I spent a day in Teddington, a neighborhood in London, to find out why it was named the best place to live in the city
Teddington was named the best place to live in London by The Sunday Times in March.
The neighborhood, located just outside Richmond, is referred to as the “sweet spot between practical and aspirational” in The Times of London article.
The publication prides Teddington on having the essentials, such as supermarkets and cafés, with the added bonus of independent stores, bakeries, and “the best nature in London” in the beloved Bushy Park.
My first impression was that Teddington felt more like an American film set — not a neighborhood in the UK’s capital.
I arrived in Teddington shortly before 9 a.m. on a Friday, and was instantly surprised by its small-town charm.
The streets were calm and filled with just a small handful of people: dog walkers, cyclists, and those who were popping into the numerous bakeries the area has to offer.
On High Street, there seemed to be just as many flower baskets and Union Jack flags as there were cafés.
It reminded me of the kind of whimsical American towns that you’d find in early 2000s TV shows — think Stars Hollow of “Gilmore Girls,” or “One Tree Hill.”
My first stop was Cafe Benedict, which was recommended in The Sunday Times article.
Despite it being a weekday, the café was filled with people.
“I don’t know why everyone in Teddington seems to have so much free time,” one waitress told me. “But everyone here goes out for brunch.”
I ordered the acai bowl, which cost £9.50 (around $13).
The acai bowl consisted of coconut chia pudding, acai smoothie, fresh berries, toasted coconut, and toasted macadamia.
The menu had a wide variety of options on the breakfast and brunch menu, including eggs, avocado tartine, waffles, granola, and banana bread.
After speaking to the waitress some more, I discovered that my first impressions of Teddington were correct.
The waitress, who told me that she moved to the area a couple of months ago, said that she too was surprised that the area felt like a village instead of a city.
She prided the neighborhood on being quiet, safe, and with good links to central London.
After breakfast, I explored the surrounding streets — and found that The Sunday Times article could be traced throughout the neighborhood.
I passed a housing development with a sign that referenced the article, naming Teddington as the best place to live in the city.
I spoke to a local barista who recommended Teddington Lock for its easy access to Twickenham and Kingston.
Teddington Lock, which is just a short walk away from High Street, was filled with cyclists and dog walkers when I visited.
Most seemed to be going in the direction of the other neighborhoods mentioned to me by the barista, which were signposted on a walking path next to the lock.
I could easily imagine myself cycling or taking a leisurely stroll during my lunch breaks if I lived in the area.
While one side of the lock had a footpath, the other had a café and a pub.
The pub, called The Anglers, had a sign advertising “Shakespeare in the Garden” with showings of “As You Like It” throughout September.
I could definitely imagine myself making the journey back to Teddington for a stroll and some Shakespeare.
Next up was Bushy Park, London’s second-largest Royal Park that is roamed by wild deer.
It took me around half an hour to walk to the park from Teddington Lock.
The park is more than 1,000 acres in size and has been a Royal Park since the year 1529, according to its official website.
When I visited, there weren’t many other people at the park but there were plenty of wild deer. There were several signs informing the public to keep their distance and that the deer could be potentially dangerous if disturbed.
The park is home to the Diana Fountain, designed in 1637.
When I first read that there was a Diana Fountain in Bushy Park, I assumed this would be a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in 1997.
However, after reading the website, I discovered that the fountain was actually designed with a statue of a goddess at the request of King Charles I for his wife Henrietta Maria.
By the end of my visit, I discovered that Teddington is the ideal place to live because it has none of London’s bad traits.
As someone who has lived in London on and off for a couple of years, I’d say some of the worst traits of the city include the overcrowding, the number of tourists, and the fact that people in the city never seem to stop for breath.
In Teddington, the opposite is true. People there aren’t in a rush. Even when the cafés and bakeries started to fill up with people at lunchtime, it was nothing compared to the hustle and bustle of central London.
As I write, I’m already making plans to return to the charming neighborhood in the future.