15 REASONS WHY WE LOVE LIVING IN EPSOM AND EWELL
Posted by Francesca De Franco on 23 May 2019
Epsom might have been rated as one of the worst places to live in Surrey by one disgruntled resident in a recent SurreyLive article (lambasted for too many chavs of an evening – surely that’s all towns?!?). However, recently, Epsom & Ewell was listed by national newspaper The Independent as one of the top ten happiest places to live in England. This was based on Royal Mail’s Happiness Index, which looks at factors including: life expectancy, crime rates, carbon emissions and personal wellbeing.
We agree with The Independent, so here are 15 reasons (there are many more!) why we love living in Epsom and Ewell…
The great community feel
They’re a friendly bunch in the borough and those that have lived in the area all their lives are the most welcoming. Epsom & Ewell boasts a lot of independent shops, cafés and eateries. You’ll find you’re on first name terms with the owners in no time.
Then there are all the community events such as the Ewell Village Fair, Nonsuch Park open day and The Ewell Court Residents Annual Duck Race (to name a few) as well as the Epsom Christmas Lights Switch On event.
The lovely parks and green spaces
Epsom & Ewell is blessed with lots of lovely green spaces, which are ideal for giving the kids a run around or taking the dog for a walk. Here are just a few: Nonsuch Park, The Hogsmill, Epsom Downs, Horton Park, Ewell Court Park, Alexandra Recreation Ground, Epsom Common Local Nature Reserve and Rosebery Park. The latter four have been recognised by the Green Flag Award scheme and are amongst the UK’s very best green spaces.
The borough boasts lots of amazing schools, which attract many people to the area. Danetree Primary School was very recently rated outstanding in every area at its last Ofsted inspection. Here are some links to find out more about our local primary and secondary schools.
Great train links into central London
For a day trip or those working in the big smoke it’s a very convenient commute into London. From Epsom train station you can easily get to three main London stations (Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge) in around 30 minutes. Even better for residents, the Oyster Zone was extended to Epsom on 25th of February 2019.
Higher education options
Not many towns can boast their own university, but Epsom can with its University for Creative Arts (UCA). Alongside its fashion and graphics courses there is also a business school for the creative industries. Then there’s Nescot (North East Surrey College of Technology), which has great facilities and offers full and part-time vocational courses and apprenticeships to learners and employers from Surrey.
Great cycle paths
I confess that I can’t vouch for these from personal experience, but I’m told there are very good routes and the council has also developed a cycle map to help families discover some of the beautiful areas of the borough. There’s even a Round the Borough Hike and Bike event which takes place in May.
The Epsom Derby
Of course, Epsom is home to the Derby – officially the Investec Derby – Britain’s richest horse race and generally regarded as the greatest flat race in the world. Well over 100,000 people flock to the event annually (it’s held on the first Saturday of June) from all over the UK and further afield. It’s a great day out with plenty going on alongside the racing itself. You may even get to spot the Queen! Ladies Day, which takes place on the Friday before, is also hugely popular and is a great excuse to get dressed up and celebrate. Lots of local bars and restaurants host Ladies Day events such as bottomless brunch, where the Prosecco is flowing. Ladies keep your eyes peeled!
Events at the Epsom Downs Racecourse
The home of the Derby is also the venue for numerous events including the Bank Holiday Family Fun Day (this year’s is on the 26th of August) and the Summer Nights Rewind series of 70’s, 80’s, 90s and 00s music nights.
Epsom salt, which is a beauty and health treatment, was discovered in – you guessed it – Epsom. Not actually a salt, it is in fact a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate and is a natural exfoliant and an anti-inflammation remedy that can be used to treat dry skin, sore muscles and small wounds. It is a stress-reliever and has also been reported to fight illness. It can be added to any bath or foot soak to create an at home spa experience (it’s a natural deodoriser, so will freshen pongy feet too!). Read more about its history here: Epsom Salt
The area has quite an arts heritage. We are home to the famous Laine Theatre Arts School (Laines) and the Epsom Playhouse, which has been standing proud since 1984. Our local theatre, which seats 450, has a wide and varied programme of events and plays host to major leading theatrical companies. You can indulge in opera, dance, drama, comedy, variety, popular children’s shows and more; and you don’t have to pay London prices!
Since 2015 the town has hosted its own arts festival – the MGSO4 Epsom and Ewell Arts Festival (MgSO4 being the chemical formula for Magnesium Sulfate aka Epsom Salts). MGSO4 is a charity set up to promote arts and music in Epsom & Ewell – “Our vision is put the creative arts at the centre of our community; discovering and showcasing talent, building sustainable businesses and inspiring the next generation.” Find out more here:
The first SATISFIED EYE International Film Festival was held over three days in Epsom last year with the aim of bringing together film lovers, filmmakers and film shakers in the “vibrant and thriving community.” The next one will be held October 11th-13th 2019.
The Ashley Centre has over 50 shops ranging from clothes, shoe and card shops to chocolate shops, a department store and food shops. The high street has many more shops including the iconic Lester Bowden, which has been around for over 120 years and provides ‘distinguished’ menswear, ladieswear, country wear, school uniform and equestrian wear.
In the Market Place/Square (by the clock tower), there is a traditional market on Thursdays and Saturdays (9am – 4pm), which has stalls selling products such as eggs, fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, meat and clothes. You’ll find street traders and promotional stalls on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Also based in Epsom’s Market Square is a Farmers Market, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month between 9:30am – 1:30pm.
There are a select number of Surrey Farmers Markets, which all aim to bring quality produce from the best local producers. You’ll find a wide and diverse collection of great products originating from Surrey’s cottage industries including award-winning fresh meat; poultry, game fish and seafood; seasonal vegetables and herbs, artisan breads and cheeses, savoury pies, local fruit juices, seasonal plants, plenty of delicious baked goods as well as handcrafted non-food items.
If you do want to get away, Epsom is a great gateway. The town is very handy for the hub of the M25 and both Gatwick and Heathrow airports are very close and easy to get to. Central London is less than 18 miles away and the Surrey Hills are just eight miles from the town centre.
Epsom has good shopping facilities, but Kingston, Guildford and Sutton shopping centres are just a short drive away if you need them.
Epsom and Ewell boasts plenty of sports clubs, leisure centres, golf clubs, nature reserves, libraries and even a museum at Bourne Hall, which hosts many exhibitions and childrens’ activities during school holidays. There are also children-focussed venues such as Once Upon a Time, Jupiter Jo’s, Giggles Soft Play and Hobbledown. I might be on my own here, but I also love the fact that we have a great community recycling centre in the area: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/community-recycling-centres/epsom
Bars, pubs, restaurants and nightlife
Epsom town centre has many of the restaurant and coffee shop chains that you would expect to see on any busy high street such as McDonalds, Ask, Prezzo, Café Rouge, Pizza Express, Starbucks, Bill’s etc. However, there are many ‘small chain’ eateries, such as Caballo Lounge, Bamboo Basket, MAKIYAKI and Blacks Burgers, and a thriving number of independent places such as Sicily, Organico, Cafe Viriato, Everest Spice, Il Grande, Yo Sarnie and El Patio and away from the town centre you have Jess and the beanstalk and in Ewell Village and at the heart of the Village – All Things Nice.
Again pubs are a mix of the familiar chains including Wetherspoons and Fuller’s alongside pubs such as Ye Olde Kings Head, The Derby Arms and The Marquis of Granby. Read the review of the recently opened Be At One cocktail bar here.
The town even has a few nightclubs for those that want to throw some late-night shapes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and if you are not already part of the Epsom and Ewell Families Facebook community do come and join us. We’re a friendly bunch and we’re great at providing information and recommendations on everything from places to eat and swimming lessons to plumbers and financial advisors.
Fran xx (co-written with Dee)