London takes its status as one of the world’s greenest cities very seriously indeed. A patchwork of bright lights, busy highways and a peerless nightlife, this capital city is stitched together by undulating hills, vast grasslands, lulling lakes and park bench views to take your breath away. So if you’re looking to rent or buy in London, while striking the perfect balance of city life and Country File, these six spots are a fine starter for ten.
Look beyond London’s sardine-packed tube carriages, bustling bars and never-ending nightlife, and you’ll find tranquil tree-lined streets, historic heaths and lakes abounding with wildlife. These spots are the idle of the city’s dog walkers, off-road runners and park bench dreamers – those that live for London’s ineffable energy while hankering for wide-open spaces.
Green and pleasant London
From Bromley to Hackney, London boasts a bounty of green boroughs. In fact, satellite data reveals that currently a whopping 23% of the city is made up of green space. So if you’re looking to buy or let in the capital, without sacrificing your countryside yearnings, then you’re in luck.
A Britain’s Real ‘Green & Pleasant’ Project study, which analysed the carbon emissions, recycling levels and energy consumption of 10 major British cities, ranks our mighty capital at number four. With ambitious green initiatives in place, including Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to drive emissions to zero by 2050, London is primed to take poll position over the coming years.
The Greener City Fund is one such initiative. Along with the zero emissions target, this fund aims to make 50% of the capital green space by 2050 – marking it as the first National Park City. Projects include Green Capital, a £3m investment to support green space improvements, such as river restoration, developing new habitats for wildlife and creating natural play spaces for children; London’s Urban Forest, another £3m pot to help create new woodlands and piloting new approaches to public space tree planting; and a further £3m for Community Tree Planting and Green Space grants, which support community tree planting projects.
Interested in hearing more and maybe getting involved? Read the Green City Fund prospectus, or explore the Greener City Map to discover ongoing and upcoming projects. So you’re looking to live within London’s leafier locations, but you’re not sure where to start? Have no fear. Here’s some food for thought…
Battersea, South West
While Battersea is just stone’s throw across the Thames to Chelsea, it’s been relatively under the radar for buyers and renters. This may have something to do with the lack of tube station (Fulham Broadway and Victoria are the closest tube stations depending on which way you’re coming from). But with the Northern Line extending into it by 2020, all that’s set to change. It may just be the perfect time to put down roots in one of the city’s greenest spots.
Nicknamed ‘pram springs’ on account of the influx of settling families over the last decade, it’s the ideal pick if you’ve got children. Falcon Park, situated between two curving railways, is a prime playground for youngsters and equally perfect for a relaxed wander beneath the trees at the end of the day.
A mix of modern riverside apartments; spacious mansion flats positioned around the 200-acre Battersea Park; Victorian terrace houses; and council housing estates, there’s a lot of choice in Battersea. The rental price range is around £275 – £1,269 per week. Buying? The average property value today is £829,699.
Greenwich, South East
We have King Henry VIII to thank for this one. The monarch preserved the best hunting land in London for his sole recreation, and thus, Greenwich Park was born. The World Heritage Site is an immaculate expanse of green, boasting the world-renowned Royal Observatory, spectacular panoramic views over London, a deer reserve and wonderful flower, herb and orchard gardens. And there’s more; take a walk over the top of the park and you’ll find Blackheath Common.
But that’s not all that’s green about Greenwich. It also has one of the lowest levels of air pollution in the city and the highest household recycling rates. So if you’re a stickler for sorting your plastics from your paper and you loving nothing more than a stroll through a pristine park, then look no further than Greenwich.
The overall average house price in the borough is £459,042. Greenwich Town is the most costly option, whereas average house prices in Thamesmead is in the region of £295,229. And if you’re angling to rent, you’re looking at between £350 and £550 per week for a two-bed property.
Kentish Town, North West
If you’re looking for a place to call home that manages to be both edgy and classically charming, then you’re barking up the right tree with the rags to riches Kentish Town. There’s plenty of indoor fun to be had like sampling the delights of local Camden Town Brewery, listening to live acts at historic music venue, Bull and Gate, or quaffing a cocktail or two at the decadent Boulogne Bar. But step outside and you’ll discover why this is one of the hottest spots for London renters and buyers right now.
Stroll past candy coloured terraces that give Notting Hill a run for its money. Make Hampstead Heath’s 790 acres of green space your own personal playground. Revel in sensational sunsets (search #kentishtownsunset to see these for yourself). And, if you’re made of hardy stuff, why not make a morning dip in the Art Deco Parliament Hill Lido part of your weekly routine (beware, it’s unheated).
Unsurprisingly, prices in the area have risen rapidly over the past few years, with some properties being sold for more than £1m. This would have been unheard of a decade ago. However it’s still a notably cheaper option compared to areas like Camden, Belsize Park and Tufnell Park. As of 2015 the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Kentish Town is £2050 per month, although similar properties can be found from around £1500. The average price for a property is currently £591,398.
St John’s Wood, North West
With multi-million pound houses and celebrity residents, St John’s Wood is one of the most affluent areas of London. Unlike places like Primrose Hill, which has working class roots, it was actually purpose built in 1809 to provide luxury villas for the upper echelons of society. Many of these original houses and gardens were lost through wartime bomb damage and the laying of new roads and railways, but much of the character still remains. With many of the houses listed by English heritage and being designated as a Conservation Area, green spaces and charm abound.
It may be beyond the reach of many, but for the few that are able to add NW8 to their address, it’s the ideal retreat from the bustle of the city. Tree-lined streets. Picturesque Little Venice along the canal to the west. The stunning rose gardens and outdoor sports areas of Regent’s Park on its doorstep. And gorgeous views from Primrose Hill (if you’re up for the climb). St John’s Wood beckons its residents outside.
While property values here are averaging £1,431,663, and renting averaging £553 for a 2 bed flat, being part of the City of Westminster means you’ll benefit from one the lowest Council Tax rates in London.
Richmond, South West
Last year Richmond Upon-Thames took home the title of London’s happiest place to live – for the third year running, no less. It’s easy to see why. Young professionals, commuters and families are flocking to the area for its speedy links to Central London (Waterloo is just 21 minutes away), ‘outstanding’ rated schools and village-esque community atmosphere. It’s also one of the safest places to live in the capital.
King Henry VII built Richmond Palace in 1501. Surrounded by agricultural land and the King’s hunting Park (Richmond Park), by the 18th and 19th centuries the area became increasingly fashionable for aristocracy seeking a retreat from London. Many houses built in this time, such as Ham House, Petersham House, Marble Hill House and a number of properties at the top of Richmond Hill, still survive today – adding to the overall charm and grandeur of the place.
With 2,500 acres of green land, Richmond Park is one of the largest in London, and arguably one of the biggest bonuses of living in the area. Take a seemingly endless walk through the leafy grounds, stumble across wild deer, wander up King Henry’s Mount to soak in the protected view of the city, or simply wallow on the grass. All this just 8 miles from Central London? It’s hard to imagine. But it is true.
Average rental price in the area is currently £601 per week, with the average property value set at £787,685.
Forest Gate, South East
Apparently Jimi Hendrix wrote Purple Haze in Forest Gate’s famous Upper Cut Club. But if that’s not enough to lure you here, then there are plenty more strings to the area’s bow. ‘Good’ to ‘outstanding’ schools, a trove of bars, coffee shops and restaurants to choose from, and a multi-million pound leisure centre for all you fitness needs.
But you’re more of an outdoor person aren’t you? Well, with Wanstead Flats’ open green fields, football pitches and natural children’s playground, there’s plenty of great open air for you here. You’ll also have the Grade II listed, 140 acre Wanstead Park on your doorstep. Ideal for a Sunday stroll, the park also hosts cultural events. Enjoying a spot of theatre beneath the stars? Marvellous.
Average rental value in the area is £440 per week. And if you’re buying you can find your perfect home for anywhere between £230,000 and £1.7m.
So, whether you want to live like a King with the grandeur of royal parks at your disposal, would simply love evening strolls along a leafy riverside or just want enough space to kick a ball around with the kids, London has you covered. Register with SnapdUp and we’ll help you find your ideal home.
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