25th August 2023

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The Best 3 Family Neighbourhoods in London: Hampstead, Dulwich, and Richmond-upon-Thames

Family homes simply never go out of fashion.

Substantial properties with plenty of outside space, in locations which boast the classic triumvirate of good schools, open space, and a thriving high street tend to hold their value far better than other more discretionary sectors of the housing market. They hold strong appeal to domestic buyers, relocators, and expats looking for a home in the British capital.

Buyers considering setting down roots in London need to get to know these essential neighbourhoods, which Black Brick considers to be the best places to bring up a family in London.


Hampstead: A Desirable Location for Families in North London

  • Average price per sq ft: £1,431.
  • One year change: 7.6%
  • Five year change: 15.1%

(source: LonRes)

Once prized for the healing waters drawn from its wells, Hampstead has evolved into one of London’s most civilised postcodes.

Its property stock is an outstanding mix of sweet countrified cottages, Victorian townhouses and villas, and contemporary trophy homes. 

But what makes Hampstead unique is its 800 acre swathe of ancient heathland, twice the size of Hyde Park and perfect for dog walking and wild swimming in its ponds. 

Hampstead’s High Street is stuffed full of cafes and boutiques, there are some really good traditional pubs, and our only criticisms of NW3 are that it gets very crowded at weekends and a lot of its independent shops have vanished. 

Locals include a strong contingent of international buyers, aspirational British families, and Hampstead also enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of London’s most star-studded addresses – both Dame Judi Dench and the late George Michael lived there for years. Today young stars like Harry Styles, Bridgerton actress Phoebe Dynevor, and Emilia Clarke, of Game of Thrones fame, all live locally.

All great family locations need good schools, and in Hamstead the choice is outstanding. For younger students The Academy School and Hampstead Hill School (both independent) and Christ Church Primary (state) are all rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, the Government schools’ watchdog.

Older girls can go on to the ultra-high performing South Hampstead High School (independent) or The Camden School for Girls (state), while the co-ed Highgate School gets equally stellar results and is a pleasant walk across the heath.

Hampstead also has a thriving cultural life with art exhibitions and concerts at Kenwood House, a lovely 17th century mansion which is open to the public, an arthouse cinema, an off-West End theatre, and several small museums including Keats House, former home of the romantic poet.

Black Brick recently helped an American family buy a home right on the southern fringes of the heath. The house we found, on South Hill Park Gardens, had generated a lot of interest from buyers but we were able to steer our clients into poll position with a winning bid of £4.95m. 


Dulwich: A Haven for Families in South East London

  • Average price per sq ft: £791
  • One year change: -0.8%
  • Five year change: 18.2%

(source: LonRes)

When innkeeper’s son Edward Alleyn, who made a fortune out of playhouses, bear-pits, and brothels in 16th century London, decided to retire he decamped to the “country”. He bought up a swathe of land in what is now Dulwich and changed its fate forever. 

Alleyn set up a trust to help educate the worthy poor. And the three schools he funded are now amongst the capital’s top performers – James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS), Alleyn’s School, and Dulwich College.

These schools are a huge draw to an area which is a quieter, more low-key option than Hampstead, and also less expensive per square foot.

Most of the area’s housing stock is period terraces, and a large swathe of the area is governed by the Dulwich Estate, a registered charity. It has kept Dulwich looking pristine by banning home “improvements” like plastic windows and concreted-over front gardens.  

On the map Dulwich may look a little too far out for buyers who still need to get to the office – but maps can be deceptive. Trains to the City take half an hour, which makes it a hugely popular choice for buyers working in personal finance and law.

Locals describe Dulwich as sedate and pretty, with Dulwich Park and Dulwich Common for long walks and bike rides. What it does lack is a proper high street. There are some nice neighbourhood restaurants (as well as the magnificent Dulwich Picture Gallery) and for a wider range of shops, bars and cafes hip East Dulwich is only up the road. 

Another drawback for Dulwich buyers is its severely restricted lack of supply. Those who move there tend to stay put for decades, and the best homes sell fast. Back Brick recently helped one family upsize to a 4.500 sq ft villa on Alleyn Road, which was being sold off market. Our clients emerged victorious after a sealed bids auction. Their bid of just over £5m was not the highest offer, but we were able to persuade the vendor that they were the best contenders to take over the house. 


Richmond-upon-Thames: Family-Friendly Charm Close to the City 

  • Average price per sq ft: £970
  • One year change: 11.1%
  • Five year change: 23.0%

(source: LonRes).

Right on the borders of London and Surrey, parts of Richmond have a real countryside vibe even though it is less than 20 minutes by train to Waterloo Station.

Many buyers gravitate to Richmond from more urban west London options like Notting Hill, Holland Park, or Kensington. 

Moving six miles from prime central London also gives many the chance to trade up from a flat or a pretty but modest terrace with a postage stamp garden to a roomier home.

This could mean a Victorian and Edwardian terrace or semi, a charming mews house, or a Georgian townhouse. At the top end, there are some seriously spacious detached homes overlooking Richmond Green. 

The green is just one of this area’s impressive outside spaces – Richmond Park and Kew Gardens. Their mix of woodland, formal gardens, and grassland give plenty of variety, and locals can enjoy both golf and horse riding. 

And, of course, there is always the option of a stroll along the River Thames and a stop at one of Richmond’s fine waterfront pubs.

The centre of Richmond is more market town than sleepy village vibes. Locals have a theatre and a cinema to keep them entertained, plus endless upscale cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants, and good food shops.

Like Hampstead, Richmond’s charms have made it into a (particularly) weekend destination, so you do have to expect very heavy traffic.  

Parents love Richmond for its good range of schools, both state and private. In the state sector Deer Park School (primary) and Grey Court School (seniors) get top marks from the schools’ watchdog, as does Radnor House, a co-ed prep school up the road in Twickenham.

For the academically able high performers include The Tiffin Girls’ School, a reasonable school run away in Kingston upon Thames, and St Paul’s School, in Barnes. St Paul’s Girls’ School is just a little further away in Hammersmith.

Black Brick recently helped a west London family relocate to Richmond Hill, after they struggled to find a suitable family home in good condition. Our good contacts with local agents led us to a super house on Marlborough Road before it came onto the market. We were also able to negotiate £100,000 off its asking price:

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