Things to do in Staines, Surrey
Situated on the north bank of the River Thames in Surrey, Staines is 5 miles from London Heathrow Airport and 17 miles from Charing Cross in central London in the Spelthorne area.
Staines was an early crossing point on the River Thames in Roman times via the Staines Bridge which was built in the mid-1st century AD. At that time the town was called "Ad Pontes", meaning "at the bridges", which suggests there was more than one bridge.
By 1086 the Domesday record showed Stanes as belonging to Westminster Abbey. In 1280 a border stone marked the western boundary of the City of London at Staines and it can still be seen on the riverbank.
Historic events at Staines include the meeting of the barons in the town prior to signing the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Sir Thomas More was put on trial in Staines in 1535. A plaque on the Town Hall shows it was a horse change site in 1805 for riders announcing the death of Horatio Nelson and victory over the French and Spanish fleets.
Staines was the tidal limit of the Thames until the 14th century. It now stops downstream at the Teddington Lock. The latest three-arch Staines Bridge was built in 1832.
Staines became the unlikely centre for linoleum floor covering in 1864 when its inventor, Frederick Walton, opened the first lino factory. At its peak in 1956 it produced 2,675 square metres of floor covering every week. It kept Staines residents employed until it closed in 1970 and became the site of the Two Rivers Shopping Centre.
In 1972 the Staines Air Disaster was the worst in British flight history, prior to the Lockerbie bombing. Three minutes after takeoff from Heathrow, a BEA flight crashed due to pilot error, killing all 188 passengers and crew.
Present Day Staines
The town has a compact centre with a traffic-free High Street. Most major chain stores are represented, along with local shops and cafes, a supermarket, gym and cinema.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays the High Street has one of the largest street markets in Surrey.
The town has recently revitalized the Thames waterfront with sculptures and landscaping and it has plenty of parks.
Staines is home to the Lagonda Car Factory, which still produces luxury sports cars, BUPA headquarters, Siemens, Samsung and Logica Telecommunications.
Staines railway station provides commuters with links to London Waterloo, Windsor, Weybridge and Reading.
The Italianate/Flemish Town Hall building is now a trendy bar . Other architectural attractions are the Georgian town houses in Clarence Street and the Victorian properties around St Mary's parish church, which has a stained glass window commemorating the lives lost in the Staines air disaster.
Things to Do Around Staines
The Spelthorpe Museum in Staines celebrates the local linoleum industry among other local historic exhibits.
Kempton Park Racecourse is nearby at Sunbury-on-Thames which is also the home of the Sunbury Walled Garden and the Millennium Embroidery attraction.
The River Thames provides walking paths around the area and boating, kayaking and nature spotting can be enjoyed along its banks.
The nearby town of Windsor offers a full day of activities with Legoland and Windsor Castle both popular with visitors.
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