Epsom is a bustling market town just outside the suburbs of London, England. It sits in Surrey, to the South West of London. Great transport links and a hubbub of community spirit make this a very popular place to live, with great schools and thriving markets. While it is definitely close enough to benefit from what London has to offer, it also offers close links to the countryside, with magnificent Epsom Common, and nearby Nonsuch Park providing excellent green spaces.
A brief history of Epsom
Archaeological finds point to both prehistoric and roman occupation in the area, particularly in Ewell. The name Epsom comes from Anglo Saxon, meaning “Ebbi’s Ham” (ham meaning enclosure or settlement). A Saxon brooch has also been found in the area. In the Domesday book the settlement here is referred to as Evesham, and had 38 households, it continued as a rural community throughout the medieval period. In the early 17th Century the mineral properties of Epsom water were discovered, and Epsom became a popular spa town, becoming populated in the 18th Century by wealthy merchants, escaping from the crowds and diseases of London.
During this time, the racecourse was also developed. In 1789 the famous Oaks horse race was established, followed a year later by the Derby, both still firm fixtures on the annual British racing calendar. The arrival of the railways in the mid 19th Century meant that Epsom was a reasonable commuting prospect for the rising middle-classes, leading to rapid development. Throughout the 20th Century Epsom continued to grow, housing developments fueled by the excellent transport links in and out of London. Today it is a popular place to live.
What to do in Epsom
Shoppers can explore the mostly pedestrianized town center, but most will head to the Ashley Centre, a shopping mall housing more than 50 shops, with unique and independent stores nestled among the well known high street branches.
If you have children you definitely need to explore Hobbledown. It describes itself as a “mysterical farm park” home to the Hobbler people. Children can explore the fun and fantastical village, play and meet the animals. A rainy day can be spent in Once Upon A Time soft play, or the more active can see what’s on offer at the Rainbow Leisure Centre or Jungle Adventure Golf at the Horton Park Golf Club.
The Epsom Playhouse Theatre offers a range of local and touring productions, and always hosts a Christmas pantomime, or for film enthusiasts they also offer a summer film series. The Epsom Odeon multiplex of course provides all the latest blockbusters. The Derby Square has a range of restaurants and bars, mostly from the popular chains, but you can also seek out independent eateries, ranging from traditional English pubs to Indian or Nepalese restaurants.
No visit to Epsom would be complete without a visit to the famous Jockey Club Epsom Downs Racecourse. Their website provides all the information you might need to plan your day out, including a beginners guide to how the racing (and the betting) are operated.