As the Six Nations tournament comes to a close this Saturday, all eyes are on Twickenham.
This leafy south west London suburb may buzz with life around match days – with the thoroughfare between Twickenham station and the stadium getting particularly boisterous – but the rest of the time, it’s the picture of modern, aspirational family life on the outskirts of London.
“While many neighbourhoods in the capital trade on their up and coming reputation, Twickenham is one of the few places which has remained solidly middle-class since it was built,” says David Fell, research analyst for Hamptons International.
“At a time when London was throwing up rows of terraces, the first semi-detached homes in the capital were being built in TW1. The semis were designed for class-conscious commuters, with front doors and porches hidden from the street to give the impression of a single large home.”
Though it’s classed as Zone 5, the fast train into Waterloo gets you into the thick of it in around 20mins, meaning it’s still a popular commuter location today.
There’s a decent high street too – given its last lick of paint in 2015 ahead of the Rugby World Cup – while Church Street is lined with pretty spots to eat outdoors in fine weather. The River Thames is also nearby, making it a perfect location for lazy strolls on a Sunday afternoon.
“Twickenham is a crowd pleaser,” says Erika Hopkins, sales manager at the local branch of Featherstone Leigh. “Families are drawn to the picturesque area, leafy riverside walks, large detached period homes and weekly farmers’ market. It really is village living in Zone 5.”
Good schools are also a draw for families, with many establishments in the area rated Outstanding by Ofsted, chief among them Waldegrave Girls School, a non-fee paying school that ranks highly among the best schools in the UK.
Even new builds in the area are tapping into the growing family fund, such as Brewery Gate, a collection of 28 Georgian-style townhouses due to be completed this year, where prices start at £1.55m.
Competition is also being whipped up within the locality, though, as much of the movement is due to families jostling around school catchment areas and popular high streets. Yet there’s also some flow outwards from downsizers, who are attracted by two to three bedroom Victorian cottages on the outskirts of central Twickenham.
Despite price increases, it’s still relatively good value for money in the affluent borough of Richmond. Barry McCarthy, sales director at the local branch of Dexters, says the property market is “buzzing” in the area, becasue “you can get a Victorian family home for between £900,000 and £1.1m; that money would not get buyers anything comparable in neighbouring Barnes, Kew or Richmond.
“At the moment, Twickenham is so popular that we don’t have enough housing stock to meet demand.”
The number of homes going for £1m has risen by a third between 2015 and 2016, a trend for house price growth that the local branch of Foxtons thinks is set to continue.
“As an example of this, we sold a one bedroom apartment above a commercial unit on the High Street in 2014 for £315,000 and two years later in 2016, the same unit sold for £410,000,” says Twickenham sales manager Adam O’Leary.
“It’s fair to say that Twickenham has something for everyone and its popularity will only increase in the forseeable future.”
You can’t talk about Twickenham without mentioning rugby, the two are intrinsically entwined. But did you know that before the stadium was built, the land was used to grow cabbages and that’s why the venue is affectionately known as the Cabbage Patch? The first two Beatles films were made at Twickenham Studios, along with modern classics like An American Werewolf in London and Blade Runner. The White Swan pub is a popular riverside boozer, offering up 17th century tradition and a great view from the beer garden. Freshly-based artisan breads and pastries are on sale daily at Reuben’s Bakehouse, and you can order ‘click and collect’ wood-fired pizzas from its website. There’s also plenty of space to ride your bike around Marble Hill Park, a 66-acre parkland that hosts Marble Hill House, a Palladian villa that was built for Henrietta Howard, the mistress of King George II, with handpainted Chinese wallpaper.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: Citymapper
Time to Canary Wharf: 40 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 40 mins
Nearest train station: Twickenham
Best roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: St Peter’s Road: £3,151,850
Best Value: Varsity Drive: £281,143