As spring begins to unfurl, we take a look at some of London’s loveliest leafy secrets. Garden squares are among the most desirable addresses in the capital. Homes to lords, ladies, politicians and celebrities over the years, the capital’s squares retain their enormous appeal. They were also the fictional homes of “M” played by Dame Judi Dench in Skyfall and Lady Rosamund from Downton Abbey. The white stucco town houses or red-brick buildings are adorned with pillars, parapets and balconies. Here is our pick of the best homes for sale or to rent in Belgravia, Kensington & Chelsea.
1. Cadogan Square, London SW1X
Cadogan Square starred in the classic Bond movie Skyfall in 2012. Number 82 was the fictional home of Dame Judi Dench, who played “M” in this classic Daniel Craig blockbuster. Wannabe Bonds can live in this beautiful London square with its communal gardens, immaculately kept lawns and tennis courts. This is one of London’s best kept squares. Surrounding the gardens and built between 1877 and 1888, the tall red-brick mansions here display a distinctly Flemish influence. Henry & James has a magnificent, seven-bedroom family house for sale in nearby Cadogan Gardens, for sale at £13.25m. For more details, visit www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=5540CE2105307
2. Eaton Square, London SW1W
The six formal gardens that make up Eaton Square were laid out by master builder Thomas Cubitt in 1826. Flower beds punctuate the lawns and plane trees provide shade. Residents of the houses around the square are eligible key-holders and can enjoy this leafy enclave at the heart of London. Eaton Square retains its enormous cachet. Well, if it was good enough for the fictional Lady Rosamund in Downton Abbey… The white stucco town houses with their attractive balconies are set nearby Chelsea’s King’s Road. Henry & James has a lateral flat for sale at £2.675m. For more details, visit www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=58A5B6539BFA4
3. Lennox Gardens, London SW1X
This oval-shaped oasis replaced Prince’s Cricket Club – which was named after its builders, the brothers Prince. They established an exclusive gentlemen’s club, where noble members could indulge in tennis and ice skating as well as cricket. The elegant houses around this open space are brick, built tall with gothic and baroque detailing, and date from the 1880s. Flats start at about £900,000. Henry & James have a two-bedroom flat to rent here for £1,495 a week. For more details, visit www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=51E54AB2048E7
4. Chester Square, London SW1W
Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull had a home in Chester Square in the Swinging Sixties. It has also been home to Julie Andrews, Margaret Thatcher and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Baroness Thatcher’s grand stucco-fronted residence came on the market last year for £30m. The Georgian townhouse still has its steel-lined bomb proof door. Along with its neighbours, Belgrave and Eaton, this square is part of the Grosvenor Estate, and was named after the local city of the family’s ancestral home. It is considered to be the most attractive of the trio. The gardens in the centre are Grade-II Listed and open to residents.
5. Lowndes Square, London SW1X
Lowndes Square is a mix of gracious white stucco townhouses and more modern mansion blocks. Its location makes it standout among the other London squares. Lowndes Square is minutes from Harvey Nicholls, Harrods, and the village feel of Motcomb Street in Belgravia is a short walk away. Residents can relax in the communal gardens with its mature plants and plane trees. Henry & James has an attractive three-bedroom duplex apartment overlooking the square to rent at £2,500 a week. For more details, visit www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=58A48F2CDDE67
6. Hans Place, London SW1X
This pretty oval garden square is surrounded by red brick town houses of the style known as “Pont Street Dutch”. The rail-fenced garden is screened by a privet hedge. An inner oval of mature trees surrounds a lawn dotted with flowering trees and shrubs. Jane Austen was said to have been very fond of the garden – her brother Henry lived at No 23, “surrounded by fields”, and the author stayed with him in 1814 and 1815. Hans Place is surrounded by many good schools in the area from Hill House to the Knightsbridge School. Henry & James has a split-level flat overlooking the communal gardens to rent for £3,800 a week. For more details, visit www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=55DB4C3584790
- The gates of many of the city’s hidden oases are thrown open to the public on one weekend every year. This year it runs from June 17th – 18th. For more information, visit opensquares.org.