Epsom in Surrey is one of the most desirable places to live according to property show ‘Location, location.’ While television show rankings can be taken with a pinch of salt, there is little doubt that the home of the eponymous Epsom Salt has some great qualities which serve to make it attractive to visitors and residents alike.
The first point to note about the market town of Epsom is its proximity to London. For anyone who works in the city, but likes to escape somewhere a little more relaxed, then Epsom, in the heart of the stockbroker belt, is just under 14 miles from Charing Cross and offers the commuter easy access into the capital, with direct rail links to Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge.
Epsom itself is home to just over 13,000 people, many of who are attracted because of its mix of town and country. The market town has a thriving community feel, with a successful provincial theatre – the Epsom Playhouse – that attracts top-name performers; well-known and well-regarded private and state schools, including Epsom College; is home to a campus for the University of Creative Arts and has a long and historic connection with the higher echelons of British society – thanks in part to its proximity to Windsor and the River Thames. The town and the surrounding areas has long been the seat of ‘noble’ families, the 19th century champion of horse-racing – the Earl of Derby being one of the more recent residents.
The Surrey town lies within the Copthorne Hundred, a strategic meeting place for the wealthy and powerful in the Middle Ages, and later became the seat of a Hundred Court, where laws of the land were dispensed by the nobility onto the serfs and freemen of the area. By Georgian times, in the 16th and 17th century, Epsom had become renowned as a spa town, again attracting the wealthy to visit the town to benefit from the spa water’s health-giving properties.
A healthy, wealthy place to live
The development of Epsom as a healthy, wealthy place to live was further reinforced by the discovery of Epsom Salts. The product’s chemical name is magnesium sulphate, and it takes its name from the bitter, saline salt that is produced where the North Downs porous chalk meets the non-porous London clay. These days Epsom Salts appear on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines and it is used in a wide range of health and beauty products, most notably as bath salts and muscle rubs.
Getting out and about
For those people who love the great outdoors, then Epsom Downs provides miles of chalk and woodland landscape to walk, run, cycle or ride through. Nearby is Box Hill, made famous as a gruelling bicycle challenge in the Olympic time trials and now a favourite route among all levels of cyclists. Keen horse race-goers will be more familiar with Epsom Downs as host to the Derby and the Oaks – two of the English classic horse races.
And if you are considering a move to Epsom, then you have some famous footsteps to follow in. Singer Petula Clark hails from the town, as did sports commentators Kenneth Wolstenholme – who famously uttered the words “they think it’s all over…” and David Vine. Comedian Norman Wisdom also spent time in Epsom as did Andrew Garfield, the American actor who spun across our screens as Spiderman.