Some of London’s neighbourhoods have become international brands – think Mayfair, Chelsea, or Knightsbridge. But buyers looking for the perfect place to live or invest in should dig a little deeper to discover the British capital’s hidden gems.
With 283 postcodes in London, the choice of location can be simply overwhelming.
To assist, this is Black Brick’s guide to the under-the-radar hotspots which property buyers need to know about:
Dalston’s rise is really thanks to London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Investment into infrastructure was part of the deal, and this led to a government commitment to fund the East London Line.
The reopening of Dalston Junction railway station in 2010 gave the area easy train links to the West End, City, and Canary Wharf and raised its profile amongst buyers looking for a mid-point between expensive Islington to the west and gritty Hackney to the east.
Regeneration – and gentrification – in Dalston, has been steady and organic, and with a strong emphasis on live music and nightlife, quirky bars, and excellent independent restaurants.
But the relatively hidden area also retains an authentic London vibe with its traditional street market at Ridley Road, its cosmopolitan community, and its shabby corners.
Although Dalston’s reputation has been revived thanks to its injection of younger buyers, the area is surprisingly workable for families with popular prep schools like St Paul’s Steiner School plus highly rated state primary and secondary schools. And green space is provided by London Fields and Hackney Downs.
Property wise, there are elegant Georgian townhouses and villas, Victorian terraces, and modern loft-style apartments to choose from, making it one of North London’s lesser known hidden property spots. We helped a young first time buyer find their perfect property, just 5 minutes from the Overground back in 2018.
Over the past decade this run down corner of south London has become a mecca for young hipsters, thanks to the entrepreneurial locals who have been quietly opening cafes and restaurants, galleries and cinemas, microbreweries and rooftop bars.
Meanwhile the highly vocal local community has worked hard to ensure that Peckham’s strong and endearing local character isn’t bulldozed during the process of gentrification.
Over recent years new homes have been built, the shops around Rye Lane and Peckham Rye Park have been smartened up (although don’t expect a chi chi London village vibe), and the Grade II listed Peckham Rye Station has been upgraded.
In the future there are plans for a New York High Line style park along a disused railway line, and for the reopening of the local lido.
Whether these schemes actually materialise remains to be seen, but what the area has always had going for it is some incredible property, from the tall, slender Georgian townhouses on Lyndhurst Way to the pretty villas which line Lyndhurst Square. There are also some stunning period houses to be found around Bellenden Road, another local focus and one which is developing a more upscale range of cafes and restaurants than along edgy Rye Lane.
These are the cobbled streets where Jack the Ripper once stalked his victims, terrifying Victorian London. But don’t let Spitalfields’ grisly past deter you. Today it is a historic enclave of Georgian and Victorian townhouses and warehouse apartments on the eastern fringe of the City and three miles from the West End.
This is a perfect spot for a London pied a terre for buyers who need easy access to the Square Mile but will also appreciate having plenty to do – from boutiques to bars – on the doorstep. Buyers tend to be a mix of those working in law and financial services, plus creatives. Although by no means hidden in name and popularity, Spitalfields may surprise prospective buyers with it’s function as a perfect property location.
The pick of Spitalfields’ properties are the glorious Georgian townhouses of Princelet Street, where French Huguenots fleeing persecution at home colonised in the 17th century. This wave of immigrants became the beating heart of Britain’s silk weaving industry and brought wealth to Spitalfields until cheap imports pushed them out of business.
The neighbourhood’s decline continued until after the Second World War when conservationists began to realise the architectural merit of the “Huguenot houses” and campaigned to protect them. Then, in the 1990s, Spitalfields was discovered by young artists like Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George who helped make the area fashionable, while a redevelopment of Old Spitalfields Market turned it into a destination.
Ever since plans for a new cross-London tube link were announced the smart money has been gravitating towards this previously rather nondescript suburb.
Crossrail, which opened in 2022, has had a transformative impact on Acton’s transport links. Journeys from Acton’s main line station to Heathrow now take around 20 minutes, or you can be at Bond Street in 12 minutes and Canary Wharf in 26 minutes.
Buyers have recognised that they can now get to work just as quickly from Acton as from Hampstead or Islington, and they will get far more bang for their buck. Others have been drawn in from more expensive neighbours, like Fulham and Notting Hill.
What they have found is a neighbourhood with an independent spirit and strong sense of community. Great local restaurants and cafes have been springing up along Churchfield Road (which even now has its own Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/churchfieldrdw3/) and locals organise events from festivals to art shows.
Local schools are good, and top performing independent schools, including Godolphin & Latymer and St Paul’s, are an easy school run away.
Featured in our recent piece on the best London places to buy in 2023, the evolution of Action has not gone unnoticed amongst developers, with £800m being spent on the 3,300 home Acton Gardens development, and upgrades of the local shopping mall.
For buyers there are streets of smart Victorian houses, the most sought after of which are in Poet’s Corner, a micro neighborhood with streets named after English poets which is filled with substantial Victorian terraces and semi-detached houses.
If you think Black Brick can help find your perfect property in Prime Central London, please get in touch with us today.
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