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London

Barnes

Tucked away on the south banks of the Thames and with the green open spaces of Barnes common to help shield its residents from the hustle and bustle of Putney and Wandsworth, Barnes has a retained a unique village character. Secluded from London's bustle, yet with trendy Fulham and Putney on its doorstep, Barnes remains a much sought after location boasting many large family homes and now City money has pushed up prices beyond those of Putney and Wandsworth.

Handsome Victorian houses surround the Common and both Castelnau and Lonsdale Roads to the north of the High Street. Smaller Victorian cottages and terraces can be found off the high street itself, whilst grand regency properties overlook the Thames. A new suburb called Barnes Waterside boast classy flats and imposing villas, whilst ex-council houses and mansion flats in North Barnes offer cheaper prices. Local pubs and intimate restaurants reflect the cosseted village feel.

The village itself is a tight network of roads, centred around the duck pond, with Victorian red brick terraces, intermingled with streets such as Hillersdon Avenue and Laurel Road, with larger 5/6 bedroom houses . Prices range from £850,000 to £3 million.

The major portion of Barnes comprises Edwardian housing on square plots of land giving good lateral space and off-street parking for between £850,000 and £1.5 million. The most popular houses in Barnes continue to be the large villas along Castelnau and Londsdale Road which range from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet. Most have off-street parking and some large gardens overlook the 105 acres of wetland that is now a nature reserve in the middle of London. The downside is that this is the main route from the A3 over Hammersmith Bridge to the A4, so road noise is an issue. Prices start at £1.75 million through to £3 million +.

The Schools within Barnes itself are St Paul's, Collet Court and the Harrodian, the latter being mixed. Barnes is also home to the Swedish school - a huge influence on the rental market.

Access by road to Kensington and Knightsbridge is surprisingly easy from Barnes, providing Hammersmith Bridge remains open. Mainline stations are at Barnes Common and Barnes Bridge to Waterloo. The nearest Tube is quite a distance away in Hammersmith and aircraft noise is a problem.

Battersea

Wandsworth's most fashionable address. Once strictly a working class suburb with a rough reputation, Battersea has successfully reinvented itself to true trendy status in just a generation. Riverside warehouses have given way to plush, modern apartments with great views and serious prices to match. Inland, Victorian terraces predominate as well ex-council blocks, largely bought up by their residents under the right-to-buy schemes of the Tory's and who have now laughed all the way to the bank. Elegant mansion blocks overlook Battersea Park, whilst roads off Lavender Hill offer larger Victorian semis. Battersea Village boasts the obligatory clutch of smart bars and restaurants. No tube, and traffic is appalling but Clapham Junction provides train services to most destinations required and residents can always resort to a quick stroll over one of the three bridges into neighbouring Chelsea across the river.

Bayswater

Bayswater is a part of London that should be smarter than it is. It lines the whole length of the north side of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and has some wonderful squares and streets – architecturally a match for anything in Kensington.

Its problem is cheap hotels. Like another area similarly afflicted, Pimlico, this brings with it cheap tourist shops and cafes and, like Pimlico, this has meant it has been an up-and-coming area for a very long time. Having said this, there are pockets of quiet streets and squares which are now becoming as popular (and expensive) as Chelsea and Notting Hill Gate.

Like Pimlico again, it has at its centre a mainline station, Paddington, which has caused many of its problems. This may be about to change with the new development of Paddington basin. This thirty six acre site is going to be the biggest regeneration in Central London for decades and with the new residential developments and office buildings it is likely that much of the benefit will spread out into the surrounding areas.

While London in general is now a cosmopolitan city, Bayswater is particularly so. Around Queensway can be heard just about any language and there is hardly an ethnic cuisine that is not represented. Towards the eastern end, next door to the Edgware Road, is particularly popular with Middle Eastern buyers and the shops and restaurants are representative of this.

Communications are superb with buses up and down the Bayswater Road into the West End and the Central, District and Circle lines connecting it with the City. The Heathrow Express runs out of Paddington and takes 15 minutes.

Belgravia

London's most exclusive location and home to the very wealthy. Owned virtually outright by the Grosvenor Estate since its construction around 1840, freeholds are rare and building regulations strict. Eaton and Chester Square boast grand, white stucco terraces and houses, whilst the elegant homes of Belgrave Square remain the domain of embassies. Charming converted-stable mews homes in cobbled cul-de-sacs lie tucked away from view. Property is very expensive, although the length of lease remaining influences prices enormously.

Belgravia is still the smartest area of London. It is mainly owned by the Grosvenor Estate which, unlike some other estates in London, maintains a constructive and businesslike relationship with their tenants, allied with efficient and effective estate management. The results of this can be seen in the uniformity of Eaton Square which means that property there nearly always sells at a premium to anywhere else in London.

While Eaton Square is the core of Belgravia the streets surrounding it are perennially expensive and popular. This tends to tail off slightly to the northeast in the streets running up to the boundary road with Buckingham Palace which have a higher office content and a paucity of shops, restaurants and cafes. For these amenities many prefer to be nearer Sloane Street where the area around Mossop Street has a more village-like atmosphere. The same applies to the south of Belgravia around Elizabeth Street.

There is a huge variation in the length of leases across Belgravia. It is nearly always possible to extend leases with the consent of the Grosvenor estate but expert advice is needed to negotiate the right terms.

Communications are reasonable with Sloane Square, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner and Victoria Underground stations within walking distance.

Belsize Park

Very pretty with exclusivity to match. Four and five-storey white stucco Victorian houses can be found in plentiful supply, yet those in Primrose Hill tend to be better looked after and less likely to be converted into flats. Chalcot Square provides the areas most sought after address with its pretty multicoloured houses and community feel. Belsize Park offers larger redbrick mansion blocks with spacious two and three bedroom apartments as well as a number of pretty mews cottages. A real celebrity hotspot which has helped to change this perception and Belsize Park is now as fashionable an area as Hampstead.

The local architecture is largely white stucco-fronted Victorian houses, many of which have been converted into flats. Originally sold on leases from the Church Commissioners, the move to enfranchise – originally started in the 1970's by BUTA (Belsize United Tenants Association) – is now complete and there are very few properties still held on short leases.

Belsize Park (as opposed to Belsize Village) is centred about the underground station on Haverstock Hill and features the Screen on the Hill Cinema and a Waitrose as well as a good selection of delicatessens and smart bars. Belsize Village on Belsize Lane is quieter and prettier with a couple of restaurants, a wine merchants and a pub at the centre.

One of the principal attractions of Belsize Park is that during peak commuting times, it is 20 minutes closer by car to central London than Hampstead.

The Bishops Avenue

The Bishop's Avenue London, N2 in the London Borough of Barnet is one of London's most exclusive residential thoroughfares. It is named after the Bishop's Wood, originally owned by the Bishop of London through which it runs. The Bishop's Avenue connects the north side of Hampstead Heath at Kenwood (Hampstead Lane) to East Finchley and is on the boundary of the Borough to the London Borough of Haringey.

The road is a favourite with the international ultra-rich and is often referred to by its nickname of "Millionaires' Row" (although recently, it has been referred to as "Billionaire's Row" in keeping with inflation), and each property occupies a 2-3 acre plot, which is relatively palatial for London.[1] During the mid 1990s, the street came to resemble a building site with many of the original houses being re-built. Properties on the street now have a vast array of individualistic architectural styles.

Property prices on the street sailed past the £1 million mark in the late 1980s[2], with house prices now typically starting from about £5,000,000 ($9,497,759 USD), with no upper bound. Currently Turkish tycoon Halis Toprak's 30,000 sq ft home, styled around a Greek temple, is for sale at £50 million ($94 million USD), making it one of the most expensive houses in the world, as listed by Forbes magazine.

Amongst the road's rich and famous residents are the Saudi Royal Family, whose London residence is situated there, although details of other residents and their addresses are kept relatively sketchy. Construction is constantly underway on The Bishops Avenue and prospective residents will purchase large properties as they become available, only to flatten them and construct their own from scratch. Another practice is to purchase any available property on the road, with the intention of moving to another non-available site, and to subsequently move when the more desired plot becomes available; however, there has been some recent press attention into whether the Bishop's Avenue has entered something of a decline. This has been mainly attributed to the fact that the road often appears to be very 'dead', because many of the residences do not appear to be primary residences, with the owners often residing abroad. Property switches hands frequently between the road's existing residents, and prominent corner positions are popular, as are some of the sites which are completely concealed from the road with gardens.

The Avenue is noted for the number of entrepreneurs and tycoons residents on it - the sudden influx of self-made billionaires (as opposed to aristocracy) is a recent phenomenon in London, and the Avenue is therefore markedly different to the highly exclusive but much more subtle and subdued character of areas such as Belgravia or Mayfair.

The fairly lax planning regulations on the road have resulted in some astonishing, and certainly unconventional, constructions as residents vie for attention and prestige. The exact details of properties on the avenue are not readily available although it appears that swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators and even private bowling alleys are popular.

The designs of some of the houses, nearly all of which are surrounded by high fences and security gates, have been criticized by various local and council groups although the wealthy residents, with the enormous houses eligible to very heavy taxation, usually gain planning permission from the local council, and some would argue that given the developments which have been allowed to take place, the architectural blend of questionable taste has become the avenue's signature style and it would therefore be pointless to try and restrain or restrict future development.

Famous residents:

Dame Gracie Fields
Lakshmi Mittal
Billy Butlin
Saudi Royal Family

Bloomsbury

London's new trend towards central living prompted by government pressure to restrict building on greenfield sites surrounding the capital has benefited both areas enormously. Houses are very rare and are snatched up by those in the know before ever hitting the open market. Flats are mostly converted office blocks or Georgian terraces prevalent around the Grays Inn Road and the London University. Flats above shops and restaurants are also available, as are ex-council blocks. Fitzrovia, a bussing enclave of Victorian and Georgian properties around Charlotte Street and Fitzroy Street is enormously popular and hence sought after.

Bushy Park

The vast expanse of Bushy Park (1,099 acres), makes it the second largest Royal Park in London. With the famous Diana Fountain forming the centrepiece to the equally famous Chestnut Avenue, many people think they know the park. However, it retains secret areas, there for the visitor to discover and enjoy.

Bushy Park is simply a wonderful place to get outside, walk away an afternoon and watch the sun slide spectacularly behind the horizon. The park’s most notable feature is Chestnut Avenue; the mile long thoroughfare designed by Sir Christopher Wren is flanked on either side by majestic rows of horse chestnut trees and leads to the majestic Diana Fountain. Anglers can try their luck in the three ponds and there are facilities for a host of other sports including rugby, football, horse-riding and hockey. Formal plantations of trees mingle with wildlife conservation areas and big mounds of bracken hiding herds of deer.

Combine a walk in the park with a visit to Hampton Court. Leave the palace by the Lion Gate, stop off for a refreshing pint in the King’s Arms pub just outside before you cross the road and enter the park via the Hampton Court Gate. Walk towards Hampton Wick and take the train back from there.

Cadogan Place

Cadogan Place is in the heart of Knightsbridge - a central convenient location for work and leisure. The A4 is within easy reach providing access to the west and public transport links are also superb, with Underground stations and Bus links in all directions to Heathrow Airport, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf. Alternatively there are plentiful London taxis.

Grand and prestigious, Knightsbridge, located between Hyde Park and Chelsea, should never be considered by those with shallow pockets. Best known for its famous shops and department stores like Harrods, houses are rare and most accommodation comprises of large flats and plush, serviced apartments. Elegant red brick mansion blocks overlooking Sloane Street, Hyde Park or one of the many garden squares prove very sought after. Brompton Square and Egerton Crescent boasting a number of elegant houses and pretty mews cottages, can be found west towards South Kensington or to the South and Chelsea. Knightsbridge is another favoured location of embassies. Property is very expensive, although the length of lease remaining influences prices enormously.

Campden Hill

Extremely busy on a Saturday as the world famous market attracts its usual mixture of New Age, Grunge and tourists from all four corners, yet behind the bustle lies many quiet leafy roads with exceptional large family homes and conversions. A mixture of every type of property from handsome Victorian houses in Gloucester Crescent to Georgian terraces off Parkway and the council blocks of Mornington Crescent. Prices vary widely depending on what street you are in and the level of noise you can stand. Albert Street in Camden town commands the highest premiums.

Chelsea

Chelsea used to be the smart bohemian part of London. This tradition stretched back to the Victorian artists whose studios still exist in Tite Street and other roads off the Embankment and was carried on into the 20th-century when the Kings Road became the centre of sixties swinging London. While the atmosphere is more quirky than perhaps Kensington, the price of property across Chelsea means that very few artists or musicians can afford to live there unless they are called Madonna.

Smart shops, restaurants, art galleries, the King's Road and a waterfront location. Don't bother searching for a bargain, they're long gone as every inch of Chelsea is pricey and now the domain of bankers, lawyers and city types. Less starchy than Kensington, Chelsea provides an east-west strip of some of London's most desirable real estate.

Redbrick mansion blocks housing imposing flats surround Sloane Square and Pont Street whilst to the west, small but pricey Victorian terraces can be found off the King's Road. North of the King's Road offers larger family homes with more regal properties fringing the Royal Hospital. Even properties which lie in the shadow of the Worlds End council estate in West Chelsea now command a high price.

The arterial Road is the Kings Road which like its counterpart to the north, the Fulham Road is always busy. The top end of the Kings Road around Sloane Square is dominated by the Cadogan estate which owns most of the property from the Kings Road up Sloane Street. This is always been a traditionally smart part of London with the occupants of the houses and flats around Sloane Square shopping in Peter Jones. The middle section of the Kings Road down to Old Church Street contains the now traditional series of small boutiques selling frocks and cowboy boots. There has been something of the renaissance in the area beyond old Church Street which was known as World's End. This has centred round the Bluebird which is a mixture of delicatessen and restaurant developed by Conran. This bit of the Kings Road is now a rival for the stretch of the Fulham Road running from the cinema to the Chelsea and Westminster hospital which is known locally as 'the beach' – it contains dozens of restaurants and bars.

Communications are good nearer Sloane Square and South Kensington where there are tube stations but get considerably worse the further down the Fulham Road or the Kings Road that you go. Both roads suffer from being main arterial roads into Fulham.

Cheyne Walk

This is a terrific address. Cheyne Walk was, and still is, considered to be the most fashionable road in Chelsea. This block of flats is on the corner of Flood Street, once the home of Margaret Thatcher. It is a short walk to the vibrant Kings Road and to the Sloane Square underground station. There are frequent buses up and down the Kings Road making it very easy to get around from here. The local shopping and restaurants are second to none.

Chiswick

Chiswick has three main parts, one of which is physically divided from the rest.

The core is around Chiswick High Road with its shops and restaurants. It is very much a London village with its own distinctive flavour and local specialities. It is also sufficiently far away from the river for the flight path into Heathrow not to be too much of a problem.

The area between Chiswick High Road and the A4 is very typical of West London with Edwardian streets of medium-sized family houses of the type that is very common in Fulham. To the north is Bedford Park which has a very distinctive feel due to its arts and crafts Edwardian architecture which buyers tend to either love or hate. This is an area of big houses and green spaces and correspondingly high prices. Also to the south of the A4 is Grove Park with earlier Victorian houses intermingled with houses built in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of stray bomb-damage during the war.

The real gem in Chiswick is Chiswick Mall, an almost completely unspoiled terrace of Georgian houses with gardens running down to the river and views over to Barnes and Hammersmith Bridge. This is a real rus in urbe with an atmosphere that is almost unique in London. Beautiful and charming though it is it is completely cut off from the rest of Chiswick by the huge arterial road that is the A4. All access to it by car is via the Hogarth roundabout and there are few shops of any description nearby. As the river is the main flight path into Heathrow, aeroplanes can be a problem.

Communications by underground are good and the A4 and the Hammersmith flyover means that, apart from at peak times, road access is reasonable. Prices on Chiswick Mall and in Grove Park are not much less than in Central London.

Clapham

The new Fulham? Clapham's trendy young residents and middle class families like to think so. In comparison to the rest of Lambeth, Clapham stands out from the crowd. Good transport links into London, a vibrant supply of shops and restaurants and attractive Victorian and Edwardian property creates an attractive cocktail for those forced to look elsewhere by higher prices north of the river. Abbeville Village in Clapham Park offers sought after Victorian terraces and conversions whilst Clapham Common itself is overlooked by a stock of fine Georgian townhouses. Old Town provides a pleasant mixture of Georgian and Victorian terraces and mews as well as a number of grander white stucco properties around Grafton Square.

Cottesmore Gardens

Grand-scale and spacious living is what people enjoy in this premier residential area of Kensington W8, offering an abundance of imposing frontages on quiet squares. A lot of the houses are extremely large and even when they have been converted into flats, as many have been; these Kensington apartments are still enormous. Kensington is grand and spacious with Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park to walk, jog or ride in.

Kensington is home to many excellent schools and public transport runs very frequently through the wide main roads and there are several Underground stations, which means commuting to the West End and the City is very simple. Taxis are also in abundance here too. Although the rents are high in this area, expense is spared on long commuter journeys.

There are many different types of properties that sit amongst each other in Kensington. Modern developments and mansion blocks are situated next to quaint shops, cosy pubs, cafés and restaurants. Residential housing, including attractive cottages line many of the roads and you will also find that some of the properties have extremely well maintained front gardens.

In Kensington you are within easy reach of escapism, as two of London's most adored open spaces, Holland Park and Kensington Palace Gardens are within easy reach. Unfortunately during the war, Holland House was bombed. In 1952 the London County Council bought the land and since then it has been enjoyed by vasts amounts of people. Most of the gardens have remained including the Rose Garden, the Dutch Garden and the Italian Garden. In 1991, the Kyoto Japanese Garden also came on the scene.

Public transport feeds Kensington very well. If you fly regularly transport to either Heathrow or Gatwick is simple. For Heathrow Airport take the Underground to Earls Court along the District Line, change at Earls Court and take the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow. To get to Gatwick Airport, take either the District or Circle line tube to Victoria Station and then the Gatwick Express (train) into Gatwick.

Covent Gardens

A lively mix of restaurants, shops, clubs and theatres that prove an ever popular attraction for hoards of tourists, Covent Garden has grown out of all recognition from its old days as London's fruit-and-veg market back in the seventies. Space is at a premium so accommodation comprises mainly of flats and maisonettes above shops and restaurants. Houses are very rare and the lack of gardens increases the desirability for a roof garden or balcony on any property. Noise and congestion is inevitable and parking unrealistic.

This area is in the immediate vicinity of the old flower market, the shopping area around Seven Dials and the Royal Opera House. It is close to theatreland and the nearest mainline railway station is Charing Cross, which services Kent and Sussex. Charing Cross Road, the Strand, Oxford Street and Kingsway border the area.

To the west is Soho – well-known for its bars, restaurants and late-night clubs. Bloomsbury to the north includes several colleges and teaching hospitals as well as the British Museum, and Holborn to the east is dominated by the Law Courts and legal chambers.

Around the Piazza of the old flower market, it is mainly commercial and retail but there are a number of blocks that have recently been refurbished for residential use. These provide large, light and unusual spaces, some loft style and some straightforward flats.

Seven Dials is all retail but above the small shops, there are flats. However, the streets are narrow and, although the area has an 'old-English' feel, this means the flats are usually dark and overlooked.

To the east of the Opera House is mainly old warehouses and small factory buildings that have been converted to loft-style apartments and a large amount of council accommodation.

With its bars, restaurants and theatres, Covent Garden is busy almost twenty-four hours a day, and it is extremely bad for parking. But for those who wish to immerse themselves into London life, it is almost unsurpassable. However, the downside is that there may be drunks and drug addicts on your doorstep.

Curzon Street

Curzon Street is located in the heart of Mayfair and within minutes walk to Green Park tube station, Green Park and Hyde Park.

Solid, respectable haunts of the wealthy. Located between both Hyde and Regents Parks and on the doorstop of the West End's sights and attractions, Mayfair and St. James's have remained the desired location of rich bankers, embassy staff and wealthy internationals for generations.

Large red brick, Georgian and Victorian mansions provide grand, serviced flats and apartments in Mayfair. Shepherds Market to the south has a number of small cottages and mews properties. St. James's boasts a number of substantial, smart homes although much of its property is now used as offices. The Jubilee Line service to Docklands has attracted young bankers looking for flats to rent. Much of the area is owned by the Grosvenor Estate and hence long leases are rare.

Docklands

Considered a vast white elephant in the early 1990's, Docklands is now heralded as a great success and its influence can be felt across Tower Hamlets. With its three gleaming towers expected to triple the working population of the area over the next few years and the Jubilee Line finally in place, past teething problems of unfilled offices space, lack of transport and no shops, have long since faded into Docklands history.

Stretching from Tower Bridge, Wapping and Limehouse along the Thames dockside in the south, to the true East End haunts of Bow, Stepney and Bethnal Green in the north, Tower Hamlets is a borough of extremes. Banking and IT wealth dominates Docklands, whilst some of the worse London council estates lie only a few miles north, a reminder of the borough's past decay. Regeneration is still the buzzword and as the trend for urban living continues to grow amongst the well paid bankers and IT staff who populate the shiny new riverside office blocks, Tower Hamlets will continue to successfully reinvent itself.

A vast swathe of modern apartments, converted warehouses and town houses. Regenerated from its previous derelict state over the past decade, The Isle of Dogs remains somewhat isolated from the rest of Docklands and a little soulless. Unlike neighbouring Wapping, the Island, as it is known locally, remains vulnerable to market downturns due to its location on the fringe. Prices are highest for the newest developments and properties with river views.

Spitalfields and Whitechapel provide a lively and cosmopolitan corner of London. Commercial and residential buildings stand side by side in an area of London renowned for its wholesale rag trade and buzzing Asian Community. Houses rarely come on the market and are snatched up quickly by developers in the know. Streets off the famous Brick Lane, boast tall Georgian town houses and a location close to the best curry houses in London. New developments and warehouse shells are readily available, many now being touted as live / work units.

Wapping & limehouse are the birthplace of London's warehouse conversion trend and location for the first apartment blocks to house Docklands new wealthy workers in the late 1980's. Now grown up from its early days as a building site and home to a vast number of plush apartments and luxury flats. Wapping is more expensive than Limehouse due to its closer location to the City. The Limehouse Basin is still largely a construction site with new developments rising up every week. Inland from the dockside, small enclaves of Victorian and Edwardian terraces still survive as well as a number of council blocks.

Eaton Square

Owned virtually outright by the Grosvenor Estate since its construction around 1840, freeholds are rare and building regulations strict. Eaton and Chester Square boast grand, white stucco terraces and houses, whilst the elegant homes of Belgrave Square remain the domain of embassies. Charming converted-stable mews homes in cobbled cul-de-sacs lie tucked away from view. Property is very expensive, although the length of lease remaining influences prices enormously.

Egerton Place

The western end of Knightsbridge includes Egerton Crescent, Terrace and Gardens which, while always fashionable, has now become one of the most expensive areas in London; a roll-call of the residents would include names familiar to regular readers of the FT. To the east, Lowndes Square is equally expensive but most of its residents are part-time occupiers. It is very popular with Asian and Middle Eastern buyers in particular who like the portered blocks and the easy access to the shopping.

Fulham

As an area Fulham has been lucky to have had some smart neighbours. Being on the north side of the river and next to Chelsea it has been the natural home for those who 30 years ago would have liked to live in Chelsea but can no longer afford to do so.

There have always been those that have chosen Fulham by choice because of the larger houses and particularly for the Hurlingham club which forms a huge area of green in the middle of Fulham. Membership is difficult but it is almost unique in London in being a country club within striking distance of the smartest addresses.

There are two sides to Fulham. The biggest houses and the greenest parks lie to the south of the New Kings Road on the Peterborough estate. These are good-sized family houses clearly built for the well-to-do middle-classes. To the north of Parsons Green and of the Fulham Road was built for a more working-class clientele – though this changed radically during the 1980s when professional classes took it over, introducing delicatessens and wine bars.

The transport situation is not the best. The Wandsworth Bridge Road, the New King's Road and the Fulham Road are all arterial roads taking traffic from south of the river into central London and are nose-to-tail in the morning and evening. The tube is the District line which goes through Earls Court – adequate but not ideal.

Prices have edged up considerably over the last few years with houses on the Peterborough estate now selling for well over £1 million.

Green Park

Green Park (officially The Green Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. Covering an area of about 53 acres, it was originally a swampy burial ground for lepers from the nearby hospital at Saint James's. It was first enclosed in the 16th century by Henry VIII. In 1668 Charles II made it a Royal Park, laying out the park's main walks.

It lies between London's Hyde Park and St. James's Park. Together with Kensington Gardens and the gardens of Buckingham Palace, these parks form an almost unbroken stretch of open land reaching from Whitehall and Victoria station to Kensington and Notting Hill.

By contrast with its neighbours, Green Park has no lakes nor any statues or fountains (except for Canada Memorial by Pierre Granche), but consists entirely of wooded meadows. The park is bounded on the south by Constitution Hill, on the east by the pedestrian Queen's Walk, and on the north by Piccadilly. It meets St. James's Park at Queen's Gardens with the Victoria Memorial at its centre, opposite the entrance to Buckingham Palace. To the south is the ceremonial avenue of The Mall, and the buildings of St James's Palace and Clarence House overlook the park to the east.

Green Park tube station is located on Piccadilly near the north end of Queen's Walk.

Grosvenor Square

Grosvenor Square (pronounced "Grove-nuh Square") is a large garden square in the exclusive Mayfair district of London. It is the centrepiece of the Mayfair property of the Dukes of Westminster, and takes its name from their surname, "Grosvenor". Duke Street forms the east side of the square.

Sir Richard Grosvenor obtained a licence to develop Grosvenor Square and the surrounding streets in 1710.

Solid, respectable haunts of the wealthy. Located between both Hyde and Regents Parks and on the doorstop of the West End's sights and attractions, Mayfair and St. James's have remained the desired location of rich bankers, embassy staff and wealthy internationals for generations. Large red brick, Georgian and Victorian mansions provide grand, serviced flats and apartments in Mayfair. Shepherds Market to the south has a number of small cottages and mews properties. St. James's boasts a number of substantial, smart homes although much of its property is now used as offices. The Jubilee Line service to Docklands has attracted young bankers looking for flats to rent. Much of the area is owned by the Grosvenor Estate and hence long leases are rare.

Mayfair has always been synonymous with smart London. Its position as the most expensive property on the Monopoly board has only added to its cachet. The modern reality is slightly different as its nature was changed by the wartime damage to the city which resulted in many offices being relocated to the West End from which they have never left. Added to this, during the oil boom of the 1970’s, many large apartments were bought by Middle Eastern buyers and they tend to use them for short periods of the year only. The result has been a retention of the outward smartness but a loss of ‘street life’ with the exception of the area around Shepherd’s market.

Grove End Road

On the north border of E3 is Victoria Park. For the best views and priciest properties you'll have to take a step into E9, where imposing Victorian houses line Cadogen Terrace. South of the park there's a lot of housing association activity, with smart new developments and affordable flats and houses. The rejuvenated Bow Wharf carries swish apartments whilst towards Grove Road, Chisenhale and Old Ford Roads offer attractive three storey Victorian properties happily backing onto the Hertford Union Canal. Chisenhale Road is also home to one of London's most innovative art galleries.

Smaller Victorian terraces and conversions fill the roads south to the railway line. The school conversion at School Bell Mews started something of a trend in the area, by annexing workspace galleries onto the flats. Below the railway line, blue period lampposts announce your arrival in Tredegar. Tredegar Square, with its brick and white stucco Georgiana, is the gem of region. Many houses have over 5 bedrooms, and are probably the most expensive in this part of the Capital. Newer properties in streets surrounding the square have plagiarised the style with reasonable success.

Grove Park Gardens

On the north border of E3 is Victoria Park. For the best views and priciest properties you'll have to take a step into E9, where imposing Victorian houses line Cadogen Terrace. South of the park there's a lot of housing association activity, with smart new developments and affordable flats and houses. The rejuvenated Bow Wharf carries swish apartments whilst towards Grove Road, Chisenhale and Old Ford Roads offer attractive three storey Victorian properties happily backing onto the Hertford Union Canal. Chisenhale Road is also home to one of London's most innovative art galleries.

Smaller Victorian terraces and conversions fill the roads south to the railway line. The school conversion at School Bell Mews started something of a trend in the area, by annexing workspace galleries onto the flats. Below the railway line, blue period lampposts announce your arrival in Tredegar. Tredegar Square, with its brick and white stucco Georgiana, is the gem of region. Many houses have over 5 bedrooms, and are probably the most expensive in this part of the Capital. Newer properties in streets surrounding the square have plagiarised the style with reasonable success.

Hammersmith

Hammersmith is dominated by the traffic vortex, Hammersmith Broadway, with three major roads and three tube lines travelling through the middle of it. The result is that there are several major global headquarters there including Coca Cola and Disney.

From a residential point of view, Hammersmith is really a collection of smaller neighbourhoods which vary in price and style of house. Along the river, towards Chiswick Mall, are Georgian houses looking over Barnes . Once you cross over the A4 and beyond King Street (the main shopping street in Hammersmith) it is dotted with properties from the 1820s notably St Peters Square, with its 5/6 bedroom stucco fronted houses over the garden square. To the north is Ravenscourt Park which, along with the area the estate agents like to call Brackenbury Village , backs on to Shepherds Bush, its less prepossessing neighbour.

For larger houses closer to Kensington there is Brook Green which represents good value compared with its smarter neighbour with large detached villas of 4000 sq ft selling for less than £2 million.

Transport is generally good either by road or tube with the choice of District, Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City tube lines. Hammersmith lies astride the A4, the main arterial road to the west which makes Heathrow easy though the general gridlock afflicting London as a whole often feels like it is focussed on that road.

Hampstead

Don't expect any bargains! Hampstead, the home of the rich and "I've made it class" has a price range to match its glossy image. Home of pop stars, media moguls and the generally super wealthy, Hampstead's price range achieved a heady orbit in the mid-Eighties and has shown little sign of re-entry since. Active community organisations fiercely defend and uphold the village and heath from unwanted developers, although McDonalds scored a notable victory a few years back. Property is very mixed yet demand always out strips supply. Modest Victorian terraces can be found to the south of the heath whilst large mansion blocks, many converted into apartments, over look the parkland.

The bulk of Hampstead Village is made up of largely Georgian and Victorian houses, sandwiched between Fitzjohn Avenue and East Heath Road which are the main roads running in and out of London. The principal local landowners the Church Commissioners, Maryan Wilson Estate and the Hampstead Wells and Campden Trust had largely sold their holdings by the beginning of the 1990's, and freeholds or long leaseholds are now the norm. Hampstead High Street still has "useful" shops such as greengrocers and fishmongers as well as the usual boutiques. The Everyman Cinema has at last been refurbished and still shows an eclectic selection of art-house movies as well as mainstream films.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a 791 acre park four miles from the centre of London. The Heath is made up of the grounds of several houses that formerly occupied the area.

Parliament Hill offers fantastic views of London and the surrounding countryside. Parliament Hill takes its name from one of two origins. Some believe that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators stood upon the hill looking towards parliament waiting for it to explode. A more likely explanation is that Parliament Hill was a point of defence during the English Civil War for troops loyal to parliament. Open-air concerts are held on Parliament Hill during summer months. It is also believed that Boudiccia was buried nearby.

Golders Hill Park is home to an animal sanctuary where visitors can get close to deer and native birds. There are children’s events and live concerts held here during summer.

To the North of Hampstead Heath is Kenwood House- a neo-classical mansion built in the early seventeenth century. The house is now owned by English Heritage and houses one of the most valuable and rare collections of paintings owned by the nation.

Hampstead Heath boasts a racecourse, adventure playground and is home to a flock of Flamingos. The Heath is extremely popular with Londoners- its magnificent views draw cyclists, sunbathers and bowlers. Hampstead Heath is a hive of activity during the summer due to live music events and entertainers catering for every conceivable taste.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

The Hampstead Garden Suburb lies between Hampstead and Highgate, just to the North of the Heath and only another half a mile further out of London. But in this instance, half a mile makes all the difference and the Garden Suburb represents a different style of living. Laid out to a Lutyens design, the houses are predominantly low-built and arts and crafts in style, with off-street parking and good sized gardens.

The price of more suburban living is a shortage of amenities. All shopping has to be done by car. The Bishops Avenue is probably the best known road in North London flanked with mansions that seem to be immune from any local planning regulations.

Henrietta Barnet School for Girls regularly heads the National League Tables.

Highgate

Highgate faces Hampstead over the Heath and, like Hampstead, features predominantly Georgian and Victorian architecture.

Less fashionable than Hampstead and without an underground station at its centre, Highgate is up to 20% cheaper than Hampstead and has retained more of its old world charm.

A quintessential and quirky English village which centres about Pond Square where, after years of living with the smell of stagnant water, the residents finally filled in the eponymous pond. There is now a campaign to re-instate it.

Highgate is also well served for schools, most notably by Highgate School (for boys) and Channing School (for girls) as well as a good selection of state schools.

Commuting to central London by car is slow with Highgate West Hill and Highgate Hill the only two roads into town. School run traffic only exacerbates this problem.

Holland Park

It is hard to believe that the houses in Holland Park, which now sell for more than £10 million, were only forty years ago part of the infamous Rackman empire – an area of squalid bedsits. It now contains some of the most expensive property in London.

The park itself is one of the most rural in London – quite unlike the wide open spaces of Hyde Park, it has some dense woodland where it is hard to believe that you are in the middle of London. The Belvedere, which is the remains of the old Holland House, sits in the middle and is the home in the summer to enthusiastic open-air operas. Dogs have to be walked on a lead which is not so good for dog owners but rather better for children.

The area to the west of the park is mainly owned by the Illchester estate but, with the advent of the Leasehold Enfranchisement Act, the grip of the estate is rather less than it used to be. There are modern (post war) developments all along that side of the park varying from Illchester Terrace with its grand detached houses, through the Abbotsbury's which are rather smaller, to Woodsford Square where the architecture falls well short of the location which shows in the prices which are significantly less than anywhere around it.

Both alongside Holland Park to the north and in Addison Road there are some of the biggest houses in Central London. Most of these are well over 10,000 sq ft, detached and with large gardens. On the other side of Holland Park Avenue are rather smaller houses but many of them back onto communal gardens for family life in central London it doesn't get much better.

Being primarily a residential area, the shops tend to be of the local variety rather than the big chains. Most are on Holland Park Avenue and include what must be among the best butchers and cheese-shops in London, Lidgates and Jeraboams.

Transport is good with a straight road from Holland Park Avenue, into Bayswater and then into Oxford Street – which takes buses directly into the West End. The Central Line, following this same route, continues on into the City – which is yet another reason why it is so popular with investment bankers.

Hyde Park

Grand and prestigious, Knightsbridge, located between Hyde Park and Chelsea, should never be considered by those with shallow pockets. Best known for its famous shops and department stores like Harrods, houses are rare and most accommodation comprises of large flats and plush, serviced apartments. Elegant red brick mansion blocks overlooking Sloane Street, Hyde Park or one of the many garden squares prove very sought after. Brompton Square and Egerton Crescent boasting a number of elegant houses and pretty mews cottages, can be found west towards South Kensington or to the South and Chelsea. Knightsbridge is another favoured location of embassies. Property is very expensive, although the length of lease remaining influences prices enormously.

Islington

Favoured location of London's hip and trendy set, Islington took its time to transform from 1960's run down borough to icon of New Labour hipness and sought after location for City and West End workers. Nowadays, Islington is immediately associated with the super-hip Upper Street with its trendy bars and restaurants and the wealth of fine Georgian and Victorian houses available. Many areas have succumbed to the nouveaux riche set, but not all of Islington is smart and glamorous.

As well as the obligatory quota of trendy bars and restaurants, there is the Screen on the Green cinema, a number of fringe theatres - including the Almedia and the famous Little Angel Marionette Theatre. Thus Islington stands as a quite self-sufficient village in its own right with a full compliment of "useful" shops such as hardware stores, fishmongers and grocers, augmenting boutiques and Camden Passage Antiques Market.

There is, however, a comparative lack of schools.

Clerkenwell to the south of the borough epitomises London's modern trend for warehouse living whilst further north the council blocks of Finsbury and the boarders with King's Cross serves to remind that not all the borough is affluent. Barnsbury, Canonbury and Highbury lie to the north of Islington and boast many elegant squares and terraces. Archway offers roads of densely packed Victorian terraces whilst Tufnell Park to the west has become a hot spot for those forced out by Islington's high prices.

Justice Walk

Justice Walk is situated in Kensington and Chelsea.

Chelsea used to be the smart bohemian part of London. This tradition stretched back to the Victorian artists whose studios still exist in Tite Street and other roads off the Embankment and was carried on into the 20th-century when the Kings Road became the centre of sixties swinging London. While the atmosphere is more quirky than perhaps Kensington, the price of property across Chelsea means that very few artists or musicians can afford to live there unless they are called Madonna.

Smart shops, restaurants, art galleries, the King's Road and a waterfront location. Don't bother searching for a bargain, they're long gone as every inch of Chelsea is pricey and now the domain of bankers, lawyers and city types. Less starchy than Kensington, Chelsea provides an east-west strip of some of London's most desirable real estate.

Kensington

Kensington, as opposed to South Kensington which is the area south of the Cromwell Road, or West Kensington which is west of Olympia, is one of the most popular residential areas in London. Families particularly like it as the houses tend to be bigger than those in Chelsea and the proximity of the parks of Kensington Gardens and Holland Park make it ideal for children and dogs.

The biggest and most expensive houses are on the Phillimore Estate which runs up the hill to the east of Holland Park. These are, for the most part, large stuccoed houses with big gardens. In the same area there are some large mansion blocks and developments with parking, such as Campden Hill Court and Observatory Gardens. The whole block between Kensington Church Street and Holland Park is quiet and tree-lined with family-size houses now selling for more than £3 million.

A varied mixture of mansion blocks boasting large flats and tall white Victorian terraces providing grand family homes can be found off Kensington High Street. Proximity to either Holland Park or Kensington Gardens drives prices skyward. Substantial houses around Holland Park, many of which have been converted into flats. Camden Hill Square offers an attractive collection of Victorian terraces.

Lining Kensington Gardens is Kensington Palace Gardens which is a private street of very large ambassadorial-sized houses including Kensington Palace itself where most of the minor royal family have flats and, of course, where Princess Diana lived.

Kensington High Street is functional but hardly beautiful. It has most of the major retail names and is usually extremely busy. This contrasts with Kensington Church Street which is much more village-like, with antique shops, cafes and restaurants.

The area to the south of Kensington High Street is a mixture of very high value houses such as in Cottesmore Gardens, Victoria Road and Hyde Park Gate; large blocks of handsome red-brick mansion blocks such as Iverna Gardens and Kensington Court; as well as medium-sized family houses in pleasant streets such as Scarsdale Villas or Abingdon Road. These houses now sell for around £2 million.

A perk of living in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is that your parking permit is not zoned – enabling you to park across the whole width of one of the best residential areas in London.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens adjoins Kensington Palace Gardens which is a private street of very large ambassadorial-sized houses including Kensington Palace itself where most of the minor royal family have flats and, of course, where Princess Diana lived.

Kensington High Street is functional but hardly beautiful. It has most of the major retail names and is usually extremely busy. This contrasts with Kensington Church Street which is much more village-like, with antique shops, cafes and restaurants.

The area to the south of Kensington High Street is a mixture of very high value houses such as in Cottesmore Gardens, Victoria Road and Hyde Park Gate; large blocks of handsome red-brick mansion blocks such as Iverna Gardens and Kensington Court; as well as medium-sized family houses in pleasant streets such as Scarsdale Villas or Abingdon Road. These houses now sell for around £2 million.

A perk of living in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is that your parking permit is not zoned – enabling you to park across the whole width of one of the best residential areas in London.

Kew

Large Victorian family houses surround the roads opposite the famous Royal Gardens. Large Victorian villas, smaller family houses and a choice of spacious flat conversions and modern apartments can be found around Kew Green at the northern tip of Kew Gardens. More Edwardian houses mixed with modern blocks and some ex-council properties are to be found to the east towards the Fulham Cemetery.

Kenwood

Kenwood is situated along the edges of Hampstead Heath. In North London this is THE place to get back to nature. Strewn with picnickers, cyclists, families and the rest, the heath is large enough and has enough copses, hills and mounds that a quiet spot is never far away. 'Chronicles of Narnia' author, CS Lewis, lived near Hampstead Heath and local folklore asserts that it was its picturesque rises, ponds and woodland glades which inspired his mystical land.

Hampstead Heath is renowned as a rich conservation area and parts of it are designated as areas of scientific interest by English Nature. Hoards flock to the refreshing waters of the Heath's celebrated ponds in the summer months whilst in the colder months it's more rewarding to while away an afternoon feeding the ducks or exploring the lush woodland, bogs, hedgerows and grassland.

Along the edges of the heath a number of attractions will attempt to lure you away. There's the lido at the south, Kenwood House at the north, South End Green and Hampstead Village at the west, and Highgate to the east. There are also plenty of pubs dotted around the edge - the Spaniards Inn (Spaniards Road), the Holly Bush (22 Holly Mount) or the Freemason's Arms (32 Downshire Hill) are all worthy of a visit.

The heath doesn't look quite as rural as when Constable painted it, but nonetheless, it is as close to rural as you're going to get in a capital city.

Kew Gardens

Large Victorian family houses surround the roads opposite the famous Royal Gardens. Large Victorian villas, smaller family houses and a choice of spacious flat conversions and modern apartments can be found around Kew Green at the northern tip of Kew Gardens. More Edwardian houses mixed with modern blocks and some ex-council properties are to be found to the east towards the Fulham Cemetery.

Kingston Upon Thames

Home of the commuter and firmly suburban in character, Kingston forms London's most southwestern tip. Kingston itself dominates the north of the borough whilst Surbiton to the south does not disappoint in offering true commuter living. Chessington lies at the borough's most southerly point before the open fields of Surrey take over from London's sprawl. Property is dominated by mid war terraces and semis with some Victorian and Edwardian homes near the town centres.

Knightsbridge

Grand and prestigious, Knightsbridge, located between Hyde Park and Chelsea, should never be considered by those with shallow pockets. Best known for its famous shops and department stores like Harrods, houses are rare and most accommodation comprises of large flats and plush, serviced apartments. Elegant red brick mansion blocks overlooking Sloane Street, Hyde Park or one of the many garden squares prove very sought after. Brompton Square and Egerton Crescent boasting a number of elegant houses and pretty mews cottages, can be found west towards South Kensington or to the South and Chelsea. Knightsbridge is another favoured location of embassies. Property is very expensive, although the length of lease remaining influences prices enormously.

Knightsbridge is a curiously difficult area to define; the boundaries between it and South Kensington, Chelsea and Belgravia are hard to place but in broad terms it is centred on Harrods, with Hyde Park to the North, the Egertons to the west, Pont Street to the south and Lowndes Square to the east.

A generation ago the area around Harrods was super-fashionable with Harrods as the corner shop for its rich and aristocratic denzins. The money hasn't gone but the possessors of it now tend to be more international and only partially resident and Harrods is now the haunt of tourists in search of brands. The crowds of shoppers in Sloane Street and along Knightsbridge tends to make parking, walking and shopping a daily trial if you live permanently close by.

The other side of Knightsbridge, the road, is another story. Montpelier square, Ennismore Gardens and the small streets and mews surrounding it are still some of the nicest parts of central London – quiet and within walking distance of Hyde Park but still close enough to the bustle if that is what you want.

The western end of Knightsbridge includes Egerton Crescent, Terrace and Gardens which, while always fashionable, has now become one of the most expensive areas in London; a roll-call of the residents would include names familiar to regular readers of the FT. To the east, Lowndes Square is equally expensive but most of its residents are part-time occupiers. It is very popular with Asian and Middle Eastern buyers in particular who like the portered blocks and the easy access to the shopping.

Transport is only quite good with just the Piccadilly Line to choose from and notorious bottlenecks around the Scotch House and by Hyde Park Corner.

Ladbroke Gardens/Grove

The Ladbroke Grove side of Notting Hill boasts the large Victorian houses and leafy, peaceful private gardens and squares which the film of the same name idealised. Most of the grand properties here have survived being carved into conversions and flats.

If you want to live in Central London and then family life does not get any better than in a house with its own secure private park shared with a few dozen like-minded people. As the Americans investment bankers have discovered this over the last 15 years, prices for these gems have rocketed. Where the general Central London market has doubled in the last seven years, houses on the communal gardens have trebled.

Maida Vale

Remains highly sought after and commands prices to match desirability. Maida Vale boasts a rich stock of flats, big and small, old and new. Many of the large Victorian mansion blocks have sizable communal gardens to the rear. Family houses are rare, although a small number of mews properties are available. Little Venice remains one of London's hidden gems. Warwick Avenue, running north from Harrow Road across the Regent's Canal, boasts large cream stucco and red brick mansion blocks filled with grand, expensive conversions. Canal facing properties are the most expensive.

It is hard to believe that in the 1980s the Church Commissioners, who were the big local landowners, decided to sell their holdings at seemingly any price. Local residents and developers alike were the happy recipients of the Church Commissioner s largesse and it was not uncommon for freehold houses to be bought for less than half their worth. As an indirect result of this feeding frenzy, most of the houses in Maida Vale were converted into flats.

Recently the economic climate has changed to favour houses over flats and much of the eighties conversion work is being undone. The big attraction of buying a house in Maida Vale is the multitude of communal gardens, the largest of which lies between Warrington and Randolph Crescent and is nearly 3 acres in size.

Whilst the centre of the area is dominated by large red brick mansion blocks, the southern-most corner of Maida Vale centres about Little Venice, so called because of the views of the junction of three branches of the grand union canal. There is a parade of useful shops and restaurants on Clifton Road and Clifton Nursery garden centre on Clifton Villas, which completes the pictures of a largely self-sustaining community.

Marble Arch

Marble Arch is a white Carrara marble monument near Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, at the western end of Oxford Street in London, England, near the tube station of the same name. Only members of the royal family and the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to pass through the arch.

Marylebone

Located between the busy shops of Oxford Circus and the green expanses of Regents Park, Marylebone has rapidly gained a new fashionable status.

Plagued by traffic and historically populated largely with offices, the area has seen resurgence as a residential hot spot over the last decade. A mixture of red brick mansion blocks, 1930's and 1960's developments dominate around Baker Street. Property around Marylebone's buzzing High Street comprises of flats set in elegant Terracotta and Georgian blocks (especially around Wimpole, Harley and Welbeck Streets) and a number of mews homes set in quiet cobbled lanes. The area is still largely owned by Howard de Walden and Portman Estates. Lease length affects prices.

Local landlord, Howard de Walden Estate, has gone against the typical trend in London high streets of only having the usual major chain stores, and has encouraged smaller retailers and specialist shops, which gives the High Street a mix of the familiar and individual. The upshot of this is an attractive and buzzing high-street. The second is the Jubilee line which runs via Baker Street to Canary Wharf. The result is a 25 minute direct journey from the heart of the West End into the core of the financial district.

The result has been a relatively large increase in prices in general, with the area around the High Street increasing the most. In the past, like Pimlico, one could expect a hefty discount from the equivalent properties in Chelsea, Kensington and Notting Hill. Marylebone maintains a discount, but it has reduced significantly in the last couple of years. Properties vary widely in the area: from period houses, to large mansion blocks, to the Georgian garden squares of Montagu and Bryanston and all the mews in between.

Mayfair

Solid, respectable haunts of the wealthy. Located between both Hyde and Regents Parks and on the doorstop of the West End's sights and attractions, Mayfair and St. James's have remained the desired location of rich bankers, embassy staff and wealthy internationals for generations. Large red brick, Georgian and Victorian mansions provide grand, serviced flats and apartments in Mayfair. Shepherds Market to the south has a number of small cottages and mews properties. St. James's boasts a number of substantial, smart homes although much of its property is now used as offices. The Jubilee Line service to Docklands has attracted young bankers looking for flats to rent. Much of the area is owned by the Grosvenor Estate and hence long leases are rare.

Mayfair has always been synonymous with smart London. Its position as the most expensive property on the Monopoly board has only added to its cachet. The modern reality is slightly different as its nature was changed by the wartime damage to the city which resulted in many offices being relocated to the West End from which they have never left. Added to this, during the oil boom of the 1970’s, many large apartments were bought by Middle Eastern buyers and they tend to use them for short periods of the year only. The result has been a retention of the outward smartness but a loss of ‘street life’ with the exception of the area around Shepherd’s market.

Mayfair is named after the fortnight-long May Fair that took place there from 1686 until it was banned from that location in 1764. (Before 1686, the May Fair was held in the Haymarket; after 1764, it moved to Fair Field in Bow).

Most of Mayfair is owned by the Grosvenor Estate but there is a substantial area around Berkeley Square which is owned by a middle eastern consortium. Both these landlords are first-class managers and have maintained these estates in an exemplary manner. As many owners of leaseholds have not qualified for enfranchisement there is still a substantial amount of short leasehold property.

The core of Mayfair is Grosvenor Square. This contains the American Embassy and, for the most part, large portered blocks of flats. The American Embassy, with its draconian security, is a major blight on properties in the immediate vicinity. Berkeley Square and Hanover Square are now mainly offices and the area around Oxford Street primarily retail. While Bond Street has remained resolutely upmarket the same cannot be said of Oxford Street and the area around it is not a prime residential area.

Communications are excellent, particularly now with new Jubilee line links in Green Park with Waterloo and Docklands. This reinforces Mayfair as a perfect spot for a pied a terre, though for families it leaves something to be desired as few of the houses have decent gardens.

Melbury Road

An area synonymous with Victorian architecture. Here can be traced in some detail the evolution of London’s nineteenth-century suburban housing. Among the many examples are the fashionable Italianate villas of the 1820s and ’30s in Campden Hill and Holland Park; the opulent large mansions of ‘Millionaires Row’ in Kensington Palace Gardens; and the red-brick ‘Domestic Revival’ artists’ houses of the 1860s and after in the Melbury Road area. Victorian ecclesiastical design can also be studied in its many variants, in the area’s churches, chapels and convents, including the Greek Revival architecture of Kensal Green Cemetery.

Mill Hill

Mill Hill is north of London and near to junction 5 of the M1 motorway. Here live many who commute on a daily basis into London to work. It is an affluent area and boasts many good schools and new housing developments.

Mill Hill is a place in the London Borough of Barnet. It is a suburb situated 9 miles (14.5 km) north west of Charing Cross.

There are four areas in Mill Hill: Mill Hill Village, Mill Hill Broadway, Mill Hill East, and Partingdale. A further part of Mill Hill, The Hale, is on the borders of Mill Hill and Edgware, and is often considered to be part of the latter.

Notting Hill

Once a shabby backwater of London whose crumbling terraces were overcrowded with immigrants, Notting Hill is now proudly one of the capital's most fashionable areas. The Ladbroke Grove side of Notting Hill boasts the large Victorian houses and leafy, peaceful private gardens and squares which the film of the same name idealised. Most of the grand properties here have survived being carved into conversions and flats. Notting Hill's borders with Bayswater offer much more modest properties but is also experiencing rapid change as trendy stores and restaurants force out the more traditional shops as rents escalate skyward.

Notting Hill Gate itself is hardly an inspiring area. Despite the wealth surrounding it – almost any house is now worth over £1 million – it retains a certain seediness that is rather surprising. Second-hand record shops and Macdonald's compete with Kensington Palace Gardens which must be the grandest address in London.

The cause of its new-found glamour is to be found in the garden squares and more particularly in the communal gardens. If you want to live in Central London and then family life does not get any better than in a house with its own secure private park shared with a few dozen like-minded people. As the Americans investment bankers have discovered this over the last 15 years, prices for these gems have rocketed. Where the general Central London market has doubled in the last seven years, houses on the communal gardens have trebled.

Notting Hill has always had a bohemian and cosmopolitan edge to it – and that continues further to the North around Westbourne Grove. Here there are restaurants of every nationality and every year at the end of August it explodes in a three-day cacophony of sound, rubbish and marijuana smoke that is the Notting Hill Gate carnival. Sensitive souls wanting to live here should arrange their holidays then.

Around the Portobello Road, with its famous street markets, it is more like New York than any other part of London with one street separating smart restaurants and wine bars from seedy clubs and street barrows.

Ovington Gardens

Property in Ovington Gardens is a highly sought in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Paddington

Traditionally the borough's least expensive location, Paddington had earned an image of scruffy hotels and run down bed-sits. Yet spiralling prices in Kensington and Notting Hill Gate have created a renewed demand from a new set of more wealthy residents. Flats still predominate, although now far more plush in their execution, whilst many of the areas grand white stucco buildings have been redeveloped into imposing family homes set around leafy, quiet squares. Still very much an area in transition, scruffy corners are never too far away, yet grand plans for the regeneration of the Paddington Basin around the canal will provide the area with a further positive impetus. Queensway provides a buzzing, cosmopolitan shopping centre that never seems to close.

Park Lane

Park Lane and Mayfair have always been synonymous with smart London. Its position as the most expensive property on the Monopoly board has only added to its cachet. The modern reality is slightly different as its nature was changed by the wartime damage to the city which resulted in many offices being relocated to the West End from which they have never left. Added to this, during the oil boom of the 1970’s, many large apartments were bought by Middle Eastern buyers and they tend to use them for short periods of the year only. The result has been a retention of the outward smartness but a loss of ‘street life’ with the exception of the area around Shepherd’s market.

Pembridge Gardens

Pembridge Gardens is a pretty road with a quiet aspect. It comprises mainly of Victorian period buildings. Some have been converted into hotels but most are residential use. Ideal location for Portobello Road and the very many chic shops , restaurants and bars in the area.

Phillimore Estate

Kensington, as opposed to South Kensington which is the area south of the Cromwell Road, or West Kensington which is west of Olympia, is one of the most popular residential areas in London. Families particularly like it as the houses tend to be bigger than those in Chelsea and the proximity of the parks of Kensington Gardens and Holland Park make it ideal for children and dogs.

The biggest and most expensive houses are on the Phillimore Estate which runs up the hill to the east of Holland Park. These are, for the most part, large stuccoed houses with big gardens. In the same area there are some large mansion blocks and developments with parking, such as Campden Hill Court and Observatory Gardens. The whole block between Kensington Church Street and Holland Park is quiet and tree-lined with family-size houses now selling for more than £3 million.

Pimlico

Pimlico offers a stylish, central location for those who don't wish to pay Belgravia prices. Flats and apartments dominate with family homes a rarity. Tall white stucco buildings offer grand accommodation although the odd small hotel can be found, a reminder of Pimlico's more run down past as a haven for bed-sits and short-let flats. Ex-council blocks line the river next to Dolphin Square. A few streets are busy through-routes, yet a vigorously enforced traffic scheme ensures that the majority enjoy a quiet life.

The phrase ‘up-and–coming’ and Pimlico are often coupled – and have been for forty years. To date it has yet to arrive. On paper it looks good – next door to Belgravia and Chelsea (it used to be part of the Grosvenor Estate), close to the City, good transport and Victoria station in its heart. Like Bayswater (also up and coming for the same period) it is a station (Paddington in Bayswater’s case) which is its problem as with it comes cheap tourist hotels and the detritus that accompanies them such as tacky tourist shops and cafes selling limp hamburgers.

There are exceptions to this such as the area that is known as ‘The Grid’, a good descriptive of stucco houses on wide streets, and Warwick and Eccleston Squares both of which are similar to their grander cousins in Belgravia. Yet prices are well below those achieved only half a mile away and the reason becomes apparent when you go inside. For the most part the buildings are slightly narrower than in Belgravia or Chelsea and two foot makes a huge difference particularly with flat conversions where the common parts get mean and the room proportions feel tight. Also the houses are built much closer back-to-back than in Kensington which restricts light and privacy.

Dolphin Square, near the river is huge impersonal block of flats that are popular as pied-a-terres for politicians and between this and the rest of Pimlico is a huge housing estate - the Tachbrook Estate - that sits like a cuckoo rather uneasily in the middle.

The transport is excellent with Victoria and Pimlico Tubes to choose from and the Jubilee line at Westminster not too far away for journeys to Canary Wharf.

The Embankment, for those that prefer the road, is ideal for the same journey.

For all its flaws, Pimlico has its fans – for value and convenience it is hard to beat.

Porchester Terrace

Porchester Terrace in City of Westminster which is home to the government and countless ministry office blocks has a surprising wealth of residential property. Elegant Georgian and Queen Anne town houses can be found close to Westminster Abby whilst further period properties abound in Vincent Square. Developers have currently besieged the area converting any building available into luxury apartments.

Home to London's most famous tourist attractions but also a varied array of property and locations for those who chose to live in the busy heart of the capital. Noise, traffic, pollution and an alarmingly high number of homeless people are a small price to pay for the buzzing shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants that living in central London provides.

Belgravia, Westminster and Pimlico, to the south of Green Park and Mayfair to the east of Hyde Park attract the wealthy, whilst Soho has successfully reinvented itself from seedy backwater to a Mecca for London's trendy set. Marylebone, east of Regents Park and once a traffic clogged main road, has gained a worthy fashionable reputation. To the north, the smart residential areas of Maida Vale, Little Venice and St. John's Wood boast metropolitan and cosmopolitan locations while Kilburn and Paddington to the northeast offer cheaper, less grand properties.

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill has a similar feel to the smarter roads in Notting Hill, mainly mid-Victorian terraced houses, painted a variety of colours, residents including such glitterati as Martin Amis and Jude Law, as well as bankers, stockbrokers and barristers. As with much of Camden, there is a strong element of social housing which ensures a wide social mix. Most of the houses have small gardens by North London standards (20 ft or less). Both Regents Park and Primrose Hill are close by There is a strong village feel to Primrose Hill that centres about the parade of shops and restaurants on the northern end of Regents Park Road, which most notably include Odette's Restaurant, The Engineer Bar and Restaurant and the wine merchant, Bibendum.

The most popular houses are those that overlook Regents Park and the London Zoo on St Marks and Prince Albert Road Square or those set about the Central Garden Square of Chalcot Square. Much of Primrose Hill was owned by Eton College, who sold up most of their Holdings locally during the 1990's.

Putney

Putney is directly over the river from Fulham. It is more of a town with a busy central high street dominated by the usual major and minor chain shops and stores. Its main attraction is the river itself where many rowing clubs are located and it is here that the annual Boat Race starts.

Solid and respectable London suburbia. Both Putney and Roehampton attract young, affluent families drawn by the proximity of decent schools and the plentiful supply of beautiful parkland. Victorian properties of all sizes can be found off Putney High Street and the Lower Richmond Road, whilst West Putney boasts larger Edwardian homes, many detached. Elegant mansion blocks fringe the river and a plentiful stock of conversions and modern apartment blocks are to be found on Putney Hill. Roehampton has a large number of ex-council estates that offer great value for money. Georgian and Victorian terraces, cottages and a number of larger family homes in the roads off Putney Heath. Traffic can be a problem although the District Line does provide a welcome alternative.

Between the river and the Lower Richmond Road are predominantly Victorian and Edwardian terraces, the majority of which are below £750,000, with the exception of those backing on to the river itself. Along the river, there are several large mixed developments of flats and townhouses some still under construction.

The high street leads up to Putney Hill, on the west of which is a grid of wide tree-lined streets with Victorian and Edwardian houses. These properties have generous gardens and are popular with young city bankers and their families. Pries range from £750,000 to £2.5 million. Further up towards Putney Heath, there are larger detached houses, many on plots of a third acre, commanding prices of £3 million upwards.

The east side of Putney Hill is dominated by large blocks of purpose-built flats with smaller Victorian terraces behind.

The attractions of Putney for families are the good sized properties, numerous excellent schools and easy access to the surrounding open spaces of Putney Heath, Barnes and Wimbledon. Public transport is good with both underground and mainline trains into London. However, the road across Putney Bridge, along the High Street and up Putney Hill is one of the main arteries out of London to the A3 and is therefore busy and congested at peak times. Putney also suffers from being under the Heathrow flightpath.

Regents Park

Grand, white Regency terraces set in the heart of one of London's most beautiful parks don't come cheap. Not all properties in Regents Park demand such a high price or carry such prestige, but be prepared to pay a premium no less. Much of the larger properties are managed by the Crown Estate and command a high price, yet Prince Albert Road has a good supply of Victorian flats for those with less deep pockets.

Regents Park, as an area, is dominated by the eponymous park. At the centre of the park are the open air theatre, Queen Marys gardens and the boating lake. Around the fringes of the park are an athletics track and tennis courts, London Zoo and a mosque.

Arranged around the circumference are the Nash-designed terraces stucco fronted houses and flats which look out over the park itself. The local landowner, the Crown Estate, has largely retained ownership of the freeholds and with nearly all of the houses and flats still held on Crown Estate leases. The Estate management scheme is vigorous houses are redecorated every four years in accordance with the terms of their leases, in exactly the same shade of off-white.

In addition, it is not uncommon for some of the houses and flats to have onerous ground rent provisions in their leases, which can be costly to buy out.

Critics of Regents Park say that the area can be somewhat bleak, a lovely throw-back to Regency London trapped in amber by an overly prescriptive Estate Management scheme. It can be a long way to the nearest cappuccino but as elegant and unified architecture in an urban setting, it has no peers in London.

Queens Park

Increasingly popular and only a few short tube stops from the heart of London and the City. An abundance of Victorian terraces and flats are now being bought up by first time buyers and young professionals who can't afford the sky high prices of West Hampstead or North Kensington. Irish immigrants originally settled in Kilburn, and many descendants still live here, especially around the main shopping areas. Parts are still quite scruffy and run-down, so it's advisable to explore the area extensively before making any decisions. Queen's Park commands a higher price tag the closer you get to the park and offers beautiful late Victorian and Edwardian properties.

Richmond

Leafy Richmond, with over 2,500 acres of royal parks and miles of river bank feels more akin to rural Surrey or Middlesex than London. Prosperous with great properties, fantastic parks, good transport links and schools, Richmond remains a highly sought after location and a barren ground for bargain hunters.

The Green, surrounded by elegant Georgian and earlier houses, is the core and the main shopping area of the town. Prices range from £1.8 million to £5 million here. As you go south and up Richmond Hill, towards the Park there are more Victorian houses with views across the river and beyond to Ham House. The rest of the Hill is made up predominantly of detached and semi-detached houses of approximately 3,000 to 4,000 square feet and ranging in price from £1.5 - £3 million.

The Thames dominates both the geography and the character of the borough. Barnes, with its mixture of large affluent homes and village cottages, resides at Richmond's most northern tip. Pretty Kew, Sheen and Richmond itself follow the Thames west, whilst busy Twickenham sits opposite on the rivers northern banks. Teddington follows the river south, whilst suburban Whitton and Hampton lie east at the border with neighbouring Hounslow.

Schools are plentiful and some of the best in the country with Ibstock Place at the eastern end of the park where the parents' list reads like a Who's Who of the entertainment world and the American and German Schools.

Access is relatively straightforward on the map, with both a fast mainline link to Waterloo (25 minutes) and the terminus of the District line (one hour to the City). However, travelling by car is difficult, particularly when the A316 (linking to M3) the south circular is afflicted by the school run.

Shepherds Bush

Popular with first time buyers attracted by a plentiful stock of reasonably priced Victorian terraces and conversions along with a central location and good transport links. Larger houses to the west feel more like neighbouring Chiswick whilst further north property gets progressively grimier especially around Wormwood Scrubs. White City has its share of council estates and the ever expanding BBC to contend with.

Sloane Square

Part of London's most desirable borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Excellent transport links, beautiful parks, fashionable shops and restaurants, a wealth of galleries and museums and grandiose properties provide an enviable list of attributes. Sky high prices put Kensington and Chelsea beyond the reach of most, whilst traffic and congestion at least prove that those fortunate enough to live here don't have it all their own way. The south of the borough has always proved a sought after location for the wealthier middle classes and city types blessed with bonuses to match their egos.

Sloane Square provides an exclusive residence yet the borough's more western reaches, once previously considered shabby and run down, have now emerged as property hot spots. Notting Hill has experienced a very public rebirth, whilst even the grimier areas of North Kensington are experiencing an up turn.

Soho

For decades Soho was home to London's sleazier side. Today, its tight streets and alleyways are filled with trendy bars and restaurants creating a buzzing, young atmosphere. Space is at a premium, so accommodation comprises mainly of flats and maisonettes above shops and restaurants. Houses are very rare and the lack of gardens increases the desirability for a roof garden or balcony on any property. Attracted by its cosmopolitan character, Soho has become a favourite haunt for designers and artists as well as London's gay and Chinese communities. Some seedy corners still exist and drug pushers and the homeless still prove a problem, yet without its gritty edge, Soho would lose its character.

South Kensington

All very respectable. Smart multi storey stucco houses off Old Brompton Road and Gloucester Road, many of which have been converted into flats. Larger houses around the Fulham and Brompton Roads all of which command an equally large price. More modest homes can be found to the north of the Fulham Road. A plentiful supply of smart shops and restaurants.

Most of residential South Kensington lies to the south of the Cromwell Road. To the east Knightsbridge begins at Brompton Cross and the southernmost boundary is the Fulham Road.

Over the last 20 years South Kensington has become one of the very best residential areas of London as the Smith’s Charity estate as it was (it is now owned by the Wellcome Trust) has been developed and improved. Onslow Gardens and Onslow Square are the prime areas and alongside them is the Brompton's, a major development of the old Brompton Hospital that was completed at the end of the 1990’s. Most of the shops and cafes are around South Kensington Station which is about to be redeveloped into a major office and retail centre. Living close to this for the next few years will be noisy and dusty.

The area to the west of the tube station is a good residential area but lacks the uniformity of the Smith’s Charity Estate. Stanhope Gardens and Queensgate have nice flats but suffer from road noise and, in the case of Stanhope Gardens, from its proximity to the Gloucester Road which is at its least glamorous at the point around the underground station where there are a number of large tourist hotels. These also affect the area towards Earls Court such as Collingham Gardens.

The majority of the property tends to be flats, though Pelham Crescent and Thurloe Square have some of the nicest houses in London. Most of the leases in the Wellcome Estate are now mid-term (50 years) but the leasehold enfranchisement legislation has left a number of shared freeholds and much longer leases.

St James Park

St. James's boasts a number of substantial, smart homes although much of its property is now used as offices. The Jubilee Line service to Docklands has attracted young bankers looking for flats to rent. Much of the area is owned by the Grosvenor Estate and hence long leases are rare.

St Johns Wood

Located north west of Regent's Park, and stretching leafily out from Lord's cricket ground, St. John's Wood was one of London's first informal garden suburbs. Property ranges from huge Regency villas and Victorian houses to 1960's apartment blocks and modern flats. St. John's Wood Terrace offers a pretty enclave of multi-coloured three-storey Victorian houses, whilst grand luxury apartment are to be found off Wellington Road. High security-gated properties and CCTV cameras don't add to the friendliness of the area. Traffic can be a problem.

With it's adjoining neighbours of Primrose Hill, Regents Park and Maida Vale, on most mornings a hard core of tiny Viennese ladies are found taking coffee and pastries in the cafes on the high street, reminders of St Johns Wood's wartime past as a destination for European refugees.

In fact there is more of an international feel to St Johns Wood than there is to its immediate neighbours, which is hardly surprising given the draw of both the American School which is tucked away behind Abbey Road and the huge Regents Park mosque.

Lords cricket ground is a blessing for local enthusiasts and an irritation for most of the residents as, throughout the summer, St Johns Wood is invaded by visiting cricket fans from across the world. Primrose Hill is a short walk away, as is Regents Park, and following the tow path along Regents Canal (part of the Grand Union canal) past London Zoo leads to Camden Lock market.

The St Johns Wood Estate was largely developed during the 19th Century by local builders who took leases from the big landowners, the Eyre Estate and Harrow School. Most houses are now owned as freeholds, but there are still a number of houses on mid term or short leases, often with onerous ground rent clauses.

Two very real advantages to living in St Johns Wood are that the West End is within walking distance, and that the underground station is on the Jubilee Line; which is London's newest and perhaps best line.

Sussex Gardens

Pleasant central London location: convenient for all major sights, museums and theatres. Close to all shopping districts; Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus and near to the open spaces of Hyde Park, Lancaster Gate and Paddington Stations

The Bishops Avenue

The Bishop's Avenue London, N2 in the London Borough of Barnet is one of London's most exclusive residential thoroughfares. It is named after the Bishop's Wood, originally owned by the Bishop of London through which it runs. The Bishop's Avenue connects the north side of Hampstead Heath at Kenwood (Hampstead Lane) to East Finchley and is on the boundary of the Borough to the London Borough of Haringey.

The road is a favourite with the international ultra-rich and is often referred to by its nickname of "Millionaires' Row" (although recently, it has been referred to as "Billionaire's Row" in keeping with inflation), and each property occupies a 2-3 acre plot, which is relatively palatial for London.[1] During the mid 1990s, the street came to resemble a building site with many of the original houses being re-built. Properties on the street now have a vast array of individualistic architectural styles.

Property prices on the street sailed past the £1 million mark in the late 1980s[2], with house prices now typically starting from about £5,000,000 ($9,497,759 USD), with no upper bound. Currently Turkish tycoon Halis Toprak's 30,000 sq ft home, styled around a Greek temple, is for sale at £50 million ($94 million USD), making it one of the most expensive houses in the world, as listed by Forbes magazine.

Amongst the road's rich and famous residents are the Saudi Royal Family, whose London residence is situated there, although details of other residents and their addresses are kept relatively sketchy. Construction is constantly underway on The Bishops Avenue and prospective residents will purchase large properties as they become available, only to flatten them and construct their own from scratch. Another practice is to purchase any available property on the road, with the intention of moving to another non-available site, and to subsequently move when the more desired plot becomes available; however, there has been some recent press attention into whether the Bishop's Avenue has entered something of a decline. This has been mainly attributed to the fact that the road often appears to be very 'dead', because many of the residences do not appear to be primary residences, with the owners often residing abroad. Property switches hands frequently between the road's existing residents, and prominent corner positions are popular, as are some of the sites which are completely concealed from the road with gardens.

The Avenue is noted for the number of entrepreneurs and tycoons residents on it - the sudden influx of self-made billionaires (as opposed to aristocracy) is a recent phenomenon in London, and the Avenue is therefore markedly different to the highly exclusive but much more subtle and subdued character of areas such as Belgravia or Mayfair.

The fairly lax planning regulations on the road have resulted in some astonishing, and certainly unconventional, constructions as residents vie for attention and prestige. The exact details of properties on the avenue are not readily available although it appears that swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators and even private bowling alleys are popular.

The designs of some of the houses, nearly all of which are surrounded by high fences and security gates, have been criticized by various local and council groups although the wealthy residents, with the enormous houses eligible to very heavy taxation, usually gain planning permission from the local council, and some would argue that given the developments which have been allowed to take place, the architectural blend of questionable taste has become the avenue's signature style and it would therefore be pointless to try and restrain or restrict future development.

Famous residents:

Dame Gracie Fields
Lakshmi Mittal
Billy Butlin
Saudi Royal Family

Totteridge

Detached houses and larger detached houses. Totteridge, popular with pop stars and footballers alike offers a choice of substantial properties, many set in equally substantial grounds. Totteridge's main attraction is undoubtedly its location close to the countryside and the availability of a Tube line so far out in London's suburbs. Property in Whetstone is by comparison more modest in both price and size and has a number of more affordable purpose built apartment blocks.

Twickenham

Twickenham provides a good hunting ground for those priced out of Richmond on the opposite side of the Thames. Late Victorian and mid war terraces and semis predominate although some conversions can be found towards the town centre. Larger Edwardian homes set in Marble Hill to the east. Riverside locations command a premium. Strawberry Hill to the south offers a leafy suburban setting with a varied stock of Victorian, Edwardian and mid-war houses. No tube, but a fair train service.

Upper Grosvenor Street

Upper Grosvenor Street in City of Westminster. Solid, respectable haunts of the wealthy. Located between both Hyde and Regents Parks and on the doorstop of the West End's sights and attractions, Mayfair and St. James's have remained the desired location of rich bankers, embassy staff and wealthy internationals for generations. Large red brick, Georgian and Victorian mansions provide grand, serviced flats and apartments in Mayfair. Shepherds Market to the south has a number of small cottages and mews properties. St. James's boasts a number of substantial, smart homes although much of its property is now used as offices. The Jubilee Line service to Docklands has attracted young bankers looking for flats to rent. Much of the area is owned by the Grosvenor Estate and hence long leases are rare.

Mayfair has always been synonymous with smart London. Its position as the most expensive property on the Monopoly board has only added to its cachet. The modern reality is slightly different as its nature was changed by the wartime damage to the city which resulted in many offices being relocated to the West End from which they have never left. Added to this, during the oil boom of the 1970’s, many large apartments were bought by Middle Eastern buyers and they tend to use them for short periods of the year only. The result has been a retention of the outward smartness but a loss of ‘street life’ with the exception of the area around Shepherd’s market.

Upper Phillimore Gardens

Property in Upper Phillimore Gardens, situated within the Kensington Conservation Area, is an architecturally preserved, historical London suburb.

The area is located moments from the fashionable restaurants, shops and bars of Kensington High Street. For the motorist easy access is provided to the A4/M4 and A40 (M) for routes in and out of London. High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines) is the nearest underground station while Kensington (Olympia) (British Rail and District Line) is also nearby.

Wandsworth

This is now a well established residential area, full of refugees who have moved south of the river escaping rising prices in Fulham. It has good schooling with plenty of green space with quick and easy access to the city and a good supply of well maintained family houses.

Gentrified beyond recognition over the past fifteen years and invaded by the middle classes to all four corners, today's Wandsworth is thoroughly respectable. Balham, Tooting and Southfields provide safe, if unexciting suburbia, whilst riverside Wandsworth, Battersea and Putney boast rejuvenated warehouses and plush apartments amongst their remaining Victorian and Edwardian housing. Only Docklands has seen more development over the past ten years, yet the lack of a tube line in the north of the borough has only proved to exacerbate Wandsworth's main drawback, traffic.

The main focus of family life is around Wandsworth Common with large detached and semi-detached houses ranging in price from £750,000 to £2.5 million. Particularly popular roads are Westover Road and the roads leading off it. On the other side of Wandsworth Common is the Bellevue Road with its restaurants, galleries and boutiques making a rather attractive natural border with nearby Balham. In the middle of the common is a grid of roads, known as the toastrack with houses backing on to the common fetching upwards of £2 million. Spencer Park on the north side of the common is of particular interest with large detached houses backing on to a seven acre private park.

Whilst there is a good choice of pubs and restaurants in the area, the only real shopping is along the Bellevue Road, otherwise expect a trip across Wandsworth Bridge and into Chelsea. Public transport is limited, however, mainline stations are at Wandsworth Town and Wandsworth Common both going into Waterloo

Warwick Square

Warwick Square is a pleasant residential area close to an excellent range of local shops, bars and restaurants as well as Knightsbridge, the riverbank and Victoria Station (Circle, District and Victoria lines and British Rail) for links throughout the city and West End.

Westminster

Westminster, home to the government and countless ministry office blocks has a surprising wealth of residential property. Elegant Georgian and Queen Anne town houses can be found close to Westminster Abby whilst further period properties abound in Vincent Square. Developers have currently besieged the area converting any building available into luxury apartments.

Home to London's most famous tourist attractions but also a varied array of property and locations for those who chose to live in the busy heart of the capital. Noise, traffic, pollution and an alarmingly high number of homeless people are a small price to pay for the buzzing shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants that living in central London provides.

Belgravia, Westminster and Pimlico, to the south of Green Park and Mayfair to the east of Hyde Park attract the wealthy, whilst Soho has successfully reinvented itself from seedy backwater to a Mecca for London's trendy set. Marylebone, east of Regents Park and once a traffic clogged main road, has gained a worthy fashionable reputation. To the north, the smart residential areas of Maida Vale, Little Venice and St. John's Wood boast metropolitan and cosmopolitan locations while Kilburn and Paddington to the northeast offer cheaper, less grand properties.

Wilton Crescent

Wilton Crescent is situated in City of Westminster.

Westminster, home to the government and countless ministry office blocks has a surprising wealth of residential property. Elegant Georgian and Queen Anne town houses can be found close to Westminster Abby whilst further period properties abound in Vincent Square. Developers have currently besieged the area converting any building available into luxury apartments.

Home to London's most famous tourist attractions but also a varied array of property and locations for those who chose to live in the busy heart of the capital. Noise, traffic, pollution and an alarmingly high number of homeless people are a small price to pay for the buzzing shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants that living in central London provides.

Wimbledon

Not all of Wimbledon boasts the obvious attractions of the slick and trendy village. South Wimbledon, once the somewhat cheaper neighbour with its tightly packed roads of often ordinary Victorian and Edwardian terraces, now commands prices to almost rival those in its more sought after neighbour. Modern apartments and luxury lifestyle flats dominate Wimbledon Hill Road heading up to the village. The village itself has the ubiquitous collection of smart shops, boutiques and restaurants whilst the roads directly off its busy thoroughfare offer grand Victorian family homes in smart, tree lined streets. Large Victorian and Edwardian family homes are also to be found in the wide leafy roads between Wimbledon Common and Wimbledon Park. The Common itself stretches all the way to Putney Vale and premiums are high for any property overlooking its green, open expanse.

Wimbledon has two distinctive parts – the village and the town. Unlike many other areas where all the green spaces have been filled in around it, Wimbledon Common is sufficiently rural and large that there is a real sense of arriving in a distinctive place. Wimbledon looks in on itself rather than being a satellite of central London.

Wimbledon village has the same feel as a small Surrey town with pretty houses behind walls and a High Street where one would not be surprised to see people riding horses. The houses are low-built and not in the usual terraces that characterise west London. More than anywhere in South-West London there are lots of large detached houses on separate plots.

Down the hill, Wimbledon town feels like a town, with all the usual high street retail names very much in evidence. The atmosphere is much more urban with a mainline railway station and multiplex cinemas. Prices are generally lower in the town than the village reflecting the snobbery between the two.

Unlike Richmond and other areas in South West London, Wimbledon is off the flight path into Heathrow.

Transport is mixed, with bottlenecks around Wandsworth and over the bridges crossing the Thames. It is on the District line of the Underground but many use the mainline stations to access the City.

Winnington Road

Winninton Road is situated in the Hampstead Garden Suburb

The Hampstead Garden Suburb lies between Hampstead and Highgate, just to the North of the Heath and only another half a mile further out of London. But in this instance, half a mile makes all the difference and the Garden Suburb represents a different style of living. Laid out to a Lutyens design, the houses are predominantly low-built and arts and crafts in style, with off-street parking and good sized gardens.

The price of more suburban living is a shortage of amenities. All shopping has to be done by car. The Bishops Avenue is probably the best known road in North London flanked with mansions that seem to be immune from any local planning regulations.

Henrietta Barnet School for Girls regularly heads the National League Tables.

Wycombe Square

Wycombe Square is located on a hill nearer the quiet surroundings of Kensington, near Kensington Gardens and Holland Park

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