EVERY year the Oxford and Cambridge boat race serves as a useful reminder that London riverside living isn’t all about steel, glass and gleaming tower blocks.
The race takes the rowers on a tour of some of the most coveted residential areas in London, from the picturesque riverside pubs of Fulham to the bijou balconied terraces of Barnes. It starts, though, in the ever-popular Putney, centre of British rowing since the second half of the 19th century and home to a vibrant community of professional Londoners.
Like many of the waterside towns of south west London, Putney overflows with characterful pubs perfect for a jug of Pimms come the day of the Boat Race. There are around 10 great options to choose from but particularly worth a visit are The Boathouse and The Cat’s Back, the latter a good option if you’re an ale enthusiast.
With plenty of good schools and an an abundance of family-sized Victorian houses, the Putney property market has done exceptionally well in recent years. The most sought-after area has traditionally been to the west of the High Street between Barnes and Putney Heath. The Victorian villas, pretty Edwardian semi-detached and terraced townhouses are all popular with those looking to upsize, while the south-westerly quarter next to Roehampton tends to be more affordable.
Most buyers are UK citizens looking to upsize with their families, and even foreign buyers tend to be western-European owner-occupiers. This accounts for the strong sense of community enjoyed by Putney residents. Alex Howard Baker from Savills Putney says, “The prime market in Putney has performed exceptionally well and since 2008 prices have grown by over 70 per cent, with around 13 per cent in the last year alone. This momentum looks set to continue and Savills forecast further price rises of around 20 per cent by 2018.
“The housing on offer is mainly Victorian and Edwardian, but the mixture of pretty and imposing period architecture is augmented by some chic contemporary riverside developments.”
6 REASONS TO MOVE TO THE AREA
1 Putney is well-renowned as one of the greenest and most pleasant places in London, making it a great place to call home if you enjoy open spaces, plenty of fresh air and riverside strolls.
2 Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen herself, was a frequent visitor to the area between 1577 to 1603. She’d often drop in on her beloved friend Mr John Lacy and stay for two or three days at a time.
3 You’ll have front row seats for The University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge which has started at Putney since 1845. More than 20 rowing clubs are currently based at Putney Embankment.
4 Discover the Putney Sculpture Trail. The London Borough of Wandsworth made nine works by Brit Alan Thornhill permanent fixtures along the south side of the Thames in September 2008.
5 Bump into Simon Le Bon, lead singer of 80s superstars Duran Duran, who lives in West Putney with his wife Yasmin. You should also prepare yourself for an encounter with Deputy PM Nick Clegg.
6 Not much beats enjoying a pint along the river in summer. In Putney, there are plenty of places to have a drink outside including The Boathouse Putney or the 150-year-old Grade II-listed Duke’s Head pub.