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Staines underwent a major redevelopment round the end of the century and although some of the old town has gone, enough of it is still left to maintain its character. It is still a pleasant, friendly town on a human scale which never seems to be too busy. Its new shopping areas have all the major, high street, retail outlets and many other shops and restaurants unique to the town to make it an enjoyable shopping experience if you like shopping or not too arduous if you donít.
Staines is in what used to be called Middlesex but is now Greater London although most people still persist in saying it is Middlesex despite the government boundary changes; (perhaps someone in government has some sense and will put the county boundary back). The town is no back-water as it has a major river crossing, is very close to Heathrow Airport, is on a main railway line to London and is just off the M25 although due to the excellent redevelopment you would never know it when youíre there.
Staines has two market days, Wednesday and Saturday, when you quite often get traders from mainland Europe. The markets are lively and colourful and set in the pedestrianised High Street and are well worth a visit to hunt out some bargains or some interesting food. The new Staines is well looked after and has a confident and prosperous feel.
There is ample parking, all at ground level (no dark winding multi-storeys) and close to the shops something that is often overlooked when planning town centres; although as much parking as councils provide these days, eventually, there always seem to be enough cars to fill it.
Staines is on the River Thames and there is a pub and a couple of restaurants right next to the bridge on the town side of the river. The Indian restaurant Roshiniís is first class and does an excellent lunch time buffet (eat as much as you like) at a reasonable price. There is a Fullerís pub and hotel, The Swan, on the other side of the river which has also recently been refurbished. There are parks and walks along both banks of the river and plenty of boating activity an ideal place to relax and watch the world go by.
For the Historians Staines has a long history dating back to Roman times. Itís in the Domesday Book of 1086, was involved in the signing of Magna Carta in 1215, held the trial of Sir Thomas More during Henry VIIIís reign and played a part in the English Civil war. There is a stana (border) stone dated 1280 in the Park by the river which marked the western limit of the City of Londonís control over the River Thames.
The visit to the town makes for a good day out.