Canary Wharf is set to double in size and become family friendly

This Docklands quarter took a dip but the bounce-back has begun. Its size and population will double in a decade, reports David Spittles

Canary Wharf

Twenty-acre Wood Wharf will be built over 10 years and will have parks, a school and 2,000 new homes in four new waterside neighbourhoods

Canary Wharf, the heart of London’s Docklands, is making a healthy return to the market with a dozen major schemes planned to its northern and eastern reaches. The expansion will create a new skyline of even towers and will double Canary Wharf’s working population by 2025.

On the back of the Crossrail link coming on line in 2017/18, which will join Canary Wharf to the west of London, and to Heathrow, forecasters say the area is set to mature into a major new residential location.
Home buyers might be playing a waiting game after the financial crisis caused up to 30 per cent to be wiped off the value of some developments bought off-plan, but analysts say square-foot values in Canary Wharf could rise by a third to about £800 or even £1,000 — which would still be good value compared with central London.

Dollar Bay

Dollar Bay will offer 121 waterside flats and glazed winter gardens in a 31-storey tower

Canary Wharf’s housing market has been quietly readjusting since the dark days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. With the arrival of JP Morgan and Shell the local working population passed 100,000 for the first time last year, with the area now accommodating more bankers than the City of London.

And whereas the original Canary Wharf estate was geared towards giant office buildings for banks and financial services companies, the future development pipeline — more than nine million sq ft of space, the largest construction programme in London — has a far larger residential element.

Families have largely avoided the area due to a lack of good-size houses with gardens, while others think so much new build can be soulless. But the next generation of development will be much more mixed.

Twenty-acre Wood Wharf is the most notable of these big new projects. To be built over 10 years, it will have 2,000 homes in four new waterfront neighbourhoods, two parks, the area’s first school and a new high street linking Canary Wharf to Isle of Dogs.

“Canary Wharf is more than a global financial centre, it is an exciting cultural and lifestyle district which is helping shift the capital’s centre of gravity eastwards,” says architect Terry Farrell, Wood Wharf masterplanner.

Crossharbour Tower

From 300,000: 46-storey Crossharbour Tower, specialising in slick scyscrapers, will offer 330 flats.

Two decades after arriving on the map as a business district, the area is finally maturing into an attractive residential address, with good local amenities and transport.

The Jubilee line provides quick connections to the West End and South Bank. And although Crossrail will give quick access to Heathrow, bankers and lawyers can now fly direct to New York on British Airways business-class flights from London City Airport, just around the river bend from Canary Wharf.

Despite shrinking bonuses, this pocket of E14 is London’s highest- paying postcode, with an average male salary in excess of £100,000, giving developers the confidence to build designer apartments and crashpads.

As elsewhere in London, Isle of Dogs has a number of micro markets, of which Canary Wharf is one. The latter is a 97-acre enclave, with its own “ring of steel” (private security cordon) enclosing office and retail space, including four shopping malls and numerous bars and restaurants.

There are relatively few homes within this distinct commercial quarter but hundreds within the “halo” — a 10-minute walk of the dealing rooms. This extended zone is the most sought-after, boasting walk-to-work convenience and the best of the older and new apartment schemes.

Coming soon is Dollar Bay, a 31-storey residential tower at West India Dock. This will have 121 waterside apartments with glazed winter gardens for year-round use and unrestricted views west and east. At the top of the building is a 6,000 sq ft triplex penthouse with sky garden.

Lincoln Plaza

From £300,000: Lincoln Plaza is one of the new towers rising at Millharbour. It will have 300 apartments

Storeys with a twist

Plans have been submitted for the UK’s second tallest tower on the site of the City Pride pub at Westferry Circus. Chalegrove Properties wants to build a 75-storey block with 864 flats, while developer Galliard has snapped up Baltimore Wharf, on a prime plot where the doomed London Arena once stood. Next to Crossharbour DLR station, it is another architectural treat for Docklands, a design by Skidmore Owens Merrill, a Chicago-based firm whose speciality is slick skyscrapers.

The first phase of 473 apartments is complete. The next is 46-storey Crossharbour Tower, a “twisting” structure with 330 flats and spectacular penthouses. Prices from £300,000. Call 020 7620 1500. Much is being made of the scheme’s “lifestyle” credentials — waterfront restaurants and bars, a creche, convenience stores, 24-hour concierge, private security and valet parking. And instead of a mere gym and spa, there is an “urban country club” — The Baltimore Club — offering virtual-reality golf and clay pigeon shooting.

Millharbour, across the dock, used to be occupied by low-rise business estates built in the early Eighties, another example of how the development scene has changed. Lincoln Plaza, one of the new residential towers soon to rise on this land, has 380 flats available now off-plan. Prices from £300,000.

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7 Ways To Improve Your Home’s Sell-ability

In this economy, houses aren’t selling like they used to. However, there are some ways to improve the chances of selling your house. If you have a house on the market, or are considering it, read on for seven tips that will make it easier to sell your house and make a smooth transition from one owner to the next.

  1. Maintain Neutrality
    This policy has worked for Switzerland, and it can also work in real estate. Customizing your home is great if you plan to stay there, but extreme colors and themed rooms can scare off potential homebuyers. If you have customized every room with extremely bright or dark colored paint, wallpaper or wall fixtures, you may want to consider toning it down a bit. Using neutral colors on the walls can help prospective buyers create their own vision for the house, and will also leave them with less work to undo if they buy the house.
  2. Less Is More
    Even though you have not moved out yet, removing some of your furniture can help the house move off the market. If you take pictures for your listing, having less furniture can help the home appear more spacious. When potential homebuyers arrive, having less furniture can also provide clear walkways.
  3. That New House Smell
    Honestly, the new house smell isn’t always the most pleasant, but at least it is new. In preparing to show your home, you should avoid strong smells. To avoid odors, make sure to take out the trash and clean the refrigerator regularly. It is also good to be mindful of what you cook in the days leading up to a showing since certain foods have strong scents. If you have pets, keep an eye on the litter box. Any smell that is too strong could send potential homebuyers running out the door.
  4. Pay Attention to the Details
    It is not a good idea to make major renovations when you are ready to sell your home because you may not recoup your investment. If you never got around to starting or completing that total kitchen or bathroom makeover, then you can make some small, inexpensive changes to spruce things up. Replacing the hardware on cabinets is a quick way to improve the appearance of older looking fixtures. Upgrading small items such as light switch and outlet covers can also add a nice touch.
  5. Maximize Your “Curb Appeal”
    The front of your home is the first thing prospective home-buyers will see, so keeping it presentable is a must. If there is a yard, keep the grass to a reasonable height and if there are trees, be sure to keep the branches under control. The path to your front door should be a clear and welcoming one, not an obstacle course!
  6. Don’t Get Too Personal
    Upon entering your house, everyone will know it is lived in, but they do not need to see all the evidence. Get rid of excess clutter such as newspapers, magazines, and mail. Be sure to put away your laundry and shoes. It may also be a good idea to put away some other personal belongings like pictures on the refrigerator or mantle. For you, the pictures may make a house a home or display your personal touch. For the new homeowner, it may appear too personal.
  7. Take Care of Repairs
    Waiting to make repairs until after you find a buyer can be tricky. Depending on the nature of the repairs, you may not be able to find a buyer. Depending on how fast the buyer wants to close on the house, you may not have enough time to make the repairs. Save yourself some time and potential trouble, by making repairs before you list your home. The repairs will have to be made anyway, so it is better to get them out of the way sooner rather than later.

First impressions can make the difference between a sale or no sale. Keeping things simple can give you a leg up on similar houses on the market.

Source: Investopedia
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Asking prices back on the up as 2013 rolls in

A BUOYANT London housing market led UK asking prices back into growth in January, data revealed this morning.

London’s homeowners added 3.6 per cent onto their asking prices during January, Rightmove said, capping off a healthy 9.6 per cent – or £16,492 – increase over the year.

Asking prices start the new year with growth

This robust activity in the capital drove the country as a whole back into positive movement – UK asking prices were up 0.2 per cent in January, Rightmove said, a stark turnaround from December’s 3.3 per cent crash.

The price increase came with a flood of new sellers, the data said. Some 22 per cent more people listed their home this January than did in the same month last year.

But average UK house prices will not reach their pre-recession peak until 2014, according to forecasts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), also put out this morning.

Weak growth will keep a rein on house prices during the coming year, the forecaster said, but a return to more solid expansion in 2014 “will be enough to push UK house prices over their pre-crisis peak,” achieved in 2007.

By 2018 a typical UK house will cost £261,000, on CEBR’s measure, up 19.1 per cent on the average 2013 valuation of £219,000.

Source: City AM

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Spotlight on Surrey Quays

Major regeneration is helping to put Surrey Quays back where it belongs – at the heart of London life, says Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard (July 2012)
Learn windsurfing or kayaking at the Greenland Dock

Boating party: learn windsurfing or kayaking at the Greenland Dock

The life of London’s old docklands is fast becoming a distant memory, so it is easy to forget that the area we now know as Surrey Quays in south-east London was once a network of working waterways, with docks and canals crowded with heavily laden ships from every corner of the globe.

Before the Surrey Docks closed in 1969, the peninsula that sits across the Thames from Wapping, Limehouse and Canary Wharf consisted of nine large docks, six timber “ponds” and a once-bustling canal. The names of these docks — Greenland, Finland, Russia, Canada — indicated the origin of cargos unloaded in them, from timber and hides to whale oil.

Today, only Greenland Dock and a small part of Canada Dock survive.

In the Seventies almost all the docks were filled in and for a decade until the Eighties the land lay largely derelict and unloved.

Today, Surrey Quays has the feel of an entirely new town, with more than 5,500 new homes built during the Eighties and Nineties when the population expanded from less than 6,000 to over 16,000. And now Surrey Quays is to get a second burst of building with regeneration around Canada Water.

Already there is a fine new library and public square overlooking Canada Water and designed by renowned architect Piers Gough of CZWG, while 2,700 new homes are planned, including Barratt’s Maple Quays development, now partly completed. And there will be more to come to replace the 14-acre Associated Newspapers printworks, where this paper was once printed.

The continuing Maple Quays development at Canada Water

New homes: the continuing Maple Quays development at Canada Water

What there is to buy in Surrey Quays

Surrey Quays is a good place to look for modern houses and flats. For period homes the St Mary’s, Rotherhithe conservation area is particularly sought after. Here there is a Dickensian maze of streets, an 18th-century church and a riverside pub, The Mayflower, near the spot where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America in 1620.

This is where large 19th-century warehouse conversions can be found. The most expensive home currently on sale is a three-bedroom riverside loft in Hays Court, Rotherhithe Street — being marketed for £1.6 million through
Cluttons (020 7407 3669).

Who moves here and who stays?

There is a strong local market, with many old docklands families remaining in the area. However, since the reopening of the East London line in 2010, it now has excellent connections with the City as well as Canary Wharf.

According to Carl Davenport at the Tower Bridge office of Chesterton Humberts, Surrey Quays is also popular with Hong Kong Chinese who bought new homes during the run-up to the handover of the territory to China. Flats are more highly valued, in price per square foot terms, than houses, so in Surrey Quays the move from a flat to a house is usually affordable.

What there is to rent in Surrey Quays

Surrey Quays is a hit with young professional sharers who can find a three-bedroom house for between £400 and £500 a week.

New homes along Albion Channel, Canada Water

Connected by the canal: new homes along Albion Channel, Canada Water

Postcode: Surrey Quays is in the Rotherhithe, SE16 postcode.

Best roads: Rotherhithe Village around St Mary’s Church is the most sought after, although according to Davenport the success of Maple Quays is driving prices higher close to Canada Water. Plover Way is a small stretch of water north of Greenland Dock where the houses appear to float; they currently sell for between £550,000 and £600,000.

What’s new: Maple Quays (020 7237 9311) is a Barratt Homes development of 900 flats, of which 234 are affordable. Flats in the fourth phase, Brampton House and Victoria House, are on sale off-plan for completion in June next year with prices starting at £299,000 for a one-bedroom flat.

Ontario Point, the landmark 24-storey tower, will be launched off-plan on July 26 with prices starting at £324,000 for a one-bedroom flat. There are two two-bedroom shared-ownership flats available through housing association Affinity Sutton (0300 100 0303) in Vancouver House and Ottawa House, with prices starting at £99,950 for a 25 per cent share in a flat with a market value of £398,000 and monthly outgoings around £1,300.

More change is afoot around Canada Water. Property company British Land has promised a £34 million investment and extension to the Surrey Quays shopping centre, and it recently announced that it has bought the Associated Newspapers printworks.

There are also plans to redevelop the Decathlon site overlooking Canada Water. The site was bought by Shard developer Sellar, and a planning application for a mixed-use scheme with 1,000 new homes is expected in the autumn.

A crane at Commercial Pier Wharf

Former glory: a crane at Commercial Pier Wharf is a reminder of the dock’s past

Getting an education

Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe has three primary schools judged outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted: Redriff in Salter Road, which was recently converted to an academy, Albion in Albion Street and St Joseph’s RC in Gomm Road. The following are judged good: St John’s RC in St Elmo’s Road and Alfred Salter in Quebec Way.

The local comprehensive, Bacon’s College (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) now an academy sponsored by Lord Harris in Timber Pond Road gets above-average results at GCSE but is only judged satisfactory by Ofsted. St Michael’s Catholic College (co-ed ages 11 to 18) in Llewellyn Road is judged outstanding, while City of London Academy (co-ed ages 11 to 18) sponsored by the City of London in Lynton Road is judged good.

There are two top-performing private schools in the City: City of London School (boys ages 10 to 18) in Queen Victoria Street and City of London Girls (ages seven to 18) in the Barbican.

Shops and restaurants

The Surrey Quays shopping centre has a 24-hour Tesco and a branch of Bhs along with other high street names. The centre is now looking tired — although it is kept spotlessly clean — and a revamp is planned. Surrey Quays is a culinary desert, although people travel from afar to sample the Vietnamese food at Café East in the Surrey Quays Leisure Centre. There is, though, a big concentration of restaurants, including Le Pont de la Tour and the Blueprint Café, in nearby Shad Thames.

The new café and library overlooking Canada Water

Cool places to hang out: the new library and café overlooking Canada Water

Open spaces

The route of the riverside Thames Path is obstructed in places around Rotherhithe by buildings. The Stave Hill Ecology Park and adjoining Russia Dock Woodland are managed for wildlife and enjoyed by residents. Sheep, goats, cows, ducks, geese and turkeys can be found at the Surrey Docks City Farm on the eastern side of the Rotherhithe Peninsula.

Leisure and the arts

The Surrey Docks Watersports Centre offers sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and raft building in Greenland Dock.

The nearest council-owned swimming pool is at the Seven Islands Leisure Centre in Lower Road and there is a Odeon cinema complex and tenpin bowling at the Surrey Quays Leisure Centre in Redriff Road.

The Brunel Museum in Railway Avenue tells the story of Marc and Isambard Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, while in Lavender Road, the Pumphouse Museum houses the Rotherhithe Heritage Museum.

Travel: Surrey Quays, Canada Water and Rotherhithe are all on the newly extended East London line with trains to the City at Whitechapel and Shoreditch High Street.

Canada Water is on the Jubilee line, which is one stop away from Canary Wharf and six stops from Green Park. All stations are in Zone 2 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,168.

Council: Southwark (Labour-controlled). Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year is £ 1,218.86

Sculpture visible from Canada Water Library, depicting Docklands’ shipping centre days

Tradition: sculpture visible from Canada Water Library, depicting Docklands’ shipping centre days

Average prices

Buying in Surrey Quays
One-bedroom flat £240,000
Two-bedroom flat £346,000
Two-bedroom house £400,000
Three-bedroom house £521,000
Four-bedroom house £530,000
Source: Zoopla

Renting in Surrey Quays
One-bedroom flat £260 to £1,130 a week
Two-bedroom flat £360 to £1,560 a week
Two-bedroom house £300 to £1,300 a week
Three-bedroom house £450 to £1,950 a week
Four-bedroom house £500 to £2,170 a week
Source: Chesterton Humberts

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Spotlight on Primrose Hill

The bohemian Primrose Hill set have never deserted their piece of ‘country’ on central London’s doorstep, says Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard (April 2012).
Primrose Hill

© Alamy
Primrose Hill offers views across the city to rival anywhere in the capital

Primrose Hill’s claim to countryside – a medieval forest before it became meadowland covered with primroses – is no great hike. At only 63 metres above sea level, it would be towered over by St Paul’s Cathedral, but it has views to rival anywhere in the capital.

Those views are now strictly protected and have helped the north London locality become a magnet for celebrity homebuyers. But the hill might have faced a very different fate, had Eton College, which once owned it, had its way.

In the 1830s Eton planned to turn the hilltop into a grand cemetery with classical buildings and a botanical garden, but permission was refused. Instead, in 1842 the hill became a public park from which could be enjoyed a vista south over Regent’s Park and central London.

In the Nineties “The Primrose Hill set” was the name given to the group of emerging British actors and musicians who chose to live there, with the antics of modern-day stars such as Jude Law, his then wife Sadie Frost, and his subsequent girlfriend Sienna Miller, helping to raise the area’s profile in countless tabloid pages.

But Primrose Hill has been an arty enclave for generations. Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackham, painter — and friend of Virginia Woolf — Duncan Grant, and musician Henry Wood were all residents.

Primrose Hill shops

Primrose Hill’s cafés soon fill up in the sunshine

The heart of Primrose Hill lies along Regent’s Park Road, a highway humming with cafés, restaurants and independent shops, where on the first sign of sun, tables spill out on to the pavements and no one seems in any hurry to get back to work.

But this privileged enclave does have its serious side. The Primrose Hill Community Association recently rode to the rescue of the local library which Camden council was threatening with closure. In a campaign supported by playwright Alan Bennett, a local resident, the association raised almost £600,000 and signed up 180 volunteers to run the facility.

A house, or even a flat, in Primrose Hill is such a desirable commodity that prices are now well above the past peak. According to estate agent Matt Poore of the Camden branch of Chesterton Humberts, the price per square foot in Primrose Hill now averages £1,000, with good houses reaching £1,500. “There has been a flight to quality. In the boom times people would buy anything. Now they are happy to wait for the right property.”

Properties: Primrose Hill was developed from the Forties onwards. There are large detached homes, semi-detached villas and terraces of stucco houses on Prince Albert Road, Regent’s Park Road, Albert Terrace and St Mark’s Square, which is strangely not a square. A house in this southern section of Primrose Hill, where the architecture is inspired by the Regency architecture of Regent’s Park, starts at around £3 million, with larger detached houses selling for over £5 million.

The area attracts: actors, musicians and those working in the media.

Regent's Park Road

Larger houses along Regent’s Park Road, which feature Regency architecture, can sell for up to £5million

Elsewhere, there are slightly later Victorian, mainly terrace houses with stucco on the lower floors and brickwork above. The notable exception is Chalcot Square, where the houses have large first-floor living room windows and a tradition of being painted in different pastel shades. There is different feel in the pocket north-west of Primrose Hill.

The Chalcots Park Estate off King Henry’s Road is a Seventies development of modern houses and flats. These are not to everyone’s taste, but inside many have been given very stylish, modern makeovers. Houses here start at around £1.2 million.

In Elsworthy Road and Wadham Gardens there are detached Twenties Queen Anne-style houses selling for between £5.6 million and £16 million.

Best roads: Prince Albert Road, Regent’s Park Road, especially the houses overlooking Primrose Hill itself, Chalcot Square, Chalcot Crescent, St George’s Terrace, Elsworthy Road and Wadham Gardens.

Chalcot Square

The handsome homes on Chalcot Square are a short walk from Primrose Hill

Up and coming: The Chalcots Park Estate off King Henry’s Road is cheaper because the Seventies houses are not as desirable as the nearby period homes, but they offer the chance to create strikingly modern interiors.

Schools: Primrose Hill has two state primary schools — Primrose Hill in Princess Road, which is judged “outstanding” by the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted, and St Paul’s CofE, which is judged “good”.

Haverstock, the local comprehensive school in Haverstock Hill, is where Ed and David Miliband were pupils. It occupies a striking new green and terracotta-faced building by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley and is judged “good” by Ofsted, although the GCSE results are below the national average.

North Bridge Prep school (girls aged seven to 11, boys aged seven to 13) in Avenue Road is popular, and there is a senior school (co-ed, aged 11 to 16) on the same site. St Christina’s in St Edmunds Terrace (boys aged three to seven, girls aged three to 11) is a private Catholic school.

Shops and restaurants: Regent’s Park Road is the main shopping street and it is dominated by independent shops, cafés and restaurants. Only furniture and interiors retailer Graham & Green, bathroom and kitchen shop CP Hart, small supermarket group Shepherd Foods, and fashion boutique Anna have branches elsewhere, although none could be described as high street chains.

Even the Save the Children charity shop has its own independent identity; it is called Mary’s Living and Giving. Women’s fashion boutique Press, run by the former creative director of Whistles, Melanie Press, in Erskine Road, stocks cult fashion brands and is a favourite of Jools Oliver and Meg Mathews.

Primrose Hill shops

Primrose Hill has a good selection of independent shops, cafés and restaurants

Richard Dare is a long-standing and much loved cookware shop for local foodies. Lemonia and Manna restaurants are two Primrose Hill institutions having been around for over 30 years. Lemonia is Greek, Manna is one of London’s top veggie restaurants.

Odette’s is also a classic favourite since 1978. This restaurant is now owned by top Welsh chef Bryn Williams. Marine Ices opposite Chalk Farm Tube station sells home-made Italian ice cream.

Open Space: Primrose Hill obviously, and it is possible to walk or cycle into the West End through Regent’s Park.

Leisure and the arts: The Roundhouse at Chalk Farm puts on everything from circus to music to poetry to Shakespeare.

Travel: Primrose Hill is served by two Tube stations, Chalk Farm and Camden Town. Both are in Zone 2 (annual travelcard to Zone 1 is £1,168) and both are on the Northern line.

Council: Camden (Labour controlled); Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year is £1,328.25.

Average prices: buying houses and flats in Primrose Hill
One-bedroom flat: £319,000
Two-bedroom flat: £500,000
Two-bedroom house: £903,000
Three-bedroom house: £1 million
Four-bedroom house: £2.36 million
Source: Hometrack

Average prices: renting houses and flats in Primrose Hill
One-bedroom flat: £350 to £525 a week
Two-bedroom flat: £400 to £700 a week
Three-bedroom house: £1,500 to £2,000 a week
Four-bedroom house: £2,000 to £3,000 a week
Five bedroom-plus house: £2,500 to £10,000 a week
Source: Chesterton Humberts

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Spotlight on Holland Park

This desirable location marries artistic history with a modern sense of style and success. By Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard (Feb. 2012)
Shops and houses in the Clarendon Cross area of Holland Park

The Clarendon Cross area offers a village feel which may surprise newcomers

Sitting between Kensington, Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush in west London, Holland Park is home to some of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs and music moguls, from Sir Richard Branson and Simon Cowell to Bryan Ferry and Brian May.

Large stucco mansions routinely sell for well above £15 million, and yet in the early 19th century Holland Park was far less desirable. Landowners and developers nearly went bankrupt trying to persuade people to live this far west of the centre of town and within close proximity to stinking potteries and brickworks.

Holland House, a grand Jacobean mansion, was the last of the large country houses that once dotted the area until late one night in June 1940 when it was destroyed by a Luftwaffe incendiary bomb.

In the late 18th and early 19th century the house belonged to the Fox family, which included the Whig politician Charles James Fox, who played host to writers and politicians such Wilberforce, Byron, Macaulay and Scott. Now its haunting ruins lie within 54 acres of parkland which is host to a hugely popular summer opera season.

Portland Road boasts an array of shops and restaurants

Portland Road boasts an array of shops and restaurants

After the estate’s destruction a remarkable artists’ colony grew up around Lord Leighton’s and Val Prinsep’s houses in Holland Park Road, with homes and studios built for artists such as George Frederick Watts, William Burgess and Sir Luke Fildes in Melbury Road. Rollo Miles of local estate agents John D Wood says the limited number of family houses has kept the Holland Park property market buoyant.

“There is a large variation in price per square foot though — between £1,500 and £3,000 for the very best houses. Buyers should scrutinise different streets and compare the square foot prices.”

Properties: when most people think of Holland Park they think of grand double-fronted stucco houses with ornamental glass-covered porches, but there is a surprisingly large range of homes — everything from Regency terraces in Addison Road, to the Gothic brick houses in St Ann’s Terrace, to converted flats in Royal Crescent, to red-brick Arts & Crafts homes in the Melbury Road area, to mansion flats, to Wates-built Sixties houses in Abbotsbury Road, to “right to buy” flats in former council blocks. Find property for sale in Holland Park

Holland Park is perfect for all the family to explore on Boris bikes

Holland Park is perfect for all the family to explore on Boris bikes

Who buys and who stays

High property prices mean that many buyers come with money made in the City; it is also popular with European buyers who like the community feel, and wealthy families who like the choice of private schools. Some buyers have second homes in the Cotswolds so appreciate being close to the M4 and M40.

Staying power: according to Rollo Miles, the high cost of stamp duty is an incentive to stay rather than move. “Houses tend to come on the market on average every 10 years. For flats, the time space is around five years.”

Best roads: south of Holland Park Avenue the best streets are Holland Park itself, Camden Hill Square, Addison Road, Holland Park Villas, Melbury Road and the Phillimore Estate roads off Kensington High Street. North of Holland Park Road, the most desirable roads are those which have access to communal gardens such as Norland Square and St James’s Gardens

Places to explore

After years of lying derelict, the Sixties Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington High Street with its swooping copper roof is to become the new home of the Design Museum. The £80 million scheme, due for completion in 2014, is to be designed by minimalist architect John Pawson, and includes two blocks of flats which will finance the development.

Flower-filled Holland Park

Flower-filled Holland Park is now hugely popular during the summer opera season

There is an enclave of cottages and terraces close to Latimer Road Tube station, around Sirdar Road and Treadgold Street, which is worth exploring.

Getting an education

Holland Park, Kensington and Notting Hill are awash with prep schools, including the very exclusive Wetherby School for boys in Pembridge Square where Princes William and Harry were pupils. However, there are a number of state primary and secondary schools which are judged “outstanding” by Ofsted. The outstanding primary schools are: Fox in Kensington Place and St Francis RC in Treadgold Street.

Both local comprehensives are outstanding: Cardinal Vaughan RC in Addison Road (boys, with girls in the sixth form), and Holland Park School (co-ed) in Airlie Gardens. Fee-paying St Paul’s Girls’ School, Godolfin & Latymer (girls), Latymer Prep (co-ed ages seven to 11) and Latymer Upper (co-ed ages 11 to 18) are in Hammersmith, and St Paul’s School (boys) is in Barnes.

Shops and restaurants: there are numerous cafés — Paul, Patisserie Valerie, Maison Blanc — along Holland Park Avenue where there is also Lidgate, one of London’ s best butchers, and a branch of Daunt Books. There is a village feel to the area known as Clarendon Cross where Julie’s wine bar is a local institution. There are also antique shops including Virginia Bates’s vintage boutique and French-style kitchenware shop Summerill and Bishop.

Koi carp in the pond at Holland Park

Koi carp in the pond at Holland Park

The Belvedere is a popular local restaurant in the beautiful remains of Holland House in the park, but surprisingly for such a well-heeled area, Holland Park does not have any top-notch fine dining restaurants.

Open Spaces, leisure and the arts

Holland Park itself is the area’s biggest attraction. Stretching to 54 acres, the park is one of London’s most diverse with a semi-wild area of woodland, a Japanese garden, a cricket pitch, tennis courts and a youth hostel. Avondale Park is north of Holland Park Avenue, and was created in 1892 from a former pig slurry pit known as the “ocean”.

Leisure and the arts: the Kensington Leisure Centre in Walmer Road is the nearest council-owned swimming pool. There are multiplex cinemas in Kensington High Street and the Westfield shopping centre. The summer highlight is the opera festival in Holland Park complete with Glyndebourne-style picnickers.

Transport: Holland Park is close to the A40 and the M4. There are two Tube stations: Holland Park on the Central line and Latimer Road on the Circle line and the Hammersmith and City line. All are in Zone 2 and an annual travel card to Zone 1 costs £1,168.

Council: the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (Conservative-controlled); Band D council tax for the 2011/2012 year is £1,079.12.

Sean Henry’s 1998 Walking Man figure in painted bronze and steel in Holland Park

Sean Henry’s 1998 Walking Man figure in painted bronze and steel in Holland Park

Buying in Holland Park

One-bedroom flat £510,000
Two-bedroom flat £733,000
Two-bedroom house £1.22 million
Three-bedroom house £1.67 million
Four-bedroom house £2.01 million
Source: Hometrack

Renting in Holland Park

One-bedroom flat £350 to £550 a week
Two-bedroom flat £500 to £1,000 a week
Two-bedroom house £700 to £1,200 a week
Three-bedroom house £1,000 to £1,900 a week
Four-bedroom house £1,800 to £2,500 a week
Five-bedroom plus house £2,500 to £5,000 a week

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Spotlight on Borough

Bawdy Borough has been reborn as a home for food lovers and City professionals who want to walk to work, says Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard (December 2012)
  • Borough marketeers
    Borough Marketeers Sam Whitehead and Jaid Thaker at Cartwright Brothers

There was a time when the neighbourhood of Borough in south-east London was famous only for the stink of its tanneries, breweries, hop yards and vinegar factories. Today it is going through a transformation from the ground to the skies.

In the past decade Borough Market, selling every culinary delight from epicure pork pies to smoked fish from the west coast of Ireland and oysters from Colchester, has become one of London’s major tourist attractions, with most real Londoners now knowing to turn up early to avoid the crush.

Across the road stands the elongated glass triangle of the Shard, next to London Bridge station, its jagged tip hidden eerily in the clouds on overcast mornings. And in the new year this new iconic London landmark, the tallest building in Europe, will open its public viewing floor for the first time.

Borough was settled by the Romans, who built the first bridge over the Thames nearby. Historically it was beyond the control of the city and became a place noted for its bawdiness. In Shakespeare’s time it was the site of three famous theatres — the Globe, the Rose and the Swan. And it was where Charles Dickens came to live when his father was thrown into the Marshalsea debtors’ prison, which featured in Little Dorrit.

Properties for sale in Borough: there are period houses and flats, especially in the little-known enclave around Merrick Square and Trinity Church Square. There are converted warehouses in and around Bermondsey Street and new riverside flats as well as “right-to-buy” council flats.

The most expensive house currently for sale is The Surrey Dispensary in Trinity Street which is on the market for £2.95 million through Foxtons (020 3324 5154). This four-bedroom, four-storey, flat-fronted Victorian house is in the Trinity Church Square conservation area.

Agent Stephan Mouzouri at the Borough branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward says prices in Borough have passed their previous 2007 peak and still continue to rise.

He says: “Prices range from £2,000 per square foot in locations close to the river down to £500 per square foot nearer Elephant and Castle.”

Trinity Church Square

Offers above £1 million: three-bedroom apartment in Trinity Church Square

The area attracts: Borough is no longer a cheap area, so most buyers are professionals age 35 or above, many working in the City who enjoy being able to walk to work. There are also parents buying for their student children.

Staying power: once in the area people tend to stay until they have children, when there is usually the urge to move further afield in search of more space and more greenery.

What’s new: Trinity Church Terrace (Hamptons, 020 7717 5321) is a development of 12 flats and 10 terrace houses in a traditional style from developer London Realty. Two four-bedroom houses remain at £1.99 million.

The Murano Building (Felicity J Lord, 020 7089 6490) is a development of 20 one- and two-bedroom flats, including three affordable, for completion in summer 2013 in Crosby Row. From £445,000 for a one-bedroom flat.

Up and coming: former council flats sell at significantly lower prices. Lettings manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Borough office, Kira Sapiets, says such flats make solid investments and are easy to let.

The restaurants and shops in Hay's Gallery attract a lot of visitors

The restaurants and shops in Hay’s Gallery attract a lot of visitors

Getting an education: the Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary in Redcross Way, Charles Darwin in Toulmin Street and Friars in Webber Street are the three primary schools, all judged “outstanding” by Ofsted. Globe Academy (ages three to 18) in Harper Road is an all-through state school judged “good”. St Saviour’s and St Olave’s (girls aged 11 to 18) in New Kent Road is “outstanding”.

Shops and restaurants: as well as Borough Market, there are shops and restaurants in Hay’s Galleria — including a year-round Christmas shop — More London, Butler’s Wharf in Shad Thames and along Bermondsey Street. Locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out.

Meat is celebrated at Roast, Spanish tapas at Tapas Brindisa, another favourite is Elliot’s Café, all in Borough Market. In Bermondsey Street, the Garrison is a popular gastropub with the shabby-chic look; Pizarro and its little brother José across the street both specialise in Spanish food; Delfina is a restaurant-cum-art gallery and Zucca has a modern take on Italian food.

Magdalen in Tooley Street gets good reviews for its modern European menu, and round the corner in Weston Street, Champor-Champor is an eccentrically decked-out Malaysian restaurant. When Terence Conran developed his gastrodome in Butler’s Wharf, the star turn was, and remains, Le Pont de la Tour, with great views of Tower Bridge from its riverside terrace.


Locals can relax in the green space of Bermondsey Street

Open Space: one of London’s great walks even on a blowy winter’s day is along the Thames from China Wharf, through Shad Thames, under Tower Bridge, past the Greater London Authority and the More London office development, then on through Hay’s Galleria to London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, the cobbled streets around Clink Street, the Globe theatre and beyond to the South Bank.

Leisure and the arts: some of London’s best arts attractions are close by. The National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, National Film Theatre, IMAX cinema and Hayward Gallery are in the Southbank complex. Other theatres include the Globe, as well as the Old and Young Vic, in Waterloo.

Tate Modern in the old Bankside Power Station is now one of London’s biggest tourist draws. The Unicorn Theatre for children has a new building on Tooley Street. Fringe theatres include the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Southwark Playhouse.

Travel: two stations — London Bridge and Waterloo — offer easy access to the country and the seaside towns of Kent and Sussex. London Bridge (Zone 1; annual travelcard £1,168) is on the Northern line, one stop from Bank and two from Moorgate; and the Jubilee line, three stops from Canary Wharf.

Council: Borough and London Bridge fall mainly in Southwark (Labour-controlled) and partly in Lambeth (also Labour-controlled). Band D council tax in Southwark is £1,218.86, while in Lambeth it is £1,232.01.

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast sits proudly on the River Thames near to More London and Shad Thames

Average prices: buying in Borough
One-bedroom flat: £381,000
Two-bedroom flat: £695,000
Three-bedroom flat: £1.59 million
Four-bedroom house: £1.79 million

Average prices: renting in Borough
Two-bedroom flat: £300 to £450 a week
Two-bedroom flat: £350 to £650 a week
Three-bedroom flat: £450 to £700 a week
Four-bedroom house: £550 to £900 a week
Source: Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

Fun facts for Borough: highest value streets
Maidstone Buildings Mews: £669,756
Surrey Row: £667,033
Great Guildford Street: £633,761
Ayres Street: £630,478
Vine Yard: £610,184

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Spotlight on Belsize Park

Central and glamorous, Belsize Park has a wide variety of striking architecture to offer young professionals, says Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard (July 2012)
Emily, four, and Anna, three, with nursery teacher Alison Whitelam on an Eton Avenue farmers’ market shopping expedition

Two blue plaques in Parkhill Road in north London’s Belsize Park — one to the sculptor Henry Moore, the other to the painter Piet Mondrian — tell the story of London’s artistic community in the Thirties.

Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo and Herbert Read all lived nearby and when Mondrian was coaxed into leaving Paris for London in 1938 the group found him a studio in Parkhill Road. But after Nicholson and Hepworth fled to St Ives and Moore to Much Hadham, Mondrian had little reason to stay in wartime Britain. When a bomb dropped on the house next door he fled to New York.

Today, Belsize Park is home to a much wealthier arty set. Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay frontman husband Chris Martin own two adjacent mid-Victorian villas, while actress Helena Bonham Carter and her film director husband Tim Burton live in two mews houses with a connecting door.

Belsize Park is three and a half miles from central London, south of Hampstead and north of Chalk Farm and Primrose Hill. Its name is reputed to derive from the French “bel assis” or “well-seated”. Development started in the mid-19th century when large stucco mansions around Belsize Square were built to rival Kensington and Bayswater. Later, small Arts & Crafts-influenced houses and mansion flats were built.

It also has a small concentration of art deco and modern movement buildings, including Stanbury Court deco flats on Haverstock Hill, and houses on Garnett Road and Parkhill Road, while the Isokon building on Lawn Road, by architect Wells Coates, is one of this country’s finest London examples of modern-movement architecture.

The Isokon building in Belsize Park

What there is to buy in Belsize Park

According to estate agent James Staite of the Belsize Park office of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, most large stucco houses are now converted into flats, though a spacious three-bedroom flat can cost as much as £1.2 million.

Whole houses are rare, although a house in Belsize Park Gardens sold for £6 million this year. An art deco house with original Crittall windows costs £1 million plus, while a one-bedroom flat in the Stanbury Court block costs £500,000.

The area attracts: Belsize Park is popular with European buyers who are used to apartment living, but there is also a strong local market of people trading up from a one-bedroom flat to a two or three-bedroom flat.

Staying power: families who want a house tend to move out because the jump from a flat to a house prices many people out of Belsize Park.

Postcode: Belsize Park falls into NW3, the desirable Hampstead postcode which also includes Chalk Farm and part of Primrose Hill.

Best roads: Belsize Park Gardens, Belsize Square and Eton Avenue.

Renting in Belsize Park

Colin Gillibrand, lettings manager at Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward’s Belsize Park branch, says most renters are young professional singles and couples, and corporate lets. People like the period conversions for their high ceilings, cornices and wooden floors.

White stucco houses on Belsize Lane

What’s new?

De Laszlo House in Fitzjohn’s Avenue is a development of three interlinked Arts & Crafts-style houses. One was the home of the royal portrait painter Philip de Laszlo who painted Edward VII in 1907 and Princess Elizabeth in 1933. There are 18 two-, three- and four-bedroom flats and prices range from £1.45 million to £3.85 million (Knight Frank 020 7861 5442).

Up and coming: James Staite tips The Etons, Thirties blocks near Chalk Farm Tube, where one-bedroom flats sell for about £360,000 and two-bedroom flats for about £530,000.

Getting an education

Belsize Park has a very high concentration of private schools. The choice for girls is between Sarum Hall (ages three to 11) in Eton Avenue, The Village (ages three to 11) in Parkhill Road, St Christopher’s (ages four to 11) in Belsize Lane, South Hampstead High (ages four to 18) in Netherhall Gardens and Maresfield Gardens, and The Royal (ages three to 16) in Rosslyn Hill.

For boys there is Hereward House (ages four to 13) in Strathray Gardens, The Hall School (ages four to 13) in Crossfield Road and University College School (UCS) (co-ed ages three to seven, boys ages seven to 18 with girls in the sixth form) in Frognal. Trevor-Roberts School (co-ed ages four to 13) is in Eton Avenue.

The North Bridge School nursery (co-ed ages three to five) is in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, the junior school (co-ed five to eight) is in Netherhall Gardens. From September the North Bridge Senior school is moving from Camden Town to The Royal which will become co-educational, much to the consternation of some parents.

The Fine Arts College (co-ed ages 13 to 18) in Lambolle Place is a private school teaching mainly A-levels but with a few GCSE students. The following state primary schools are judged good by the Government’s education watchdog, Ofsted: Rosary RC in Haverstock Hill, Fleet in Fleet Road and Fitzjohn’s in Fitzjohn’s Avenue.

Shops in Belsize Park

The nearest comprehensive is Haverstock, which is judged good. There is a lot of local excitement at the prospect of a new academy school sponsored by University College London, UCL, which opens in September.

Shops and restaurants

The inhabitants of Belsize Park must love coffee because no one is more than a couple of minutes away from a cappuccino. There are shops, cafés and restaurants on Haverstock Hill near Belsize Park Tube, and further down in the strip branded Steeles Village after the pub of the same name.

There are more shops along England’s Lane, where there is a popular butchers, Barretts, and in Belsize village on Belsize Lane. There is a farmers’ market every Wednesday at the Swiss Cottage end of Eton Avenue. XO in Belsize Lane is one of a small chain of restaurants serving pan-Asian food. Bradleys on Winchester Road has a Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

Open space: there’s a “park” in the name but Belsize Park hasn’t got one — although Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath are all close by.

Leisure and the arts

The Hampstead Everyman has a second cinema close to Belsize Park Tube. The Roundhouse at nearby Chalk Farm is a leading venue showing a mix of live music, theatre and circus. The Hampstead Theatre is a fringe theatre at Swiss Cottage, which is the location of the nearest council-owned swimming pool.

Travel: Belsize Park, Chalk Farm and Swiss Cottage are all stops on the Northern line. Finchley Road & Frognal station is on the Overground north London line. All stations are in Zone 2 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,168.

Council: Camden (Labour-controlled); Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year is £1,328.25.

Average prices

Buying a house or flat in Belsize Park
One-bedroom flat: £432,000
Two-bedroom flat: £716,000
Two-bedroom house: £900,000
Three-bedroom house: £1.75 million
Four-bedroom house: £2.52 million
Five-bedroom house £3.78 million
Source: Zoopla

Renting in Belsize Park
One-bedroom flat: £350 to £550 a week
Two-bedroom flat: £425 to £850 a week
Two-bedroom house: £500 to £1,000 a week
Three-bedroom house: £750 to £1,500 a week
Four-bedroom house: £1,000 to £5,000 a week
Five-bedroom house: £1,250 to £10,000 a week
Source: Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

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Spotlight on Barnes

Anthea Masey discovers good primary schools, peaceful country lanes and cosy pubs in the picturesque south-west London village of Barnes for the Evening Standard (October 2012)

London is a series of villages — and Barnes, in the south-west of the capital, is one of the loveliest. Sitting on a great curve of the Thames it has a two-and-a-half mile river frontage stretching from the London Wetland Centre and Barn Elms in the east to Barnes railway bridge, the last landmark on the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race, in the west. At the centre of this picture-postcard community there is a duck pond and the popular Sun Inn, with its outside terrace.

The Crescent, Barnes

A favourite celebrity spot, familiar faces seen on its streets include residents Tim Rice, Aled Jones, Anneka Rice, Chris Patten, Patricia Hodge and Peter Snow. More macabre but no less famous is the tricky point on Queen’s Drive, now a place of pilgrimage, where Seventies pop star Marc Bolan of T Rex died in a car crash.

Narrow lanes lined with cottages are a feature of this part of London, as is traditional shopping: Saturday morning has a timeless feel about it as residents with proper shopping baskets visit the butchers and bakers, and have coffee with friends.

This favoured London village has good primary schools and high-achieving private schools, loads of owner-run little shops and restaurants and is a quick and easy commute into central London via Clapham Junction, Vauxhall or Waterloo. The presence of the Swedish school in Lonsdale Road has made this a popular destination for expatriate Swedes, which has given Barnes a detectable Scandinavian flavour.

Barnes has homes from several eras. There are Georgian houses overlooking the Thames and around St Mary’s Church. Further waves of development followed the opening of Hammersmith Bridge in 1827 when fine Regency villas with their own carriage drives and coach houses, which now sell for up to £5 million, were built along Castelnau.

There are also later Victorian and Edwardian houses including the famous lion houses in The Crescent, Glebe Road and Hillersdon Avenue with their fine detailing and proud lions looking down from their rooftop perches. These now sell for £2 million upwards. On the Lowther estate around Ferry Road there are spacious Twenties houses, which sell for £1.5 million-plus, and where Barnes merges with Mortlake there are roads of pretty terrace cottages in the area known as Little Chelsea.

Those in the Barnes primary school catchment area are particularly sought after and prices now start at £700,000. Close to Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge station there are large mansion flats overlooking the river. In Elm Bank Mansions close to Barnes Bridge, one-bedroom flats sell from £375,000.

The conversion of the Harrods depository into flats brought loft living to Barnes, while the nearby development of the old waterworks site brought new roads of townhouses and large detached houses.

The area attracts: Chris Carney of local estate agents, Chesterton Humberts, says people come to Barnes for the village atmosphere and the easy commute into the City. “We get a lot of young families moving from flats in Chelsea or Kensington to a house in Barnes. There is also a strong local market with people trading up and down.”

Barnes's green pond

Renting: according to Chris Carney, young professionals like the flats near Hammersmith Bridge. “They will walk over the bridge and commute from Hammersmith Tube station which is on four Tube lines. We also get a lot of Swedish bankers who may only be here for a few years and who prefer to rent.”

Postcodes: Barnes enjoys the favourable SW13 postcode, although it does stray into SW14, where it meets Mortlake on its western boundary.

Best roads: Scarth Road is a private road where large Victorian detached houses sell for as much as £7 million; otherwise the best roads are Castelnau, parts of Lonsdale Road, Glebe Road, Hillersdon Avenue, Nassau Road and Kitson Road.

Up and coming: the Henry Boot houses in north Barnes are the area’s most affordable homes. More than 50,000 of these houses were built across Britain after the First World War. They now have to be reconstructed after faults were found in the original building method. The so-called “unreconstructed” houses can only be bought for cash, but even after work has been carried out, the “reconstructed” houses represent the best value in the neighbourhood.

Schools: Barnes and Mortlake have a good choice of top-performing primary schools. Barnes in Cross Street is judged “outstanding” by the government education watchdog, Ofsted. St Osmund’s RC in Church Road, Lowther in Stillinghurst Road and St Mary Magdalen’s RC in Worple Street are all judged “good”. Scattered along the length of Lonsdale Road or close to it there are two top private schools: the highly academic St Paul’s (boys, ages seven to 13 at Colet Court — the prep school — and ages 13 to 18), and The Harrodian (co-ed, ages four to 18) in Stillinghurst Road. The Swedish School (co-ed, ages three to 18) has brought many Swedish families to Barnes.

Traditional shops and cafes of Church Street

Shops and restaurants: Barnes has shops, restaurants and cafés along the high street, on Church Road opposite the lion houses, and then again at the junction with Castelnau and Rocks Lane. In the high street there is a butcher, a baker, fishmonger and a Swedish grocer, but also a surprising number of charity shops. There is a popular Saturday farmers’ market in Station Road close to the pond.

In Church Road opposite the lion houses look out for Nina, which sells clothes and interior accessories with a Scandinavian flavour. At the junction of Church Street and Castlenau find the Barnes bookshop, while Caravan, a large furniture store, has its own café. Luma, an interiors store, has an interesting eco and shabby-chic collection, and Melanie Drake boutique also sells art. There’s a Mary’s Living and Giving Shop, one of Mary Portas’s chain of ultra-chic charity shops raising money for Save the Children. Also in Church Road is the long-standing, popular restaurant Sonny’s, now rebranded Sonny’s Kitchen, and Riva, among the favourites of Evening Standard restaurant critic Fay Maschler.

White Hart Lane, where Barnes meets Mortlake has the ever-inventive Tobias and the Angel which combines antiques with its own block-printed textiles; the Dining Shop, specialising in everything for the dining room, and one of only three branches of Marilyn Moore for printed dresses and cashmere cardigans.

Open space: Barnes is on the Thames Path and from Barnes Common follow the Beverley Brook Walk to the river at Putney in one direction and Richmond Park in the other. The London Wetland Centre in Queen Elizabeth Walk is the place to go birdwatching.

The railway bridge in Barnes

Leisure and the arts: The historic Olympic Studios, where generations of musicians from the Rolling Stones, to Madonna to Oasis recorded, is about to be reopened as a cinema showing both main release and art house films. The Old Sorting Office Community Arts Centre on the common, near the pond in the centre of the village, puts on plays, films, exhibitions and hosts music events and workshops. The nearest council-owned swimming pool is at the Putney Leisure Centre in Upper Richmond Road. Rocks Lane Multi-Sports Centre on Rocks Lane is a private sports club offering tennis, football and cricket.

Travel: Barnes Bridge and Barnes railway stations (Zone 3 annual travelcard £1,368) have services to Waterloo which take between 19 and 27 minutes; the trains stop at Clapham Junction (between nine and 12 minutes) for connections to Victoria, and Vauxhall (between 15 and 18 minutes) for connections to the Victoria line. Driving into central London during the rush hour is not to be recommended unless you get up with the lark. Traffic along Putney High Street and Putney Bridge is very slow-moving.

Council: Richmond (Conservative-controlled); Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year: £1,594.11.

Average prices- Buying in Barnes
One-bedroom flat: £300,000
Two-bedroom flat: £707,000
Two-bedroom house: £515,000
Three-bedroom house: £1.08 million
Four-bedroom house: £1.62 million

Average prices- Renting in Barnes
One-bedroom flat: £1,200 to £1,750 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,600 to £3,250 a month
Two-bedroom house: £2,000 to £3,000 a month
Three-bedroom house: £3,000 to £3,950 a month
Four-bedroom house: £4,000 to £5,000 a month
Five-bedroom-plus house: £4,500 to £10,000 a month
Source: Chesterton Humberts

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Spotlight on Hampstead

It is one of the capital’s favourite locations, and with good reason. By Anthea Masey for the Evening Standard- September 2012

Historic Hampstead steals hearts with quaint lanes winding through the back streets. And as the high street winds its way up to Hampstead Heath and The Spaniards Inn, there are roads of cottages which haven’t changed in 300 years.
Hampstead, sitting on the edge of 800 acres of semi-wild countryside, still has an arty, literary and bohemian atmosphere.

Church Row, Hampstead

Famous former residents have included the poet John Keats and the painters John Constable and George Romney, and today it is popular with actors and comedians including Tom Conti, Pauline Collins and Ricky Gervais. Today though, the days of living the life of an impoverished artist are over and incomers need a substantial budget to live in this charmed spot.

What there is to buy in Hampstead

As well as cottages, there are Victorian and Edwardian houses, large detached 1920s houses and mansion flats.

Hampstead Heath

The area attracts: Simon Edwards, of local agent Savills, says families love Hampstead for the schools and the wide open spaces of Hampstead Heath; Americans love it for the village atmosphere and the proximity to the American School in St John’s Wood.

Staying power: People aspire to live in Hampstead and put down roots.

Renting: Young professionals love to rent in Hampstead, but overseas families who are here for a year or two also prefer to rent. There has been an influx of French families since the new French school opened in Kentish Town.

Postcode: The distinctive black ceramic street signs proudly announce that this is NW3, the extremely desirable Hampstead postcode.

Best roads: Church Row has fine early Georgian houses, and the last house on the market sold for £3 million back in 2006. Redington Road, Templewood Avenue and Greenaway Gardens to the west side of the High Street have large red-brick detached 1920s houses which have changed hands recently for between £4.75 million and £7.6 million.

Downshire Hill and Keats Grove are on the east side of the High Street. The houses here are more of an eclectic mix of period cottages and houses. The houses have sold for between £2.15 million and £3 million in the recent past.

Up and coming: There are no undervalued pockets in Hampstead.

Schools: Hampstead, along with nearby Belsize Park, has more private schools than state schools. This large concentration of schools leads to traffic chaos in and around Hampstead in the morning and afternoon, so much so that according to Simon Edwards of Savills, houses within walking distance of the most popular schools are at a premium.

There is a wide choice of private pre-prep and prep-schools, both traditional and experimental. Devonshire House (co-ed ages three to 13 with a nursery which takes children from two and a half months) is in Arkwright Road. St Anthony’s Preparatory (boys ages four to 13) is a Catholic school in Fitzjohn’s Avenue. The Academy School (co-ed ages six to 13) is in Pilgrims Place. Heathside Prep (co-ed ages three to 11) is in New End. Lyndhurst House (boys ages four to 13) is in Lyndhurst Gardens, as is the Marie Montessori School (co-ed ages three to 11).

Perrins Court, Hampstead

St Mary’s School (co-ed ages two to 11) is in Fitzjohn’s Avenue. Southbank International (co-ed ages three to 11) is in Netherhall Gardens and there is a senior school in the West End.

Hampstead Hill School (co-ed ages two to seven with a nursery which takes children from three months) is in St Stephen’s Hall, Pond Street. St Christopher’s School (girls ages four to 11) is in Belsize Lane. The North Bridge School nursery (co-ed ages three to five) is in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, the junior school (co-ed five to eight) is in Netherhall Gardens. From September, North Bridge Senior school moves from Camden to The Royal, a former girls’ school in Netherhall Gardens.

Hampstead’s state primary schools are either judged “outstanding” or “good” by Ofsted. Christ Church in Christ Church Hill is “outstanding”. Hampstead Parochial in Holly Bush Vale, New End Primary in Streatley Place, Fitzjohn’s in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Rosary RC in Haverstock Hill and Fleet in Fleet Road are all “good”. St Luke’s CofE is a new free primary in Kidderpore Avenue.

University College School (boys ages seven to 18, with a co-ed, the Phoenix School, ages three to seven) in College Crescent, Holly Hill and Frognal is a respected local private all-through school, as is South Hampstead High (girls ages four to 18) in Maresfield Gardens. St Margaret’s (girls ages four to 16) is in Kidderpore Gardens.

Ghassan Akar

Shops and restaurants: Long-standing locals moan about the disappearance of local shops and the arrival of so many upmarket clothing and restaurant chains, but it does mean Hampstead has managed to maintain a busy high street.

Independent shops to look out for are: CoChineChine, which stocks well-known fashion brands such as Acne and McQ; One Hundred Acres for toys; Gilden’s Arts for 20th century art; the Hampstead Butcher and Providore, which has replaced the much-loved Rosslyn Deli; Oak Studio in Perrin’s Court, a gallery and shop which runs workshops on the fashion for everything home-made; and deli Melrose and Morgan in Oriel Place.

Dach & Sons is a new cocktail bar and restaurant getting rave reviews. The best gastro pubs are the White Horse and the Old White Bear in Well Road; the Holly Bush in Holly Mount offers Hampstead tradition at its best.

Open space: Hampstead Heath with its 800 acres of semi-wild countryside is one of the main reasons why families are attracted to the area. Kenwood House on the northern edge of the heath has a café, the Brewhouse.

Keats House

Arts and leisure: Hampstead has lots of historic houses to visit. The National Trust owns Fenton House, a 17th century merchant’s house with a walled garden and, in contrast, 2 Willow Road, the modernist home of architect Erno Goldfinger.

Burgh House doubles as the Hampstead Museum and a wedding venue; Keats House, now a museum, was where the poet spent two creative years and where he fell in love with his “bright star” Fanny Brawne.

The Hampstead Everyman is the long-standing arts cinema. The Hampstead Golf Club has a nine-hole golf course off Winnington Road. The nearest theatre (the Hampstead Theatre) and council-owned swimming pool are in close-by Swiss Cottage.

Travel: Hampstead is on the Northern line with trains to the City and the West End. Hampstead Heath station is on the Overground North London line. Both stations are Zone 2 and an annual travel card to Zone 1 costs £1,168.

Council: Camden (Labour-controlled); Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year is £1,328.25.

Average buying prices (Source: Zoopla):
1 bed flat: £451k
2 bed flat: £727k
2 bed house:£865k
3 bed house: £1.6m
4 bed house: £2.2m

Average rental prices (Source: Savills):
1 bed flat:£350-650 pw
2 bed flat: £700-900 pw
2 bed house: £800-1,200 pw
3 bed house: £1,500-2,500 pw
4 bed house: £2,000- 3,000 pw

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