Bushy Park, with its mile-long Chestnut Avenue created by Sir Christopher Wren, its golden 17th-century Diana Fountain, restored 18th-century cascade and water garden, and herds of fallow and red deer, is second-largest of London’s eight Royal Parks after Richmond, and is at the heart of the three communities known as the Hamptons - Hampton, Hampton Wick and Hampton Hill.
Clustered around the edges of the park, which sits north of Hampton Court Palace and 13 miles south-west of central London, each of the three neighbourhoods has its own character.
The riverside village of Hampton still has the feel of the fashionable 18th-century resort where the great actor-manager of the day, David Garrick, bought a grand Palladian mansion and built a riverside Temple to Shakespeare that is a popular wedding venue today.
Hampton Hill has a pretty high street with cafés, boutiques, useful everyday shops including a butchers and a long-established bakers, along with a theatre. Hampton Wick, next to Kingston Bridge, has pubs and a large development of new homes on the site of the old Normansfield Hospital where, in the mid-19th century, Dr John Langdon Down gave his name to Down’s syndrome.
What is there to buy in Hampton
The Hamptons have a wide range of homes, from period cottages to Georgian houses; Victorian terraces, semi-detached and detached houses, and houses and flats from the Twenties onwards. At Taggs Island, in the Thames close to Hampton, there are houseboats ranging from the ramshackle to the glamorous.
Estate agent Chris Donovan, from the Hampton Hill branch of Snellers, says property prices have now topped the last peak, in autumn 2007. “The Hamptons is an unusual area,” he says. “No two houses are exactly the same and price per square foot is not necessarily the best indicator of value.
Factors such as school catchment areas, distance to the train station, the age and period of the property and the plot size are more important.”
Hampton Hill has many roads of smaller Victorian terrace houses that are popular with young families.
Hampton Wick is in the Kingston KT8 East Molesey postcode, which also includes Hampton Court. The Hampton TW12 postcode covers Hampton and Hampton Hill but also includes part of Fulwell.
Hampton’s best roads are Ormond Avenue, Ormond Crescent, Ormond Drive, and nearby streets. Hampton Hill’s best streets are Park Road and St James’s Road.
The Mews is a mixed-used office and residential development in Hampton Hill High Street. Prices range from £295,000 for a one-bedroom flat to £545,000 for a three-bedroom flat. Through IDM Estates (020 7739 1650).
Longfords is a development of three traditional houses, four contemporary houses and a gatehouse in Kingston Road, in nearby Teddington, due for completion early next year. Prices range from £695,000 for the two-bedroom gatehouse to £1,295,000 for a four-bedroom traditional house. Visit (www.qdevelopments.com) (020 7223 1200).
Graburn Place is a development by Newcourt Residential of four houses, all with five bedrooms, across the river in Hampton Court Village, East Molesey. One house remains and it is ready for occupation. The asking price is £2.25 million. Visit newcourt.co.uk (01883 621120).
The area attracts
Young couples and families are drawn here by the excellent local schools and the green spaces, particularly Bushy Park. The area is not particularly transient, so there is a strong sense of community. According to Snellers’ Chris Donovan, many sellers moving away from the Hamptons remark how sad they are to be leaving their next-door neighbours.
The Hamptons are cheaper than nearby Teddington and Twickenham. The best value to be had is in the Nursery Lands area north of Old Farm Road. This is a large, low-rise estate built in the Seventies, where three-bedroom “right-to-buy” houses sell for about £320,000.
Families become very attached to the Hamptons and there is a strong local market, with lots of opportunities for upsizing and downsizing.
The Hamptons are served by four train stations all on the same line to Waterloo, via Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. From Hampton the journey takes 46 minutes, from Teddington 38 minutes, Fulwell 43 minutes and Hampton Wick 35 minutes. All stations are in Zone 6 and an annual travelcard costs £2,288.
Richmond council is Conservative-controlled, and Band D council tax stands at £1,586.39
Pictures by Graham Hussey
Shops and restaurants
Shops close to the station in Hampton include a Little Waitrose. In Station Road, The Cheese and Wine Company specialises in lines from small producers, and there is a café attached.
Ohso is good for gifts, there is Shaun’s Butcher’s and a branch of The Cavan Bakery, a family-owned craft bakery established for 83 years. Hampton Hill High Street has a livelier feel, with lots of young mothers and their children hanging out at the Greenacres kids’ café. There is also a traditional butcher’s shop — Robson’s Butcher & Deli — along with two branches of The Cavan Bakery and a greengrocers.
Branching Out is a stylish florist, and Deborah and Alistair Burnside’s two Attic shops, full of stock with an industrial edge, are the kind of unusual interiors and furniture shops that should be in every high street. Hampton Hill eateries include La Familia, a Portuguese tapas bar, and Refectory, a pub which offers “innovative” cocktails and an all-day food menu.
What the locals say on Twitter
@JackLeonColton The Bangladeshi in Hampton is just fantastic
@braithwaite_mr went to the hampton outdoor heated pool this week - a great place on a hot summer's day.
@PrestigeFlgCo We have many customers in Hampton & often reward ourselves with a riverside walk & delicious dinner at TheMuteSwan after work
Bushy Park was established by Henry VIII for deer hunting after it was confiscated along with Hampton Court from Cardinal Wolsey in 1529. At the centre of local life and with more than 1,000 acres, it has the famous Diana Fountain and Chestnut Avenue, a restored water garden and cascade, cafés and a playground. Cardinal Park in Wensleydale Road has a bowling club, tennis court and children’s playgrounds
Leisure and the arts
Hampton Hill Playhouse in the High Street puts on local amateur dramatic shows and is rented out for conferences. Hampton Pool, in the High Street halfway between Hampton and Hampton Hill, is a heated lido open year-round with a programme of summer music events. David Lloyd Leisure in Staines Road has indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The nearest council-owned pool is Teddington Pools and Fitness Centre in Vicarage Road. Fulwell Golf Club is in Wellington Road.
Three things you may not know about Hampton
Where will you find protons for breakfast?
The National Physical Laboratory, the organisation responsible for scientific measurement, based in Hampton Hill, holds a six-week course, one evening a week, for people interested in science. The course is called “Protons for Breakfast” and details can be found by clicking the Educate & Explore button on the laboratory’s website, www.npl.co.uk. The next course will be held on Thursday evenings from November 6, 2014.
The mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing worked at the laboratory, and between 1945 and 1947 lived at Ivy House in Hampton High Street, which now has a blue plaque in his memory. Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952 and was posthumously pardoned by the Queen on Christmas Eve last year.
Who created an artificial 12-mile river to solve a water shortage?
King Charles I built the Longford River, which runs through Bushy Park, to supply water to Hampton Court.
How does a floating home connect a rock band with a British music hall impresario whose name became synonymous with chaos?
In 1986, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour bought Astoria, a large houseboat moored at Hampton, and turned it into a recording studio. The Astoria was built in 1911 by Fred Karno — born Frederick Westcott in Exeter in 1866.
Karno started out as a comic and acrobat and is credited with developing silent slapstick comedy in music halls, including the custard pie-in-the-face gag. He helped launch the careers of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy. At one time, Karno owned Taggs Island in the Thames at Hampton. He rebuilt the Thames Hotel there as the “Karsino” and had a music hall included. The building, large enough to hold a 90-piece orchestra on its roof, was demolished in 1971. The phrase “Fred Karno’s Circus” is used to describe chaotic situations.
There are also good state schools. All the state primary schools are judged “good” or better by the Ofsted education watchdog. Judged “excellent” are: Hampton Hill Juniors (co-ed, ages seven to 11) in St James’s Avenue; Hampton Infants (co-ed, ages three to seven) in Ripley Road; St John the Baptist CofE Juniors (co-ed, ages seven to 11) in Lower Teddington Road; Collis Primary School in Fairfax Road, and Hampton Wick Infants (co-ed, ages three to seven) in Normansfield Avenue.
A state free primary school, St Mary’s Hampton CofE, in Oldfield Road, opened in September 2013.
Comprehensive and grammar
Waldegrave School for Girls (ages 11 to 16), a top comprehensive school in Fifth Cross Road, Twickenham, gets good results at GCSE and is judged “outstanding”. The other local comprehensive, Teddington School (co-ed, ages 11 to 16) in Broom Road, is judged “good”. The two Kingston grammar schools, Tiffin School and Tiffin Girls’ School, are within easy reach.
Private and prep
The two top local private schools — Hampton School (boys, ages 11 to 18) and The Lady Eleanor Holles School (girls, ages seven to 18) — sit side-by-side in spacious playing fields in Hanworth Road, and are among the area’s major attractions for families.
Athelstan House School in Percy Road and Jack and Jill School in Nightingale Road (both co-ed, ages two to seven) are the local private pre-prep schools.
The three local prep schools are Twickenham Preparatory (girls, ages four to 11; boys, ages four to 13) in Hampton High Street; The Mall (boys, ages four to 13) in Hampton Road, Twickenham, and Denmead (boys, ages three to 11; girls, ages three to seven) in Wensleydale Road. Denmead is run by the same educational trust as Hampton School.