One of the quirks of London’s geography is that Hampstead Garden Suburb, one of the country’s best examples of successful town planning, is not in Hampstead — it’s in Golders Green.
The suburb grew out of a campaign to save part of Hampstead Heath from development and was founded in 1907 by the east London philanthropist Dame Henrietta Barnett, who had a holiday cottage near the Spaniards Inn at Hampstead. Her aim was to create homes for all classes and a healthy and beautiful place to live.
Architect and planner Sir Raymond Unwin, who had already worked on the first garden city in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, was hired and the most fashionable architect of the day, Sir Edwin Lutyens, was brought in to design some of the houses and most of the public buildings. The suburb remains a beautiful and unique place to live, even if Dame Henrietta’s aim of creating homes for all the classes has long disappeared.
There are roads of big, detached houses in styles from Queen Anne and Arts & Crafts to Art Deco and rustic cottages. The overall impression is leafy, with manicured hedges and grass verges and an impressive central square with two churches and a high-achieving girls’ grammar school named after Dame Henrietta herself.
The shining star of Golders Green is Hampstead Garden Suburb, where the most expensive houses are in the “Billionaires Rows” — The Bishops Avenue, Winnington Road and Ingram Avenue. Homes here have either been altered beyond recognition or knocked down and rebuilt to suit the taste of Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern potentates.
Elsewhere in Golders Green are roads of Twenties and Thirties detached houses and semis. The Childs Hill area has a few streets of Victorian terrace houses, while Ossulton Way, in the Hampstead Garden Suburb extension between the North Circular road and Falloden Way, boasts a fine enclave of Art Deco houses.
Estate agent Frank Townsend from Savills says most buyers in the garden suburb are upsizing to a house they intend living in for the long-term — or at least until their children leave for university.
The Beaumont on the corner of Finchley Road and Helenslea Avenue is a development of 24 apartments with two, three or four bedrooms. Prices start at £1.25 million. Off-plan sales are launching soon and the scheme is expected to be completed by the summer.
For information, visit www.thebeaumontNW11.com or call Glentree Estates on 020 8731 9500.
Savills rental manager Robert Lerner says Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb are popular with families who want to rent close to local state schools and the private schools in Hampstead and Highgate.
Many of his landlords and tenants are “accidental”, including some owners who have not been able to sell, and others who are temporarily in rented accommodation while they do up their houses as an alternative to selling.
Golders Green is a family area where buyers put down roots.
NW11 is the Golders Green postcode and along with N2, also covers Hampstead Garden Suburb.
The most expensive roads are “Billionaires Rows” — The Bishops Avenue and Winnington Road in N2 and Ingram Avenue in NW11.
However, some feel the more traditional local properties have more class, in roads such as Holne Chase, Neville Drive and Norrice Lea, along with the Sir Edwin Lutyens-designed houses in South and North Squares. Also in this category are the houses in Hampstead Way, and those in Wildwood Road overlooking the Heath extension.
Up and coming
Estate agent Frank Townsend of Savills recommends Finchley Road south of Golders Green. Previously tatty, it is being transformed by new blocks of flats.
Close to the North Circular road, Golders Green is on the Edgware branch of the Northern line. The bus station is next to the Tube station, with National Express coaches in and out of London.
This Zone 3 spot is well-served by buses, with the No 82 to Victoria, the No 13 to Aldwych via Oxford Circus and the No 268 to Finchley Road via Hampstead.
Brent Cross shoppers catch the No 102 or No 210. Annual travelcard — £1,520.
Barnet council is Tory controlled and Band D council tax for the 2015/2016 year is £1,397.07.
Shops and restaurants
Golders Green has a busy town centre around the Underground station that stretches out along Golders Green Road, with more shops in the Temple Fortune area in Finchley Road and along Falloden Way.
There’s a large Sainsbury’s in Golders Green, and busy Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee branches. Traditional local Jewish bakeries include Carmelli, famous for its bagels. Golders Green has a growing Korean community and, after New Malden, this is one of the best places in London to eat Korean food.
Temple Fortune has a smarter feel. There is an M&S Simply Food and a large branch of Waitrose. Moyses Stevens, the Knightsbridge florist, has a garden centre here and runs family fun days. There are women’s designer boutiques Paulie and Larizia, both of which can also be found in St John’s Wood High Street.
Nu Nosh is a coffee shop, and Burger Bar claims to sell the best kosher burgers in London. Delisserie, part of a five-strong chain, describes itself as a New York deli and grill, and Daniels is another traditional Jewish bakery.
Joseph’s Bookstore is a charming old-fashioned independent bookshop with a café attached. Toulous is a popular bar and grill overlooking the Mutton Brook off Falloden Way.
Golders Hill Park is the manicured part of Hampstead Heath, looked after by the City of London Corporation. It has a walled garden with flower displays in summer, a café, bandstand, tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a small zoo and butterfly house. Jake and Dinos Chapman’s steel dinosaur sculptures, titled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, arrived in 2014.
The Hampstead Heath Extension links the garden suburb to the rest of the Heath and offers miles of country walks in the middle of the city.
Big Wood and Little Wood are two areas of ancient woodland preserved during the building of the garden suburb. The Childs Hill area has Childs Hill Park and Basing Hill Park.
Leisure and the arts
The Garden Suburb Theatre is an amateur dramatic company that performs during the summer at the open-air theatre in Little Oak Wood. This year they will put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
There are cinemas at Brent Cross, Swiss Cottage and East Finchley. Hampstead Golf Club has a nine-hole course in Winnington Road.
LA Fitness has a swimming pool at its gym in Golders Green Road. The nearest council-owned pool is at the Finchley Lido Leisure Centre in the Great North Leisure Park off the North Circular road. It has indoor and outdoor pools.
Two Jewish state primary schools — the Independent Jewish Day School Academy in Green Lane, Hendon, and Menorah Primary School in The Drive, NW11 — are judged “outstanding” by the Ofsted education watchdog. Hampstead Garden Suburb has the Garden Suburb Infant and Junior Schools in Childs Way judged “good” Golders Green’s other state primary schools are judged “good”.
There are two nearby comprehensive schools — Hendon School (co-ed, ages 12 to 18) in Golders Rise, which is judged “outstanding”, and Whitefield School (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Claremont Road, Cricklewood.
The Henrietta Barnett School, (ages 11 to 18) in Central Square,a high-achieving girls’ grammar that is frequently near the top of the state school league tables.
Golders Hill School (co-ed, ages two to seven) in Finchley Road is a private infants school. The local private preparatory school is Hendon Prep (ages two to 13) in Tenterden Grove.
Local private Jewish schools are: Talmud Torah Tiferes Shlomoh (boys, ages three to 15) in Elmcroft Crescent; Beth Jacob Grammar School (girls, ages 11 to 17) in Stratford Road, Hendon, and Nancy Reuben (co-ed, ages three to 11) in Finchley Lane, Hendon.
The King Alfred School (co-ed, ages five to 18) in North End Road, the local private all-through school, has no uniform.