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Epsom and Ewell council estimates the population of the borough, centred on Epsom, to be 72,400 (mid-2008).
The compact borough is mainly residential. Some office space and light industry form a corridor between Epsom town centre and the village of Ewell. East Street in Epsom runs through the heart of this commercial district. The town centre is dominated by the Ashley Centre shopping mall, which contains typical outlets such as Boots, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Monsoon, Next, Waitrose, Waterstones and WH Smith.
Epsom borders Reigate and Banstead at Epsom Downs. The Downs are an upland chalk ridge marked by steep slopes rising from the south. This rural enclave takes up a quarter of the borough's land area and is home to the famous Epsom Downs racecourse and grandstand, the venue of the annual Epsom Derby horseracing event in June.
Epsom lies just to the southwest of London Metropolitan Area, but inside the M25 orbital motorway. The shortest main road between central London and Epsom is the A3, starting at London Bridge, switching to the A24 at Clapham Common, through to Epsom town centre. The A24 makes barely any diversion from the SSW compass point. Between London and Epsom this Roman route (built c. 100AD) cannot be widened because of 19th and later 20th century urbanisation and it hasn't been bypassed except for two short sections around Merton High Street and Ewell village centre. The distance is only 15 miles, but during the daytime and the morning and evening rush hours can take an hour or more to drive.
A faster journey from central London follows the A3 after Clapham Common and turns off onto the A240 spur road at Tolworth junction, to approach Epsom from the northwest. This route follows a two- or three-lane dual carriageway most of the way. The A3 is easily accessible from the West End of London.
The M25 serves Epsom from all other parts of the UK. Leave the motorway at Junction 9 and road signs for Epsom direct you onto the A24 from the south. The distance from the motorway junction is only four miles.
Trains from London to Epsom are slow but are still quicker than the road journey. The average journey time of 36 minutes is unimpressive for an 18 mile journey, but at least trains depart frequently. Two timetables combined provide eight trains an hour between London and Epsom from Monday to Saturday, and four an hour on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The fastest times are 33 minutes from London Victoria station (operated by Southern Railway) and 35 minutes from London Waterloo station (operated by South West Trains ). An additional hourly service to Epsom, from London Victoria, takes passengers on a 51 minute circuitous route via West Croydon. Southern Railway also operates a handful of peak-hour commuter trains to London Bridge, which also take 50-55 minutes.
The direct lines from London Waterloo and London Victoria both pass through Clapham Junction, before diverging and meeting again at Epsom, so you can switch trains at Clapham if you want. The London Waterloo line goes through Wimbledon. From London Victoria the train takes a more easterly route via Mitcham Junction.
Epsom station is outside the London Travelcard area, but Travelcards are available from Epsom station.
Two rail routes approach Epsom from the south. There are two trains an hour from Guildford (for connections from Portsmouth and Reading) and four an hour from the town of Dorking. Further south there is a rail link to the West Sussex coast via Horsham operated by only one hourly train that continues beyond Dorking. The English Channel is 50 miles due south of Epsom.
Much of the town centre can easily be covered on foot. Public transport options from the centre up to Epsom Downs, or out to Ewell Village, consist of a reasonable bus network. Timetables can be found here . You can also travel by bus to Leatherhead, Sutton, or Kingston-on-Thames.
There are many chain restaurants in the centre of town, but on Epsom Downs, by the racecourse, there are two pubs which provide good food at reasonable prices. Both can get very busy, particularly at weekends.
Epsom is not overwhelmed with charming places to drink, particularly in the centre. However, there are a few pubs of interest within 10-15 minutes walk of the station.