It doesn’t get more prestigious than living on a square

Timothy Barber
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IF you really want prestige London living – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – you simply can’t beat living on a historic town square. There are over 600 squares in London, from the famous, grand open spaces of Knightsbridge and Belgravia like Lowndes Square and Eaton Square, to the smaller, cosier cobbled versions hidden away between the streets of places like Islington and Kennington.

As well as ensuring that open space and green areas are present in the built-up maze of London’s streetscape – making them one of the city’s most noteable architectural features – squares have an extra historic purpose: separating the cream of society from the merely well-to-do, and that’s still the case. For just about any historic square in London, though the buildings will be little different from those on surrounding streets, there’ll be a premium of 10 per cent or more on the price.

“Different cities have different points of prestige and interest, based on what’s outside the property rather than the property itself,” says Charlie Smith of prime
London estate agents, Sotheby’s International Realty. “In New York it’s overlooking Central Park, in Sydney it’s a view of the harbour and the Opera House, and in London it’s being on a square.”

At the very top of the pile is Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, which has been one of the capital’s most illustrious addresses for over 200 years. At its heart is its large oblong area of parkland, with huge trees – some of which date back to the 1780s – rising high above the rooftops, surrounded by banks of exquisite 18th century properties, including Robert Adam’s Lansdowne House.

Suffice to say, property becoming available in Berkeley Square is a pretty rare occurrence, and right now there’s something even more unusual – the square’s one and only true penthouse apartment. Formerly owned and kitted out to ultra-luxurious standards by property developers Christian and Nick Candy, it comes complete with a sizeable outdoor terrace and nearby parking facilities. Buyers will need deep pockets though – as well as the £6.25m price, the annual service charge alone amounts to just shy of £20,000.

But of course, there’s a particular bonus to living on a square that makes such sums worth it if you have the dosh, and that’s those beautiful open spaces. A garden square gives your kids somewhere to run around – some even have private playground facilities – and everyone else a tranquil zone to bliss out only yards from your front door.

“Purchasers are attracted by the rarity, kudos and resale value of garden square properties, but the reality is that many people don’t make the best use of the gardens while living there,” says Ed Mead of Mayfair estate agents Douglas & Gordon. All the more space for the rest to enjoy then.

Penthouses don’t come swisher than this duplex penthouse designed by Candy & Candy on the seventh and eigth floors of a block overlooking Mayfair’s most beautiful garden square. There are three en suite bedrooms, a full-width terrace and a lock-up garage on Hay’s Mews to the rear of the building.
Contact Sotheby’s International Realty on 020 7495 9580 or

An imposing first floor apartment with three en suite bedrooms, plus a lift and 24 hour concierge service.
Sotheby’s International Realty: 020 7495 9580,

Sitting on a square inside Regent’s Park itself, this grand Regency house includes six bedrooms and a library.
Sotheby’s International Realty: 020 7495 9580,

A magnificent five bedroom house arranged over four floors. The drawing room occupies the entire first floor.
Douglas & Gordon: 020 7931 8200,

A newly refurbished first floor flat in a splendid Victorian building overlooking Redcliffe Square.
Douglas & Gordon: 020 7931 8200,