I share lots of great information about the London property market and living in this fabulous city, and as a buying agent, I help clients discover the city in order to find the perfect home so in today’s article I’m going to share with you one of the most prestigious amenities you can have in London and that’s access to a private garden square.
You could argue that London’s garden squares are what make it truly unique to the rest of the world. While most European capitals have public squares, no other city has developed the private garden square in quite the same way. London’s garden squares were made for people to live in and enjoy. The Georgian and Victorian squares created an ordered, spacious arrangement of streets and leafy open spaces. They help foster a sense of community and provide a feeling of bucolic tranquility, while being in the midst of a vibrant capital city with transport, shops and amenities just moments away.
London has survived two world wars and the aftermath meant that the city clamoured to rebuild as quickly as possible. Thanks to the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931 which protected the more than 400 squares in the city from being built over and has allowed London to preserve this bit of magic space till today. English Heritage today says that there are over 600 garden squares in London. Many are located in the most prestigious boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, though there are others in less affluent areas of Lambeth and Hackney.
Today London’s squares are a crucial element to the fabric of the city. They can be a haven for wildlife and are a focus for communities, attractive to tourists and a great place for Londoners to find respite in the day. The private squares provide an exclusive and unique haven where only residents have keys to the gated spaces. Not surprisingly, the convenience of direct and exclusive access to green space makes properties located on garden squares highly desirable. Homes on a private square can command on average a 12 – 15% premium compared to similar homes not on a square.
Each garden square is unique, some even have tennis courts. If you’re a buyer considering a home on a private garden square, then you need to consider what is important to you.
I’m going to showcase 8 of the best and most exclusive.
Let’s kick it off with Rosemead Garden, which is perhaps the most famous. Rosemead Garden was featured in the 1992 film Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. What makes this garden square particularly unique is that many of the homes have direct access from their own back gardens or patios via a backdoor. Make sure to check out my video “Best Hollywood Movies Filmed in London” where I feature Notting Hill.
Homes along Rosemead Garden average £3.6M.
Carlton House Terrace Gardens
In terms of expensive, at the top of the pile is Carlton House Terrace Gardens in St. James’ area of Westminster, an exclusive road just a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace. The grounds go back to the 1700’s when they were part of the royal gardens of Charles II’s Palace of St. James. The homes on this incredibly pricey street costs on average £8.8M! It’s also reported to be the home of London’s most expensive home at 18 Carlton House Terrace which sold for £250M. So if you want exclusivity for your private garden square, this is it!
Eaton Square, Belgravia
The second most expensive garden square to live on is Eaton Square in Belgravia, where homes price on average at £5.8M. Eaton Square is one of London’s most prestigious addresses with former Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin both living there during their time in office or slightly after. More recently it has been rumoured that investor George Soros, advertising mogul Charles Saatchi and football manager Jose Mourinho have lived along the square.
Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge
Next up I’ll highlight Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge. This leafy and tranquil garden square in the heart of Knightsbridge is surrounded by attractive red-brick Queen Anne style residences. It offers tennis courts, manicured lawns, blossom trees and neat shrub borders. Access is strictly for residents, who also have on their doorstep luxury hotels and spas along with the world’s most expensive designer boutiques surrounding Sloane Square.
Park Crescent, Marylebone
Next up is Park Crescent. This crescent is among the most prestigious in the capital and is located at Portland Place in Marylebone.
The manicured grounds are stunning and are partially framed by a semicircle of beautiful stuccoed terraced houses designed by the architect John Nash. The original plan was to build a circular building, which would have been named Regent’s Circus, but only the bottom half was completed. Homes along the crescent average £3M. If you want to know more about Park Crescent and Marylebone, make sure to check out my video on Marylebone here.
Kensington Square, Kensington
Now if you want to live along London’s oldest square then you’ll have to move to Kensington Square where house prices average £3.16M. Founded in 1685 it is the oldest garden square that still retains its residential character. House numbers 1 to 45 are all Grade II listed buildings. Not only will you benefit from the peace and tranquillity of the lush gardens, you’ll have the wonderful shops, restaurants and amenities of High Street Kensington nearby.
Thurloe Square, South Kensington
Next up is Thurloe Square in South Kensington. This gated park is not only dog friendly but also has a children’s playground. I love it because it’s near my favourite museum, the V&A museum with its famous director Sir Henry Cole living along the square until his death in 1892. His former home is now the Kazakhstan Embassy. Homes average £3.8M but for that price you not only have the V&A museum nearby, but you are also in the heart of South Kensington with its French community, other world class museums and too many Michelin starred restaurants to count.
Portman Square Garden, Marylebone
And as my final mention is Portman Square in Marylebone which was first laid out in 1780 and re-landscaped in the early 1900’s. It is a private garden square of approximately 1 hectare (2.47 acre). It is owned by the Portman Estate and is a secluded and peaceful place to get away from it all. The park has beautiful lush lawn and winding paths with shade trees abound, and there is a children’s play area and a tennis court. What’s slightly different about Portman Square is that access is reserved solely for people who live or work on the Estate, by subscription only. But the space can be hired out for parties and corporate events.
So I hope this article has given you a glimpse into some of London’s most exclusive and special private garden squares. If you want to discover more about London, download my free London Guide where I highlight some top neighbourhoods as well as cultural centres, schools and other things to consider when moving to London.