Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!! Crossroads occur time and again in all our lives. Making right decisions is probably the most complicated task one ever faces. It may involve different aspects of life such as career moves or buying a house in a nice location, or relationship matters etc etc. We were at crossroads a few years ago when we had to decide on where we would buy our first flat. In a city like London where there are so many beautiful towns where you can imagine yourself to be living in, it is quite a nerve-wracking task. So, to kick off the search we began to write down the places we really liked and much to our surprise we found most of the towns to be on the west and south west. Some of our most favourites are Richmond, Hampton-on-the-hill, Kingston-upon-thames and St Margarets. And then we found a rather nice way to spend our weekends scouting these towns and many more down south. We would go about driving and have a cup of coffee in the local cafe and sometimes take a good long walk.There have been times where we would fall in love with a town as soon we entered while some felt like a maybe/maybe-not. After a while, we got to a point where we narrowed it down to being near Richmond and Kingston. And then the real search began. If I had to say one thing that we learnt quickly, it was to reconsider our priorities.As we tend to do with most things in life, compromise plays a huge part in the house hunting process too. This made the search a little less difficult. So, what did we choose then?
We decided to go for a lovely place in the quaintish town of Isleworth. It might not have ticked all the boxes for us, but it was love at first sight. Isleworth is kind of sandwiched between a few lovely towns*I am not getting into details with the dodgy bits. However, what I can say is if you are an Indian and you want to buy anything related to Indian food, then you have got ever so colourful Hounslow only a few minutes away.Moving onto the quieter side, you have St Margarets road which is really nice and particularly good to live with children.Then there is Twickenham which is more lively and has a neat high street. Twickenham is a tad bit on the expensive side with some good schools and nice restaurants. If you are a rugby fan. then you are probably familiar with the area already or have at least heard of the famous stadium.Twickenham Rugby stadium to me, is a place where I get to look at a really interesting crowd on match days. Nothing more! I find it a bit difficult to plan certain activities around town during weekends when there is a match scheduled. More so if you are driving to tescos. But if you only want to walk around doing random little things, then you should be okay. Talking about shopping, I have to mention about the TK max and Sports direct at Ivybridge Retails, both of which are pretty decent with basic collections. You are not probably going to find it to be a great shopping experience in Isleworth, but all in all, you will get most of what you need to eat at the least.
If you want to have an evening out or shop a little more to your hearts content, you’ve got Richmond only about 7 minutes away. This place is a real beauty.There are beautiful houses and dainty cafes. A really nice high street with major retail shops and outstanding schools and great food too. Amazing landscape of the Richmond Park, beautiful riverside walks, and easy access into central London are an added bonus. This place just fits the bill for us. Oh well, but the truth is we can only be dreaming and gazing at the estate agents window secretly hoping to win a lottery or something.
A few minutes further away from Richmond, you will get to Kingston. This place is vibrant and full of youth. It is easily one of the best places to shop in west London.
Moving towards central london, the next stop from Isleworth is Brentford which is only normal. It could do with a little more uplifting in some parts. But the best part is probably the Kew gardens. Basically, all of Kew is a pretty looking village. I often visit the Kew retail park which may only have five shops but it has got great stuff. To the very least, you will thank me when you walk around the M&S food hall.
So you might now wonder what has got Isleworth then? Although, there isn’t much to list, this old town has a few special places.
Firstly,If you are a lover of charming Victorian and Georgian type of houses and big family homes,Isleworth has a good number of them at somewhat affordable prices.This part of Isleworth is called the “Old Isleworth” where the houses are most sought after.Take a walk in Church Street to look at some of the most prettiest houses and stylish apartments. And the best school in Isleworth called the “Blue School” is one of the prominent features of Old Isleworth. One of Isleworth’s notable residents was artist Vincent Van Gogh somewhere during the late 1800’s. A blue plaque exists on the house he lived (If you are like me who loves taking random pictures of special little things-Here are a few clicks around town)
Open Space and things to do with Kids
Taking slow walks in the Redlees park, feeding ducks, pigeons and squirrels at Silverhall Park, or a quick trip to the library for story time are our kind of special things to do. If you have got little children, you are pretty much full up with many things to do. Isleworth also features Syon park and Osterley Park for a great day out. There is a really nice play centre adjacent to the Redlees Park called the One O’Clock Club. This place has been running for a very long time apparently. They have a good variety of toys to play indoors and a relatively large outdoor play area for summertime. So, this place is sure to keep your tiny tots engaged for a few hours even on a snowy afternoon. Besides this club, there are a few children centres around town where you can go for play dates and take part in different kinds of activities each week.
Food and Leisure
Do you love running? If yes, then you are perhaps going to love going for a quick round into the beautiful Richmond Park via a long footbridge from Isleworth or You can hit the gym at Isleworth Leisure Centre. If you are very social, there are also group exercise classes to join and have fun. For those lazy weekend mornings when you wake up with a hangover, there is Greedies on South street serving delicious English breakfast and mostly good food on all days. If you only fancy a cake and some tea then there is the lovely South Street cafe which is very family friendly and hosts various themed events throughout the year. For Sunday roasts and a pint of beer, there are a couple of nice pubs. The Coach & Horses on London Rd and the Apprentice pub by the riverside are good picks. Apparently,The London Apprentice pub is rated one of the best riverside pubs. For really mouth watering curries and rice you have Cinnamon Lounge and Anjum’s. These are probably the best places we found. But there are always new cafes and restaurants popping up, so you are sure to find more.
Healthcare and other amenities
In terms of hospital care and local GPs, the facilities are only decent. The West Middlesex hospital is conveniently located with easy access via a number of bus routes. The service at the hospital can sometimes be surprising. For e.g My experience of giving birth was not the best but I am glad it is over. There are a couple of NHS clinics too but the best we found was the Richmond Lock Surgery at St Margarets Rd.
Besides the Isleworth Leisure Centre and Library which has a nice gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and studio rooms for group classes, there is also Isleworth Public Hall on south street where interesting events such as singing workshops, or mum&baby Yoga take place on a weekly basis.
Transport and Rail services
Nearest National Rail stations
Nearest Underground stations
Although I do know that the A4 and M4 are easily accessible and Heathrow is only about 25 minutes away, I would still suggest you use your personal navigators to help you better.
Being close to the airport, “Aircraft noise” might be one of those things you hear people complain about a lot in this side of London. We complained too! But much to our surprise, we stopped noticing it way sooner than we thought we would.
Note :If you are looking to move to Isleworth with school going kids, then perhaps you might want to take a look at this great website.
All in all, choosing a location entirely depends on individual circumstances and affordability. What might seem ideal to me need not necessarily mean the same to you. So, whatever you choose, I hope it turns out to be the best for you and your family.
*It might help if you kept the map open to understand the geography.