to the south east of London and is considered to be part of London. To get to London, the best way is to catch the fast train to Victoria which takes about 25 minutes. There are numerous buses that also go into London but they obviously take much longer. It is for this reason that many people have moved to Sutton. It is close enough to London to get you there easily but far enough for you to escape all the hassle
In terms of areas around Sutton, Croydon and Kingston are the more popular destinations if you want to do more hardcore shopping or drinking as these are bigger and have a massive choice. Croydon is only 10 minutes by train and Kingston is about 30 minutes by bus. You also have the area borough of Epsom and Ewell nearby which is only about 15 minutes drive but feels like you're out in the sticks. There are plenty of lovely green areas and of course there is the Epsom Racecourse which has its own attractions.
Sutton high street is basically one long road. It is not one of these high streets that go off on different roads but don't let that fool you, it will still take you a good 20 - 30 minutes to walk from the very top of the high street to the very bottom. The whole way down you will be surrounded by shops which include the usual things like Debenhams, M&S, Woolworths, BHS, HMV, Zavvi, Waterstones, numerous phone shops (all basically opposite each other), Curry's Digital, lots of sport shops, etc. As far as I'm concerned, there's more or less everything you need. There are always new shops opening and I have certainly noticed that the quality of these shops has steadily been increasing over the years. In terms of Supermarkets, you have got a Morrisson's and Asda in Sutton but also have a Tesco and Sainsbury very nearby so there is plenty to choose from.
In terms of night life, there is plenty of that in Sutton. Within a radius of 2 minute walking distance, you have about 10 pubs / bars and 3 clubs (Vodka Revolution being the largest one). The close proximity of these pubs and clubs is very useful but it does mean that any new places that aren't located conveniently don't really get a chance to compete. The majority of the pubs are 21 and over with the exception of the Wetherspoons pub which is 18 and over. Apparently, a few years ago this pub was making one of the highest profits of all the pubs in Surrey so that tells you how busy it gets.
There are plenty of restaurants in Sutton. These range from the bog standard Pizza Hut to Italian, Chinese, Thai, Spanish and Indian. More recently, Burgershack by Smollensky's has opened up. This was originally a Smollensky's bar by they changed it. There are plenty of restaurants with varying price tags and all fairly close to each other. There's also the usual fast food places like McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, etc.
In terms of things to do, there is an Empire cinema which has around 7 screens and always shows up to date listings. There is also a bowling alley with many lanes, a Riley's pool and snooker club which has about 20 tables to choose from. On a nice weekend, there is sometimes a miniature fun fair that happens at the top of the high street. On the odd occasion, there are various markets that will appear all the way down the high street such as a farmers market, German market or French market. You may also see displays of dancing or musicians in the street to keep you entertained. There are also a couple of good gym's nearby and a fairly small park just off the min high street that is nice in the summer as well as a couple of larger parks nearby. Sutton library is also very good. It has recently been refurbished and looks very good.
Sutton station is a very good station. As I said previously, it takes 25 minutes to get into London and these train come around every half an hour or so. Otherwise, you can get a slow train which takes about 45 minutes. There are 4 platforms so most places nearby are within easy reach.
There really are some weird characters in Sutton. The most popular, and recently deceased, was the affectionately know "Jesus Man." He used to walk around in a white suit with a long grey beard and used to hand out money or cigarettes if you asked him for it. One of the more recent characters is the Wizard. This is a man that walks around wearing a purple cape and has a black cat. I'm yet to encounter him but if you search for him, or Jesus Man, on Facebook then you can have a look at them. The final person I'll mention is a woman that sits on a wall near the station and wears a 1930's dress and pretty much just sits and smokes all day. She is completely harmless. Obviously there are more characters in Sutton but these are my main ones. All of them are harmless really but give a lot of character to Sutton
Overall, I'd say that Sutton is a good place to live. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say that its crime free and wonderful because it isn't but it could be a hell of a lot worse!
I moved to Sutton 3 years ago and thought I would pen an opinion. I have listed the main subject headings important to any area and gone from there. ~~Brief History~~ Sutton dates back as far as year 727 and was initially called “south tun” or “south farm”. In the mid 18th century Sutton was a very small village. Growth started round about 1850 when the railway was built. At the end of the First World War, the major housing development took off and paved the way for the thriving community it is today. HG Wells once lived here. ~~Location~~ Sutton lies to the South West of London. A Sutton address will show you as a Surrey resident but the Council is a London Borough and telephone numbers are also London 020. Just to the north is Wimbledon, Croydon is to the east, Surbiton/Thames Ditton to the west and to the south is Epsom, Leatherhead, the M25, M23 and beyond. The town is well placed for proximity to Central London and also to Gatwick Airport. ~~Transport.~~ The town is well served by trains, buses and roads. Connex runs the rail services (at the moment) and there is a regular, fast service into Victoria that takes about 25 minutes with all trains going through Clapham Junction making Sutton a popular commuter area; the station is currently being modernised and at time of writing the refurbishment is at an advanced stage. Roads into Central London are heavily used, as you may expect, and a journey by car into at 7.30am can be extremely tedious with the return leg often pushing you close to tears! Running through from east to west is the A232 which will take you from Epsom all the way to Croydon and beyond into Kent; this is a busy road and a red route all the way now. Going south out of Sutton is the A217 which connects you with the beautiful Epsom Downs and the not so beautiful M25 Junction 8…!! ~~Accommodation / Property~~ Sutton has been branded “flat lan
d”. Property is predominantly 30s and 70s buildings with many of the larger Victorian examples now either converted into flats or have been replaced with new developments of town houses or purpose-built flats. It is not uncommon to find 2 adjacent older houses replaced with a dozen or more town houses. The town can be divided into 2 areas; Sutton and South Sutton. Some northern parts of the former still suffers a certain amount of deprivation but a great deal of work has gone in to improve the situation. South Sutton has larger properties in quieter, wider, tree-lined roads and consequently house prices are significantly higher. This is Surrey so prices are not necessarily cheap. As a guide, a one bed flat with a small garden will go for about £110,000 and 3 bed houses sell from about £200,000. Council Tax seems about average with a £100,000 flat rating at £770 per annum. Prices seem to be rising quite steeply this year so far. ~~Shops~~ The nearest large shopping centres are at Kingston and Croydon. However, Sutton has many of the High Street multiples: M & S, BHS, Boots, WH Smiths, Wooloworths, Currys, Dixons etc. There is the usual plethora of mobile phone shops and in fact The Link, Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse are literally adjacent to each other with the Orange Shop and DX Communication practically opposite. For food there is Safeway at one end of the High Street and Tesco at the other. Within easy reach by car are 2 Asdas, another Tesco (open 24 hrs) and a Sainsburys. It seems that whenever a shop closes, it is replaced with a fast food restaurant or another pub! ~~Schools~~ As Rachel and I are currently childless, we have not had a need yet to scrutinise the education standards and services. I do know, however, that there are 2 nursery, 40 primary and 6 secondary schools in the area as well as 4 special schools. ~~Leisure~~ Pubs are plentiful including many of the chains: JD Wetherspoon, All Ba
r One, Hoggshead, O’Neills, Rat & Parrot and Scruffy Murphys. I think the town could do with more restaurants; there is an excellent Tapas bar next door to Safeway and a couple of good Indian eateries. There is a 6 screen UCI multiplex showing all the latest releases and a couple of theatres one of which, called the Secombe Theatre, is named after the late Sir Harry Secombe. Parks are fairly plentiful including the huge Nonsuch park at Cheam. Sutton does not have it’s own public swimming baths but there are 3 within easy driving distance. Cannons now have 2 fitness clubs in the area one brand new with a swimming pool and all mod cons; the other is part of Sutton Cricket Club which, in turn, is almost adjacent to Sutton United FC. Holmes Place are also opening a massive centre in the High Street this year sometime I think so that will make the area well equipped. There are a couple of nighclubs but, to be honest, I have never tried them and probably never will… at nearly 35, I am happy with a can of beer, dooyoo.co.uk and bed by 11pm! :o) Hotels and Guest Houses are not that plentiful but there is a larger Holiday Inn just next to the High Street and seems about average in terms of price and services. ~~Jobs~~ There is not much industrial activity in Sutton; in fact there never has been really. Main employers are Sutton Council, Zurich Insurance (used to be Eagle Star) and Reed Business Publishing who have a large office block over-looking the station. As transport into London is pretty quick a lot of people work elsewhere ie Central London, Croydon etc. ~~Summary~~ Close enough to London to work there, close enough to the countryside to escape at weekends. Property is relatively inexpensive for London standards but get in quick if you are thinking of moving; prices are rising fast. Shopping and amenities are very adequate for everyday needs.
If you were to arrive at Sutton station you would probably find yourself reeling at the moment at the state of the place. It's been devestated, and with good reason. The guts have been ripped out of it as Connex revitalise what was a fairly dingy little station into a 21st Century showcase for rail transportation. I am sure it will look fairly nice when completed, but right now, it makes things pretty difficult, and when the lack of comfort is added to Connex South Central and their inability to run an adequate train service, being trapped on the station for any period of time is no fun at all! That aside, things look up from here. Or downhill, rather, as the station is situated at the top of the high street, which follows the hill downwards. Leaving the station and heading downhill you will pass several rather nice eating places and watering holes. Near the station itself stands the site of Pierre Victoire as was, which then became Deja Vu, and so on and so forth. They're all gone now, which is a great shame, but it is a testament to the other restaurants in Sutton that such an excellent value chain was driven to extinction here. Pizza Express and other such chains as McDonalds, Burger King, and Subway aside - they're hardly an attraction, although they do dominate the central shopping area - you have a wide range of places to choose from. A decent sized Garfunkels provides some excellent middle of the road fare, and their all you can eat salad bar is very good indeed. If you're feeling a little more exotic, there are several Thai or Chinese places, probably the best of them being Hins chinese restaurant at the far end of the highstreet near Tescos. Alternatively, if you are just after a fast greasy traditional English fry up you can try the greasy spoon which is about half way down the highstreet and off one of the side streets. They offer decent sandwiches out front, and the back serves fried eggs that you'd cry for.
Nevertheless, you might want a more party atmosphere while you eat. The tapas bar near the top end of the high street is the place for you then! Apart from serving SUPERB tapas (and I have eaten in several tapas places, ratingthis one the best) they have a true wild time here. On weekday nights I have seen people dancing on the tables and indluging in tequila slammers with total strangers in the most outrageous manner. A real friendly place, but rather small. It is wise to book in advance to be sure of your seat. Pubs are a plentiful resource on the High Street. Various chains have a high presence here, the largest being All Bar One, JD Wetherspoon, and the Hogshead chains. They all provide variable service. All Bar One is definitely a place to be seen and not a place to do any serious drinking, as their prices are exorbitant, but they do have a very spacious and friendly spot. The Wetherspoons is a very nice family pub, with the usual benefits of that chain (see my review of them for more details!) while the Hogshead is probably a more evening venue, serving as it does some great beer in vast quantities. As far as shopping goes, Sutton is slightly disadvantaged by being so close to Croydon. Road and rail links to Croydon are fast and easy to use, and Croydon is a much larger shopping area. However, Sutton can provide a quieter place to shop, a cleaner place to shop, and for anyone local, it should have all they need. Apart from the Tescos at the bottom end of the high street, a large Safeway can be found near the station, covering all aspects of grocery shopping. With the usual run of Waterstones, Virgin, Woolworths, HMV, various phone and clothing shops (One 2 One, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins) and the ever present BHS and Marks and Spencers, most chain stores are covered with no problems at all. Sutton also offers several speciality shops, including The Ash Can for comics (at the far end of the high street) which rivals Croydon's Forbidde
n Planet and is the only decent comic shop within easy reach, the next best being in London proper. Sutton boasts a fair amount of nightlife apart from the pubs and several clubs. A multi-screen UCI Cinema shows all the latest movies, and is cheaper to enter earlier on Sundays, should you be so inclined. A decent bowling alley is just off the high street, as is a good gym. During peak times for shopping, a ferris wheel or other fairground entertainment can be found in the high street, which is by and large a pedestrianised area. Displays of line dancing, local dance schools, or other street entertainments are common, and a market is often open down the high street. Occasionally, farmer's markets and foreign markets come, so look out for rare treats from them. There are several decent charity shops in Sutton, offering good bargains if you have the time to look. In short, Sutton is a fairly good place to come to shop, eat, and enjoy yourself without having to pay the higher prices of London. Explore and enjoy!