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Who knows London really well?(64 Posts)
If you were going to buy a one bed flat which would you choose out of these areas?
They are all really small - 350 feet to 450 feet. And really close to Central London
1. Snowsfield in Borough behind the Shard
2. Bloomsbury, the smallest
3. Kennington but about 5 minutes walk from the Bridge so not really into South London, the largest
4. Westminster, as small as Bloomsbury
5. Swiss Cottage, about 15 minutes walk from Regents Park
They are all madly expensive. Selling a 3 bed in Bucks to move in and downsize for middle age.
With all of them it very much depends where you are and in what sort of building, obviously. But location a much bigger deal than size (unless completely unliveable of course)!
Bloomsbury is lovely, especially since they renovated the Brunswick, but can be very studenty - could have noisy neighbour problems unless you are in one of the nicer mansion blocks. Kings X up and coming so this whole area is improving though.
I don't like Kennington much as I lived there many years ago and hated the greyness of it all beyond the Georgian enclaves. Swiss Cott - not all that central and I don't like the Finchley Road. Nice houses though. I do like Borough, but I don't know Snowsfield/Shard area.
We are thinking of doing something v similar in a few years. If it was me I'd go for Westminster, but that's because as I've got older I've got even more staid and boring.
I'd love to live in Bloomsbury. It's so central and great for restaurants, museums, theatres and shops.I love the vibe round there. And if you regret it later, you'd never have a problem renting or selling.
Then again downsizing is tough so you may want to ease yourself in by going for somewhere bigger. Swiss Cottage is also lovely, you've got Hampstead on your doorstep there and a bit quieter.
I don't know the areas you mention too well, hopefully someone will be along soon to help with that.
Where do you need to get to for work though? Do you really only want a one bed (after all that space of a 3 bedder!)? I'm in London and sometimes it can get a bit chaotic that you need the sanctuary of your home to get over it. We used to live to zone 2 in a 1.5 bed flat with no outside space and it really wore me down after a while, there just.wasn't.enough.room!
we are now in a 2 bed terrace in zone 3 so as you can see I don't need alot of space but you need room to relax.
[gets of soap box ]
I know london well - can you be more specific area wise regarding Kennington?
Probably Swiss Cottage .
Then Borough but it is very trendy and work orientated , I would look at the proximity to nice park, proper show (not tourist or commuter lunch orientated) useful transport, cinema in waking distance, do you need parking?
I would choose Clapham or Brixton for excellent transport, good parks and shops and restaurants , cinema, and more space for your money. Do you really want to be so squashed?
get something with enough outside space for small table and chai
swiss cottage great as belsize park/ hampstead/regents park /Camden including canal all easy walking.
Finchley road busy but 02 centre handy for chain restos and cinema
swiss cottage very safe feeling lots of residential
What do you like doing? Is your priority theatres, museums etc? Are green spaces close by important to you? Would you like to be near the river? Do you want to be close to good shops/pubs/restaurants?
I'd probably go for Kennington, as it's so close to the South Bank and the river and very easy to walk into the West End... but the green spaces are not great.
Yes, Bloomsbury would have got my vote if size wasn't an issue. YY to the problems of space in London. Small is not beautiful, it's wearisome. Always bumping your knee on furniture and spending all your money on storage at Muji.
Very central but has a community feel - lots of other middle aged people around so lots of company .
Bloomsbury. Used to work there and love the area.
I'd live in Bloomsbury - if you're going to downsize to live somewhere small in central London you might as well live somewhere small in central London!
I'd go for either Borough (very good for Covent Garden, Soho, South Bank and Borough Market etc, good transport links) or Bloomsbury (museums, bookshops, cinemas, very central).
But it depends what kind of thing you want to do. The above are good for urban stuff, but if your priority is green spaces then Swiss Cottage might be better as you have Regent's Park, Hampstead, Parliament Hill etc close by. Swiss Cottage itself isn't very nice though, IMO.
My number one choice would be Westminster - PRIME residential, LOW council tax - you'll never have a problem letting it or re-selling if you should wish to do so. Bloomsbury is a great area (I live close by) but DEAD at the weekend or swarming with tourists in the summer - if you like that, fine, might drive you a bit potty. But the Brunswick is very handy, great shops and restaurants and a lovely Waitrose.
My next choice would be the Borough flat. Only because I prefer the other areas, and Southwark council tax is a bit higher than Westminster and Camden (when I last looked). On paper, this could be the best investment. It's no coincidence that the Duke of Westminster has sold up a lot of his prime Mayfair properties to buy in Borough and its environs because that area is set to boom. Personally I don't love that area. Swiss Cottage is a bit yuk if you ask me, I have no idea why people pay through the nose to live there, (Finchley Rd is grim if you ask me) but as Regent's Park is wonderful being near it is a plus - but you would be near it in Bloomsbury anyway. Kennington is ok, but but not as great as the other areas. Having lived in all of the areas you mention (bar Borough), that is my opinion but it's a personal one - they're all great, convenient and safe. Hope you find the place you want OP.
We're all going to give you different answers. I would go for Bloomsbury but that's just because I'm sentimental about that area, worked there for years and love books and publishing! But I see that's the smallest flat and although I also plan to move into central London when the dc have left home, I'm not sure I want to be cooped up in a tiny place.
So after that I'd go for Kennington, which I see is the largest flat. It is close to Vauxhall where prices are about to explode due to the American Embassy moving in and all the redevelopment along the river. But, also, Kennington is great and not solely populated by the uber wealthy and foreign nationals.
Can you say where in Westminster? I lived there for 3 years, very close to St James' Park tube. It was wonderfully central, St James' Park is a gem, and the river is close. Pimlico has some nice areas and the development happening along Victoria St is improving things. Plus I always loved hearing Big Ben while lying in bed.
Cons include the tourists but that never bothered me. What it does lack is a community feeling, but that might not be so important to you.
Re resale and letting, we owned it and sold it for a significant amount more than expected within 2 days of listing.
If not Westminster I would probably plump for Bloomsbury or Swiss Cottage.
I live in Westminster and love it. I would also think about Swiss Cottage as really handy for parks and loveliness but a bit more space would be good so a nice option if Wesminster/Bloomsbury seem too small. You'd basically get access to a lot of the same stuff but just a bus ride away rather than a skip away. Bloomsbury same as Westminster really - fab place to live but could you deal with a really small flat?
What area does 'Westminster' actually cover? In my head it's basically just the Houses of Parliament . Interesting to see on here that it includes St James' Park.
What brilliant answers and food for thought you've all given me.
To answer some questions, yes I think it will be really hard to downsize so much, we don't just have 3 bedrooms we also have 2 offices, 3 reception rooms, a massive shed and a garage. We're thinking about this as a short term move 5-10 years and I appreciate what you all say about the areas and how they hold their value.
We're interested in having some fun, going out a lot to theatres etc. We can easily move jobs to Central London, we have a lot of interests and hobbies we can easily do from there.
Our families are still out here and we would still keep the garage for storage plus we own a field with a shed on it that we can store tools etc rather than getting rid of everything. We would have a lot of stuff to get rid of and I do think it would be tough to live somewhere so small.
I would love a terrace and there's a few flats I've seen that have that or a balcony.
The flat in kennington is in the Wellington Mills development, not incredibly attractive but not awful looking.
I'm also really glad that you've said how safe these areas are, I've walked round them all and they certainly feel safe as their so central.
They are all crazy expensive places to live, for £350-£400k you get if you're lucky a 10ft by 8ft bedroom, living room same size, teeny kitchen and shower room
The one in Westminster I was looking at is in Rochester Row in a mansion block
wow! I know someone who lives VERY central and loves it. Everything walkable, including the commute to work (no tube!) theatres, cinemas, food etc etc. Always busy, always safe - just noisy!
re: storage: don't keep anything with fabric unless in a house or a proper storage unit. The cost of that would be crazy for more than a year. keep the tools and so on for a future garden but get rid of everything else.
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