The borough of Kingston in south-west London is one of the capital’s most picturesque settings, thanks to its rich history and riverside situation. It offers rural charm and peaceful suburban backdrops, all well within the M25.
Thanks to its beautiful aesthetics, Kingston is a popular location choice for widely-distributed commercials, including previous Christmas campaigns for Waitrose and Lidl. Kingston has also facilitated shoots across the borough for major TV productions like Ted Lasso, MotherFatherSon, The Capture, and Silent Witness.
Why do Productions Love Shooting in Kingston?
Combining the rural tranquillity of green, open spaces beside the banks of the Thames with the bustle of a thriving market town, Kingston has lots to offer film and TV productions:
Kingston is situated just 12 miles from central London, and with its close proximity to the M25 the borough offers excellent transport links by road as well as rail.
Kingston can easily accommodate filming alongside the River Thames. This iconic landmark for the capital (and England) gives the location particular appeal for international productions looking for familiar and marketable English views – Kingston’s romantic English feel is particularly popular with Bollywood shoots and US productions.
Parking and Unit Bases
Ashdown Road car park and Kingsmeadow Stadium are perfect unit bases serving the borough, as well as neighbouring Merton and Richmond-upon-Thames. The Bittoms car park is also available for smaller units or tech parking, and overflow crew parking is available at Cattle Market car park – all within a few minutes of Kingston’s main attractions. Parking suspensions throughout the whole borough are quick and easy. They can often be facilitated after the preferred lead time, as the parking team are highly accommodating and responsive.
Kingston Location Highlights
The borough offers a real variety of shoot locations and facilities. Here is just a selection to look out for.
Buildings and street locations:
This beautiful, neo-Georgian building dates back to the 1930s and features stunning period features which would suit a variety of productions. The Guildhall’s curved, red brick exterior houses a broad range of rooms with both period and contemporary decor.
The art deco lobby and staircase could double for a grand hotel or bank with marble floors. Upstairs, the main halls (the Queen Anne Suite and the Council Chamber) would suit many briefs, including for school halls and party venues. Downstairs, the ex-courtrooms boast traditional wood panelling. Also look out for ancillary rooms leading from the main spaces which can be used for hair & make-up, costume, greenroom space etc. There is space for generators, cranes, and tech parking onsite, as well as an underground car park for crew cars. Whilst the building is listed, dressing and furniture removal is permitted.
This picturesque area beside the river is one of the most beautiful features of the royal borough. The banks of the Thames are a haven for wildlife including swans and numerous species of birds, and the riverside is bustling with a range of great shops, restaurants and bars. Spanning the Thames is the historic Kingston Bridge, which was constructed using elegant Portland Stone and opened in 1828. The bridge joins Kingston town centre with Hampton Court Park, Bushy Park and the nearby village of Hampton Wick.
Kingston Town Centre
The town centre boasts an eclectic range of shops, historic buildings, green spaces and views of the Thames. It is a large, bustling town centre with plenty of pedestrianised zones. It is also rich in historical interest, featuring narrow passages and alleyways. Some of the town centre is operated by Kingston First Business Improvement District, and managed by FilmFixer’s dedicated Private Locations team, making FilmFixer the one-stop shop for all productions filming in Kingston.
The historic and spacious Kingston Ancient Marketplace is overlooked by the beautiful Grade II listed Market House. This busy, bustling ancient market is fully pedestrianised and could be used to double as a European square or plaza. The space is particularly popular at Christmas when it provides the perfect festive backdrop for commercials and features.
Nearby Apple Market is a smaller, quaint marketplace with a pedestrianised space and number of shops built with black and white wooden beams in a classic Tudor style. In warmer months there’s a real café society atmosphere to the area, which still maintains a quintessentially English feel.
There are several options of high street in the town centre too. Castle Street is a neat, pedestrianised high street with a more modern feel to it, and offers convivial on-street cafes. Meanwhile, Clarence Street is a more spacious pedestrianised high street with a range of larger buildings and shops, with a typical selection of British high street stores. There is space to dress the area extensively. Eden Street is a large, busy high street with the usual major chains and a rainbow pedestrian crossing perfect for photoshoots!
Nearby, Old London Road is a controllable road suitable for stop/go traffic management. The retail mix is an eclectic combination of chain and independent high street shops. It also hosts David Mach’s iconic sculpture ‘Out of Order’, depicting twelve toppling telephone boxes.
Ashdown Road Unit Base
One of the great features of this unit base is the lack of restrictions on pull-in and pull-out timings for productions. In addition, the base can be booked and arranged at short notice if needed. It suits large units, with overflow crew parking available at nearby Cattle Market Car Park if needed.
Kingsmeadow Unit Base
Likewise, the unit base at Kingsmeadow Stadium is a fantastically convenient option that can be arranged at short notice – solving any last-minute panics! Large units can be accommodated.
Green space locations:
This is a fairly large, green park in Surbiton. It contains walkways, woodland areas and two small ponds. The woodland area boasts a good number of impressively large trees.
This narrow public garden in Surbiton is surrounded on all sides by period houses and stylish office blocks. It has well-kept lawn areas, concrete footpaths, benches and a small fountain.
Fairfield Recreation Ground
The Recreation Ground is a large green space located near the town centre, behind the Cattle Market and Kingfisher Leisure Centre. This largely rectangular site covers just over six acres and is divided into two large sections by an avenue of trees. It has a playing fields and charming playground area for children.
This space is made up of a park, a riverside walk along the Thames, and a green space with a bandstand area. Rowing and regattas take place in this quaint rural setting along the banks of the Thames. The Boaters Inn Pub is situated along the riverside walk, which has fantastic views of the river and features some of Kingston’s most palatial riverside houses and some spectacular architecture. Tech parking is available close by on Down Hall Road, and several convenient unit bases are within a few minutes’ drive.
Working with Kingston Film Office
Kingston Film Office prides itself in understanding the needs of each individual production, offering advice on locations, applying for film permits, costs, traffic management, resident engagement and training for local people.
The friendly and responsive team at Kingston Film Office provides a one-stop service for managing filming and photography on behalf of the council. All professional filming and photography on council land or public roads is licenced by them, and their work is guided by the principles of the London Filming Partnership.
The Film Office works closely with council departments such as Highways, Parking, Housing and Leisure, the Metropolitan Police Film Unit and resident, community and trader associations to ensure all filming is managed legally, safely and smoothly.
One of the Film Office’s principal aims is to help ensure a good rapport between filmmakers and the people who live and work in the community, and they provide a useful liaison point to ensure good relations with the local community so that everyone involved understands the benefits of filming in the borough.
The Kingston Film Office is always happy to help either on the phone 020 7620 0391 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and local knowledge is readily at hand.