Reclaiming London’s waterfront

Forget moving to the coast. Enjoy a riverside lifestyle and scenic views in the heart of the city

WITH its bitterly cold winters and lack of space, London isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of waterside living – but over the past few years London has rediscovered its lost waterfront.

As an island nation, Britain has always had a strong maritime tradition but vast tracts of the Thames have been taken up with industrial land. Now large segments of this land have been reclaimed, allowing the stretch of the Thames from Woolwich all the way to Kew Gardens to become a breeding ground for new developments. Today, more people live along the central strip of the Thames than at any time in history.

“Waterside properties are very popular right now,” says Mary Timlin, sales and market director at Redrow Homes London. “Living in such a thriving city has many advantages but picturesque views are hard to find, so they are extremely desirable. Many developments also offer a “riverside lifestyle,” which offers scenic walks, beautiful parks and river taxis – all in close proximity to central London.”

Estate agent Knight Frank has even set up a riverside division in response to the demand.

According to research, two thirds of riverside buyers already live in London and many see it as an alternative to leaving London for the coast.

Traditional locations like St Katherine’s Docks and Chelsea Harbour have been forced to compete with a flurry of new developments that offer an unbeatable modern lifestyle. And the best part is, there are enough sites to cater for all several budget ranges.

Apartments and penthouses in Royal Arsenal Riverside in south east London are proving popular among young professionals and first time buyers due to their relatively accessible prices. Further up the river is more expensive. South Bank, Chelsea and Battersea have seen a surge of residents drawn in by the restaurants, theatres and local amenities, while Putney and Kew have proven popular with families looking for something more rural.

The Thames clipper has supported the trend, transporting commuters quickly between Woolwich Arsenal and Chelsea.

If you’re considering snapping up a waterside pad, these are the top developments:

The Berkeley development is one of south east London’s most talked about riverside addresses and is one of the UK’s largest regeneration sites.

“The regeneration of Royal Arsenal began a number of years ago and is coming to fruition with the opening of its own Crossrail station in 2018, making Royal Arsenal Riverside a fantastic investment,” says Knight Frank partner Raul Cimesa.

The 76-acre site enjoys a rich history and features a mix of Grade II listed buildings and modern, high specification apartments. The £1bn investment has resulted in the creation of a vibrant new community of more than 1,750 new homes and there are more in the pipeline. A luxury hotel is being built, alongside office spaces, restaurants and shops.

When complete, Crossrail will allow easy access to the City, which can currently be reached via the DLR or Thames Clipper. Southeastern trains can be taken to Charing Cross and Cannon Street from Woolwich Arsenal rail station.

Prices start from £425,000. For more information contact Berkeley on 0844 417 8739.

Chelsea Bridge Wharf is one of the hottest developments on this list.

The site is less than a mile away from the hustle and bustle of the King’s Road and Sloane Square, while a new Thames-side promenade and footbridge allows residents access to the open green space of Battersea Park.

The once derelict site has been transformed into a vibrant residential and commercial area and is home to a four star hotel, 800sqm health and fitness club and an award winning restaurant.

The plot is comprised of nine buildings offering studio apartments through to penthouses, set around a central landscaped courtyard and is surrounded by an impressive fountain and water feature.

For prices and more information contact Knight Frank on 020 3597 7670.

This new development created by Taylor Wimpey is ideal for those wanting to be near to the water but looking for an alternative to the new buildings emerging along the Thames. It sits on the bankside of the famous Regent’s Canal and is comprised of one to four bedroom contemporary apartments.

All 54 of them, which will be complete by the end of the year, feature floor to ceiling windows allowing for floods of light, along with solid wood flooring throughout and access to a communal courtyard.

The site is within a stone’s throw of Camden’s bustling market and high street, offering a great mix of international food stalls, independent boutiques and established high street stores. Residents will also be spoiled for choice with entertainment as the world renowned Roundhouse and the Electric Ballroom are close by, and the open spaces of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill are a short walk away.

Prices start from £799,995. For more information contact Chesterton Humberts on 020 3667 5592 or visit

The award-winning development is located in the heart of the South Bank and was created by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, the architects behind Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Its design is focused on offering spectacular views. All apartments and penthouses feature internal glazed balcony gardens that extend the living space and the lifts were placed externally to take advantage of the views.

The site is comprised of four hexagonal pavilions and offers bright and spacious two bedroom apartments through to penthouses. Residents have the South Bank on their doorsteps and St Paul’s is nearby.

For more information contact Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499 or visit

One of the newest on this list, Riverside Quarter is a £100m development created by Frasers Property. The riverside location offers residents views stretching from Putney Bridge to the West End, with apartments overlooking the famous Hurlingham Club, too. Its central location means it’s close to the amenities of Wandsworth and is across the river from the cultural hub of Chelsea with its top-notch eateries and museums.

The development plays home to a nine and 12-storey building, both of which house one bedroom apartments through to penthouses. It’s currently in the final stages of construction and when complete will offer mod cons including an on-site swimming pool and winter balcony garden.

Prices for apartments start from £3.35m. For more information contact Knight Frank on 020 3597 7670.

Riverside living is big news in Vauxhall and comprises a major part of wider regeneration project. St George Wharf, its biggest riverside complex, is housed on the south bank of the Thames, next to Vauxhall Bridge, and offers views of Battersea Power Station and the Houses of Parliament.

Its pride and joy is The Tower, a new residential skyscraper tipped to open its doors at the end of this year. The 50-storey building will be one of Europe’s tallest residential towers and is pioneering luxury eco living by using a wind turbine to power all of its common lighting.

Service is a big focus at The Tower. Managed by Harrods Estates, residents will have access to a dedicated concierge service that will manage everything from helping to arrange dinner parties to acquiring tickets to the theatre or sporting events.

To find out more about St George Wharf contact Knight Frank on 020 3597 7670. For The Tower call 020 7042 7700 or visit

For those content with something slightly further afield, Kew Bridge is ideal. The City and central London can be accessed via the Thames Clipper or Overground and Underground networks and the development has many of London’s most idyllic green spaces, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens and Syon Park, right on its doorstep.

It sits on a historical site overlooking the picturesque Grade II listed bridge and benefits from being close to the shops and eateries in Chiswick and Richmond.

“Kew Bridge has been designed to suit the busy lifestyles of our customers and has an exceptional specification; from the hotel-style entrance to the custom-designed kitchens and bathrooms,” says Ian Dobie, managing director of St George West London. “The spacious interiors have been carefully designed to make the most of the river views and Kew Bridge is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after addresses in West London.”

Prices start from £654,950. For more information call 020 8995 6669 or visit