Historically has suffered highs and lows in terms of its perception as a prime residential location but is currently enjoying a renaissance. Mayfair now boasts some of the world's most well known retailers, luxurious hotels and sophisticated restaurants, as well as grand houses and luxurious purpose-built apartment buildings. Prices vary widely from £1500 to £5000 per square foot depending on the location. Large swathes of Mayfair feature office space, making it feel more like a commercial district than a residential one. It also lacks garden squares but its proximity to Hyde Park and the Grosvenor Estate's plans to regenerate the area mean that the area will continue to rise in popularity.
Arguably the grandest location in London, Belgravia is home to embassies, diplomatic residences and elegant stucco fronted terraced houses with views over luxuriant garden squares. Belgravia is the quintessential London location for those looking for elegant living. The largest freeholder in the area is the Duke Of Westminster and his Grosvenor Estate has actively managed the area to ensure sustained capital growth. Eaton Square, in the heart of Belgravia, is an internationally renowned address.
Possibly the most quintessentially British of all the London neighbourhood's, the area is resolutely masculine and boasts many long established shops. Jermyn Street is famed for its handmade shirts while Geo. Trumper's still offers a traditional wet shave. Fortnum & Mason, London's oldest department store, has recently been refurbished but still boasts its magnificent food hall. Exclusive private members' clubs are interspersed with generously sized flats and a handful of houses. St James's Square retains much of its original architecture but unfortunately, many of the houses have been converted into offices. Green Park provides coveted green space and the area is served by two Underground stations with access to the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines.
Considered the jet set address of London. With a host of international restaurants, world class shopping and home to One Hyde Park, the most expensive residential building in the world, Knightsbridge is a world class residential location. With Harrods department store at its epicentre and the Cadogan Estate its largest landowner, Knightsbridge can boast some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
The large elegant terraces of South Kensington are exemplified by addresses such as Onslow Square, Queens Gate Gardens, and Cranley Gardens which offer large lateral flats similar to those in Belgravia but in a less formal atmosphere. Much sought after by the French whose children attend the Lycee School, South Kensington still retains the individual shops that make it such a vibrant and desirable location.
With a history rich in the arts and the bohemian King's Road, made famous in the 60s, at its heart, Chelsea retains all of its charm and a somewhat idiosyncratic character. With a good cross section of small artisan cottages, a number of mid-sized family houses and some exceptional Georgian riverside mansions, Chelsea offers great family houses plus some of London's most sought after private schools.
Kensington boasts a large number of spacious family houses and with its proximity to both Kensington Gardens and Holland Park, the area is popular with families. The Phillimore estate is considered to be the 'jewel in Kensington's crown' with many large detached houses with generous gardens. Kensington also boasts some fine purpose-built blocks and smaller conversions that appeal to those seeking a pied a terre or investment flat. It has proven to be a sound long term investment with good transport facilities and access to Heathrow and the west of England.
This area has always been popular with the young, especially the 'beach' part of the Fulham Road with its excellent Fulham Road Cinema, Italian delicatessen and fine local stores. This is a popular and relatively affordable place to live. However, it is a long way from the Underground and investors have often found their properties difficult to let because of this. Amongst its many fine streets are The Boltons, Gilston Road and Tregunter Road which offer wide, spacious family houses often with superb gardens.
The gracious Italianate mansions of Holland park are quintessentially part of this world famous area. With many notable residents, Holland Park boasts large houses with vast gardens. The local shopping of Holland Park Avenue is superb and with the Central line providing quick access to the West End and the City, it's a popular area with bankers and their families.
An area that is perpetually popular with families, Notting Hill has vastly increased in value largely because it is one of the rare locations in central London where a large number of the houses have direct access to communal gardens and the houses are wide enough to house a growing family. Notting Hill boasts good quality and diverse facilities while Westbourne Grove has emerged as the social hub of this vibrant area.
Probably the area in central London to watch. It is sandwiched between Notting Hill to the west and Marylebone to the east but has been overlooked historically. It has a number of white stuccoed terraces and garden squares similar to those found in pricier Notting Hill but does not yet boast the cache of its more famous neighbour. Things are improving; a number of the cheaper hotels have gone and been replaced by high class residential developments which continue to enhance the area. It is anticipated that after the London Olympics in 2012 many more of these hotels will revert to residential use as single family homes. Bayswater has easy access to Heathrow airport, providing easy access to Europe and the world.
A great family area with housing stock that is very similar to Kensington. It is situated close to Regents Park with Primrose Hill and Little Venice close by. The American School is a great draw for many buyers but it is largely the wide range of substantial family houses in Hamilton Terrace, Cavendish Avenue and the many attractive surrounding streets that make St John's Wood worthy of consideration. It is served by the Jubilee Line ensuring quick access to Canary Wharf, the financial centre of London.
Little Venice is one of the most romantic areas in Central London. Made up of white stucco Victorian houses that are much favoured by people working in the media, many of these houses enjoy views over The Regent's Canal, hence the area's name. Well kept communal gardens also pepper this neighbourhood. The best houses are to be found on Blomfield Road, Maida Avenue and Warwick Avenue. Maida Vale is predominantly an area of converted flats or Victorian mansion blocks, while the fringe areas of Queens Park and Kensal Rise are quickly emerging as west London's cool young family area.
Marylebone is one of London's greatest success stories. Until about 15 years ago, the high street was an ignored collection of charity shops and newsagents. Thanks to careful management by the Howard de Walden Estate, the high street is now a vibrant mix of high end retailers and popular restaurants. Large houses dominate streets such as Devonshire Place, with some homes measuring nearly 10,000 square feet. Gardens tend to be quite small, though, and residential homes are often interspersed with offices and doctor's surgeries. The area continues to improve and has the potential to rival some of London's more established neighbourhoods within a few short years.