The hunt continues. This weekend we went to Surbiton.
Spoiler alert: we loved it.
First off, lets talk transport. Getting to/from Surbiton is very easy. You just need to catch any train out of Waterloo Station that stops there. Trains on a Saturday seemed to head in that direction every 5-7min, which is very promising. The train ride itself was roughly 40min on an 8-stop (I think) ride.
Once there, it's easy to get out of the station on either side, depending on where you want to go. As usual, we chose to go through town first. The area around the station, as well as the main street, is very busy. There are lots of stores, and lots of car traffic. However, cars still respect pedestrians, and there was no tooting. The town was good.
We then headed for lunch. We were on a clock, as the place Zoe had chosen for us, Da Lucio, was closing at 2.30pm. It was a brilliant, authentic, Italian cuisine place. Best pizza and calamari I've had in ages.
After that we headed towards the river for a stroll. The weather was good, the location was great, walking along the river was just brilliantly relaxing. Eventually we headed back towards the station, as we had a second destination.
Overall, Surbiton was a very nice area. People were nice. The food/restaurant/pub situation seemed very promising. The area in general seemed very enjoyable, and we could easily see ourselves spending idle time outside. In fact, the only thing that we couldn't properly validate was local transport. The buses were TFL (in fact getting to Surbiton is Zone 6 with an Oyster card), so using them is easy. We just really use them at all.
After all that we boarded the train and headed a bit further out, getting off at the end of the line, Hampton Court Station, to take a look and a walk around Hampton.
Hampton was interesting. It overall had more of a feel of an island town. It's more upmarket, and again with direct access to the Thames. We walked around Hampton Court Palace, taking photographs along the way. By that point we were both exhausted, and made a pit stop at the pub in the King Arms Hotel. After that, some more strolling around town, and then time to head home.
Overall, Hampton was nice. There were plenty of things to see, and again a large collection of pubs and restaurants. It is less accessible (1 train gets there, running every 30min on a Saturday) than Surbiton. It was also quite attractive ,with a number of photographic opportunities.
At the end of the day, we're ranking Surbiton right up there with Hitchin in our list of areas to buy in. Perhaps even above Hitchin, given how more frequent trains to Surbiton are. The houses, and many of the apartment buildings, were quite attractive, as was the area overall. Hampton, all other considerations aside, would likely be out of our budget.