Why do garden squares hold their value?
1. Thurloe Square
2. Belgrave Square
3. Eaton Square
4. Cadogan Square
5. Kensington Square
6. Chester Square
7. Wellington Square
8. Lowndes Square
9. Lennox Gardens
10. Ovington Square
Garden squares are some of the capital’s most desirable addresses. They are full of elegant white stucco or red-brick properties. Many of history’s famous figures have lived in them. Think Mick Jagger, Julie Andrews and A.A. Milne. This all adds to their timeless appeal.
And later this summer, numerous squares will throw open their gates for Open Garden Squares Weekend (www.opensquares.org). It gives many of us a chance to catch a glimpse inside these hidden gems. This year the event runs from June 18 – 19. To whet your appetite, here are 10 smart squares, and princely properties for sale or to rent nearby.
One of London’s finest garden squares, Thurloe is overlooked by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Dating from 1840, it was named after John Thurloe, spymaster to Oliver Cromwell. It’s notable for having one of Britain’s thinnest houses. Close by, in Egerton Gardens, this more substantial one-bedroom flat is on the raised ground floor. It is available to rent at £750p/w.
Belgrave Square was laid out in the 1820s by Thomas Cubitt, for Robert, Earl Grosvenor, an ancestor of the current Duke of Westminster. It was used as a tank park in WWII. In another slimline property (reminiscent of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building), this house near the square sports an attractive white-stucco façade. It has three bedrooms, triple aspect rooms and can be rented for £3,350p/w.
Another of the Grosvenor family’s creations, Eaton Square is also the fictional home of Downton Abbey’s Lady Rosamund. At the east end stands St Peter’s, a church with an imposing classical portico and clock tower. It holds chamber music concerts http://www.eatonsquareconcerts.org.uk/?id=concerts) in spring and autumn. This first floor flat in Eaton Place is conveniently positioned for you to pop along. It has one bedroom, making it perfect for a central pied-a-terre in the very thick of things.
On the square: Cadogan Square, London SW1X £4m
Cadogan Square was designed by Henry Holland in the 18th century. The mulberry trees in the south garden are said to date from that time. It is one of London’s most beautiful garden squares, surrounded by imposing red brick properties. This sleek lateral flat is on the market for £4m. There are three bedrooms and access to the large communal gardens and tennis courts on your doorstep.
On the square: Kensington Square, London W8 £7m
Building started here in 1685 when Thomas Young bought 14 acres of land. The tall, stucco buildings surround the garden square, a tranquil expanse of lawn flanked by flowering shrubs and trees. This five-bedroom family home offers views over, and access to the gardens. It also has its own private outside space and terrace, perfect for sun-lovers.
Nearby: Burton Mews, London SW1W £5.95m
Chester Square has attracted many famous residents over the years. Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, Margaret Thatcher and Nigella Lawson have all lived here. The leafy garden has a central rose bed. Just around the corner in Burton Mews, this three-bedroom house enjoys its own peaceful location.
In February 1920, at 5 Welllington Square, the home of Molly and Desmond MacCarthy, the first meeting of the Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club was held. Founder members included Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It wasn’t until much later that the group moved to Bloomsbury. The square, named after the Duke of Wellington, was built in the late 1830s by Francis Edwards. It was also home to ‘Winnie The Pooh’ creator, A.A. Milne. Just a block away on the other side of The Kings Road, this bright one-bedroom apartment in Elystan Place is available to rent.
Running parallel to Sloane Street, Lowndes Square is said to have a resident ghost. Several people have claimed to see a white-haired old lady in a bath chair sitting by the kerb. However, you should be in high spirits if you are able to think of living here. There’s a three-bedroom mews for sale in nearby Harriet Walk for £4m, but you can rent a flat in the square for £2,500p/w. This penthouse apartment has three bedrooms and residents can apply for access to the gardens.
On the square: Lennox Gardens, London SW1X £895p/w
This garden square was built on the former Prince’s Cricket Club and takes its shape from that. The surrounding houses date from the 1880s and reflect the era in their gothic and baroque detailing. This one-bedroom apartment on the lower ground floor of one of the period buildings has access to the communal gardens and a courtyard of its own.