Teddington, London

Discover why Teddington was chosen as one of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2022 in their words.

Stroud, Gloucestershire

There’s just no pleasing some people. Gorgeous green spaces, dreamy Thames-side towpaths, a vibrant high street — even under Covid restrictions — and a stalwart community spirit earned Teddington top spot on our London list last year, but some of the capital’s tastemakers were decidedly unimpressed. “Is Teddington REALLY ‘the best place to live in London’?” Time Out asked, lamenting the absence of railway-arch breweries and natural wine bars. 

The locals don’t care a home-grown fig what the manbun massive thinks: they’re too busy dog-walking, jogging or cycling through beautiful Bushy Park, paddleboarding on the Thames, tucking into brunch at Café Benedict or relaxing with a pint in the riverside garden at the Anglers pub. Indeed Jigsaw has closed, and Savills estate agency is opening in its place. Need we say more?  

Lucy Rock, the director of local business association Teddington Together, moved here from Shepherd’s Bush a decade ago for the top-class schools and parks, and regards the 35-minute train ride to Waterloo station as a small price to pay for the “cosmopolitan” feel, easy access to nature and friendly atmosphere. “I’d compare it to Canada — everyone says, ‘Hey there! How’s it going?’ ”

That sense of solidarity came to the fore during the pandemic, when Teddington Together helped to organise Rockin’ the Lockin’, a 24-hour virtual concert to raise funds for the much-loved Landmark Arts Centre and other local charities. With the support of Jed Mercurio (the creator of Line of Duty lives in the area), the venue was kept afloat, and next month it’s hosting a real-life reprise (May 14 and 15).

 Head to Hampton Pool for open-air swimming, Awesome Studios for dance and fitness classes — children and adults — or the luxe Lensbury Club for tennis, spa treatments and watersports on the river (adult monthly membership £157, or £262 for two). 

Any downsides to living in Teddington? Aircraft noise (and pollution) are often cited as drawbacks, and plans for a cinema are on ice until a site can be secured. You’ll need to stock up on descaler to counter the hard water, and the train to town is too much of a schlep for some — although that’s one reason why house prices remain lower here than in Richmond.

There’s still social distancing in Bushy Park: you’re advised to stay at least 50 metres from the free-roaming deer, which can be a little too friendly when trying to get treats. And the relaxed, outdoorsy vibe has its pitfalls. “Everyone’s in athleisure-wear,”  Rock says. “I wore mine up to central London, thinking it was normal — and soon realised it’s just not.”

High Street

You get two high streets for your money here: the chichi High Street, a harmonious mix of Georgian houses and Victorian shopfronts, and the slightly more utilitarian Broad Street, where there are plans for a spruce-up involving statues and murals by local artists.

Independent outlets rule the roost, with established local faves including Teddington Cheese (130 varieties), the friendly Good Wine Shop and the Refill Larder: take your own containers for washing-up liquid, rice, coffee, cereal and Rubies in the Rubble ketchup. Opening a vinyl shop during the pandemic might strike some as foolhardy, but Roan Records (established November 2020) has already found its groove. There are handy chains — Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S Food, Boots, Waterstones — and Teddington Hardware and Teddington Essentials sell everything you never think you’ll need until you really, really do.

Sporty types will find specialist cricket, tennis and running shops, and there’s a clutch of boutiques for women looking to leave the athleisure-wear era behind. You could spend weeks eating and drinking your way down the main drag: locals name-check the King’s Head pub, Café Benedict, the Fallow Deer (homemade fish finger brioche bap, £6.65), a new Italian restaurant called La Pesca and the long-established Shambles, where you can sip a 60-day barrel-aged Negroni (£9.50) while checking out the menu of Italian dishes made with seasonal British produce. 

Connections

Teddington station has direct services to London Waterloo — there are up to five trains an hour and the journey takes 35 to 40 minutes. Most useful of the many stops en route are Richmond (13 minutes) and Clapham Junction (25 minutes). There’s no main road through Teddington, so driving to the city centre can take an hour — but the tranquil feel is ample compensation. Heading out of town? The M3 and M25 are close at hand, and it’s a 20-minute drive to Heathrow airport.

Broadband

There is some full-fibre in the area, but the fastest option is usually Virgin Media cable broadband. Twickenham or Hampton are the closest areas with lots of full-fibre coverage.

Schools

Three local primaries are rated outstanding by Ofsted and feature in The Sunday Times Parent Power guide: Collis (last inspected in 2014), St Mary’s and St Peter’s C of E (2008) and St James’s RC (2015). Outstanding state secondaries include Waldegrave School (2018) and Grey Court School (2018), which also make the Parent Power list; Turing House, a free school that opened in 2015, is deemed good by Ofsted.

The Tiffin grammars in nearby Kingston are among the best state secondaries in the country: the girls’ school ranks fourth in the Parent Power rankings, with the boys coming in at 21st. And there are two high-powered independent secondaries up the road in Hampton: Lady Eleanor Holles for girls (fees £7,246 a term), which comes 18th in the Parent Power league table, and the Hampton School for boys (22nd; fees £7,300).

Best Address

Sought-after Fairfax and Clarence Roads are in the catchment area for Collis primary and perfectly positioned for the high street, the station and Bushy Park — a detached five-bedroom house will set you back upwards of £2 million. Two-bedroom Victorian houses start at £630,000 on the streets off Church Road, north of the main drag; three-bedroom properties here run from £800,000. Flats near the Thames start at £410,000 and four-bedroom houses in the new Teddington Riverside development cost about £2 million. 

Property prices

Average house price: £815,000 
Growth (or fall) since 2020: 15% 
Source: Halifax using Land Registry data

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Prices are correct as of April 2022.

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