EAST END CAFE, ALL SAINTS CHURCH
14-16 Market Place, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1JP
Kingston Chamber Concerts take place in the East End Cafe, in the original Chancel of All Saints Church. It is an intimate space, under a barrel vaulted roof – attractive surroundings and good acoustics for chamber music.
There is level access into and throughout the church.
The present church is a Grade I listed building, recently restored and redecorated. The oldest parts are 14th century, but the first church on the site was Saxon, mentioned in King Egbert’s Great Chronicle of 838. Certainly two, possibly five further Saxon kings were crowned here, including Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, on 4th September 925. He was the first king of the whole of present-day England – hence All Saint’s strapline ‘Where England began’. Regrettably, later kings since Edward the Confessor turned their back on centuries of tradition, and held their coronations somewhere else.
The whole of the church is open on concert evenings. Look out also for the fine 16th and 17th century memorials around the concert area, reflecting England’s social life – able chaps, from all parts of the country, attracted to London, making their fortunes, and retiring to the good life in Kingston.
Kingston’s daily food market is next door to All Saints – first recorded in 1245 but certainly earlier; still selling fresh food; and now a multi-ethnic street food venue.
Travelling to Kingston
Travel by Train
Waterloo to Kingston – 28 minutes (19 minutes from Clapham Junction). Then 5 minutes walk to All Saints.
Waterloo to Surbiton – 15 minutes (10 minutes from Clapham Junction). Then take a bus from the stop beside Waitrose. All the buses except the K1 go direct to Kingston town centre – but the best is the 281, which takes you right to All Saints Church, opposite John Lewis’s. There are taxi ranks at Surbiton, and opposite All Saints.
Kingston is served by multiple buses from all directions. Many stop immediately outside All Saints, which is beside John Lewis’s. Others go to Cromwell Road or Fairfield bus stations – the church is then a 5 minute walk from either.
Disabled parking bays (Blue Badge holders) are in Thames Street, Union Street and Bishop’s Hall. Parking at the Rose, Fairfield and St James car parks. All Saints is a few minutes’ walk from any of them. If you are not familiar with Kingston’s famous one way system, allow an extra 20 minutes (emergency rations and distress flare also recommended).
From Heathrow, the X26 express bus to Croydon stops across the road from All Saints. From Terminal 5, you are best to take the Tube to Hatton Cross then change to the X26 (approx 25-30 minutes), or 285 (approx 50 minutes).
From Gatwick, train to Clapham Junction, then change for Kingston or Surbiton (approx 1 hour).
Eating in Kingston
KCC’s doors and bar open 18:45 – with better than average concert hall wine. No food, but you are very welcome to bring sandwiches (also available from Waitrose, across the road).
Otherwise, Kingston has virtually every eating chain, within easy walking distance of All Saints.
The Kingston Riverside parade of restaurants, running upstream from nearby Kingston Bridge, is just 2 minutes’ walk away, and includes Cote and Comptoir Libanais.
A couple more minutes upstream, there are three varied one-off independents – Woodies pub, with good food; Narenj Persian restaurant; and the Riverside Vegetaria.
Kingston also has all the usual coffee places – plus the independent Local Hero in Thames Street, almost on top of All Saints, but it shuts at 6:00 pm