For much of the 20th century, Kingston was a major military aircraft manufacturing centre - first with Sopwith, then Hawker Aviation and eventually British Aerospace.
Central Kingston is a busy retail centre with The Bentall Centre - a shopping mall, The Rotunda, which includes a bowling alley, fitness centre, a 14-screen Odeon multiplex cinema and some restaurants. Along the riverside south of Kingston Bridge in Charter Quay are bars, restaurants and a theatre, The Rose Theatre which opened in 2007 with Sir Peter Hall as the director. The ancient market is still held daily in the Market Place. Kingston's civic buildings include the Guildhall which houses Kingston Council. There is also the county court, a local museum, public library and the new crown court, plus County Hall. The internationally renowned Kingston University has made Kingston a university town with its influx of 20,000 students during term time.
The River Thames flows through the middle of Kingston and at Queens Promenade it is possible to take pleasure boat trips. Downstream of Kingston bridge there is a walk through Canbury Gardens towards Teddington Lock and historic Ham House. Across Kingston Bridge is a tree lined river bank fronting the expanse of Hampton Court Park leading upto Hampton Court Palace.
One of the more unusual sights in Kingston is several disused red telephone boxes that have been tipped up to lean against one another in an arrangement resembling dominoes. This sculpture by David Mach was commissioned in 1988 and is called "Out of Order".
To find out more about Kingston contact Kingston Council.