Sweet suburbia: London’s best green spaces

    5 October 2020

    Covid has given many Londoners a predilection for property overlooking, or close to, green space. According to Greenspace Information for Greater London’s records, 47 per cent of London is green and almost 6 per cent is actually given over to ‘Parks and Gardens’ – so there’s quite a lot to choose from – but where should you focus your search?

    Taking the top four spots in the green space category were South West Boroughs Richmond upon Thames (home to Bushy Park, Hampton Court, Kew Gardens and Richmond Park) with an average house price of just under £1m and a 78 per cent green space rating, followed by Wandsworth (£791k – 75 per cent), Ealing (£723k – 72 per cent) and Merton (£645k – 72 per cent).

    Wandsworth boasts a common, as does Ealing which also encompasses picturesque Walpole Park and the grounds of Pitzhanger Manor. Parks in Merton are two a penny from Wimbledon through to Morden and Mitcham. But don’t neglect the smaller green spaces in your search: Cannon Hill Common and Mayflower Park Wetlands.

    Richmond, Wandsworth, Ealing and Merton have the highest average prices outside Prime Central London partly because they give easy access to the affluent South West but also because they give the most authentic County House in London approximation, if that’s what you are looking for. For instance, who would say no to this property, actually overlooking Richmond Park? Stunning.

    A six-bedroom detached property overlooking Richmond Park (Image: Savills)

    More affordable property exists in the south east of the city and a good bet is creative powerhouse Peckham Rye, at the heart of which is an expansive green space surrounded by attractive Victorian terraces and town houses. The average Property price here is c. £565k and it’s been a beneficiary of a population looking further out with big gains in value over the last five years. Try this two-bedroom terrace.

    Further south still is the nicely named Nonsuch park in Sutton, with well-kept gardens, open parkland and the site of a palace built by Henry VIII in the middle. Sutton boasts outstanding secondary schools and its very own lavender farm, making it a solid pick for families angling for green space and reliable schooling.

    Nonsuch Park, named by Henry VIII

    Further east there’s plenty of choice. Victoria Park and the Olympic Park are prime examples, with over 213 acres and 560 acres, respectively. This green space is combined with formidable transport links into the city centre. Hackney has been rising fast over the last few years and the average property price now stands at approximately £560k. This maisonette hits this average price and is close to Victoria Park.

    Looking North the area around Alexandra Park averages c. £465k and has views to rival better known Primrose Hill. Try this 3-bed flat.

    Primrose Hill, London

    Whilst it may be too early to extrapolate Covid fall out, talk has been of London becoming more of a doughnut, implying people will want to commute less and live a bit further out.

    There are very real advantages to directly overlooking a park. It implies there is nothing opposite, so you can park more easily – an easy factor to overlook. Like the Thames, there’s always something going on outside the window to distract you from your work-from-home desk and you can guarantee that if a buyer has a choice of two properties, the one overlooking green space will often win out.

    Downsides include potential noise from being near a road that will often run through a park or from those enjoying the park itself. Some have an unsavoury reputation which can make crossing them in the dark less than enjoyable – it’s always worth checking where public transport is available, especially if you have a family. You would expect to pay for a view and if any kind of traffic noise is a problem for you then perhaps London isn’t the place for you.

    As we look like we’re going to be stuck in a pandemic mindset for months, if not years, having direct access – preferably right across the road – to a park is going to be both a relief and a magnet for others.