SW1. Westminster. London Area Property Guide.
Home of the Modern Aristocrat, Royalty and the PM
St James’ is an area known for it’s picture postcard Park (Prime Minister David Cameron goes jogging here), it’s famous residents – and I mean really famous – the Queen and the Prime Minister live on opposite sides of St James’ Park.
Aristocrats used to live here, most of their old homes are now private members clubs (the RAC being the most famous), office conversions or hotels. Yet there is a community in St James, mostly made up of single men! Businessmen from the local offices, lawyers and politicians like the sedateness of the area and the proximity to work. They often have larger family homes in the suburbs or home counties, buying or renting pied-a-terres they use in the weekdays.
Home of the Queen
St James’ is bounded by Piccadilly to the North, Birdcage walk (bottom edge of St James Park) to the South, Grosvenor Place to the West and the River Thames to the West. Most of the area East of St James Park is covered by land belonging to Buckingham Palace, or the public space of Green Park.
East of Trafalgar Square, or the other side of where the Prime Minister lives at 10 Downing Street, is commonly referred to as Whitehall – there are just a tiny handful of apartments here amongst Government buildings and the Liberal club (home of the political Liberal Party)
[Luxury] Apartment Living
St James’ square and the roads branching off it towards lower Regent Street and St James’ street contain the majority of apartments in the area to buy or rent. They’re almost always 1st floor and above. Many starting above offices on the 3rd or 4th levels. The advantage of these homes are their extremely quiet aspect, shielded from the busier roads and traffic. Grand Apartments, worthy of Aristrocrats, can be found for equally grand sums, on the Square or Pall Mall. There is the odd house (try Ormond Yard), yet it’s mostly about lateral living here.
Cheaper homes exist to the East of Haymarket. Ex council flats and private properties merge in sixties blocks around Panton and Whitcomb street, nestled amongst theatres, cinemas and restaurants – this really is West End living up close and personal.
Life in the Circus
Can you really live in Piccadilly Circus? Yes you can – and we did! For 5 years we owned an apartment looking over Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Sqaure. It’s not for the faint hearted – and triple glazing was a must to keep the noise out – aswell as blackout blinds to keep all those lights out! It does go to show – in London you really can live anywhere.
For those who wish to rent, most of the apartments mentioned above are available in equal numbers to buy or rent. You’ll also find serviced apartments and shorter rental contracts available here as many are using these flats instead of hotels. Foreign workers moving to London often rent here for a few months before finding their home in a more typically residential neighbourhood. Prices attract a premium for shorter rents, yet a one bed on a typical one year contract is very competitive for central London.
+ Great Proximity to everything in the West End
+ Quiet at night and weekends
+ History everywhere you look!
+ Good quality apartments in and around St James Square
+ Convenient supermarkets (Tesco on Regent St, M&S at Green Park)
– Very noisy and dirty East of lower Regent Street
– Alot of evening traffic at weekends, with west end partiers looking for free parking
– No real community
– Pubs and restaurants closed or quiet on the weekend
Fine English Food in a traditional setting (great for business or pleasure) Rowleys (113 Jermyn Street, SW1Y. 020 7930 2707)
Drink Champagne Cocktails at The Avenue (9 St. James Street, SW1A. 0207 7321 2111)
We stock up on wine for the weekend & enjoy the authenticity of Berry Bros (3 St. James’s Street, SW1A.
0800 280 2440)
Shop at the Queens official grocer: Fortnum & Mason (181 Piccadilly, W1J 9EH. 020 7734 8040)
Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria)
Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly, Bakerloo)
St James Park (Circle, District)
None, but Charing Cross, Waterloo and Victoria are 5mins on via the Tube
Numerous bus stops on Lower Regent St and Piccadilly