Chiswick House is one of the capital’s most dazzling properties. It was completed in 1729 for Lord Burlington, who admired the work of the Italian classical architect Palladio, and the garden was designed with temples and vistas by William Kent, who is often described as the founder of the English landscape movement.
In recent years, both house and garden have undergone a £12 million restoration. This is now a tranquil place, ideal for spending an afternoon in spring admiring the camellia collection in the greenhouse, or watching a game of cricket on the green.
This has not always been the case. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Chiswick House was the ultimate party pad. According to local historian Gillian Clegg, Georgiana, 5th Duchess of Devonshire, the famous Whig hostess, lavishly entertained here, festooning the house and garden with flowers, while in 1844 her son, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, threw a party for tsar Nicholas of Russia where the guests were entertained by four giraffes brought in from a Surrey zoo for the occasion.
WHAT THERE IS TO BUY IN CHISWICK
Chiswick has some distinct neighbourhoods. There are fine Georgian mansions and smaller period houses on the river at Chiswick Mall and Strand on the Green.
Bedford Park, north of the Bath Road, is an early example of a planned garden suburb with a range of community facilities. It has one of the finest concentrations of Arts & Crafts houses in the country with many of the best designed by Richard Norman Shaw and his disciple EJ May between 1875 and 1886. Grove Park, south of the A4, has detached, semi-detached and terrace Edwardian and Twenties houses. The Glebe Estate, around Devonshire Road, has streets of two- and three-storey Victorian terraces.
The area attracts: Chiswick is primarily a family area and once settled here they do tend to stay.
Renting in Chiswick: Nik Madan, lettings director at estate agent John D Wood says that Chiswick is one of the top choices for executives from overseas working for the many international companies based in Hammersmith or along the A4 corridor.
Postcodes: W4 is the Chiswick postcode and contains the area with few blurred edges.
Best roads: Chiswick Mall and Strand on the Green, and any of the roads on the Bedford Park estate.
WHAT’S NEW IN CHISWICK
Q Developments (020 7223 1200) is creating a mixed-use scheme on the corner of Chiswick High Road and Netheravon Road. Building in a traditional Edwardian style, there will be two four-bedroom houses and a total of seven two- and three-bedroom flats for completion in spring next year.
All the two-bedroom flats have been sold off-plan; prices for a three-bedroom duplex start at £995,000 and the houses start at £1.5 million.
Burlington Green (0844 809 2015) close to Chiswick Park Tube station is a development of 56 one- and two-bedroom flats by One Housing Group. Prices of the remaining open market two-bedroom flats in the development start at £394,950. There are only two shared-ownership two-bedroom flats left, with prices for these starting at £444,950 with a minimum share of 30 per cent.
Up and coming: Chiswick Village is a little-known development of Thirties apartments tucked away close to Strand on the Green, where one-bedroom flats sell for around £250,000, and two-bedroom flats from £285,000.
GETTING AN EDUCATION
Chiswick has both state primary schools and private prep schools — the following primary schools are judged “good” or “outstanding” by the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted: Belmont in Belmont Road; St Mary’s RC in Duke Road; William Hogarth, also in Duke Road; Grove Park in Nightingale Close; Cavendish in Edensor Road; Strand on the Green in Thames Road, and St Peter’s in St Peter’s Road.
The private prep schools are: Heathfield House (co-ed ages four to 11) in Turnham Green Church Hall; Orchard House (co-ed ages three to 11) in Newton Grove; Chiswick and Bedford Park in Priory Avenue (boys ages three to seven, girls ages three to 11); the Falcon School for Boys (ages three to seven) in Barnaby Gardens — boys ages seven to 13 have a school in Richmond, the girls’ school (ages three to 11) is in Gunnersbury Lane. Chiswick School in Burlington Lane is the local comprehensive school, and is judged “good” by Ofsted.
The West London Free School — promoted by writer Toby Young — opened in nearby Hammersmith last year. It moves to a new building next year, and recently got the go-ahead to open a primary school on its existing site.
The International School (ages three to 18) in Gunnersbury Avenue is a private international school where pupils take the International Baccalaureate.
The Arts Educational School (ages 11 to 18) in Bath Road specialises in the performing arts and also offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses. There are also top-performing private schools in Hammersmith and Barnes.
SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS
Shopping is one of Chiswick’s many pleasant pastimes, with an impressive choice of chains and independent stores. It is also a foodie haven, with plenty of good delis and top restaurants. Starting at the Hammersmith end of the High Road, look out for Upsy Daisy Bakery for afternoon tea; women’s boutique Iris, and Outsider Tart, a café specialising in American-style tarts and pies.
Taking a turn down Devonshire Road, Abode has an unusual selection of interior accessories and gifts.
On the opposite side of the road, Turnham Green Terrace has famous local butcher Macken Bros; chocolate shop Theobroma; deli Mortimer & Bennett; Covent Garden Fishmongers, and greengrocer Andreas, as well as some of London’s smartest charity shops. On Chiswick High Road there are branches of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, high street stores and chain restaurants.
The two best local restaurants are La Trompette in Devonshire Road and Michael Nadra in Elliott Road. There are also shops in Grove Park along Fauconberg Road, including the Grove Park Deli and the Copper Cow, a café, bar and restaurant.
* MORE ON THE BOROUGH OF HOUNSLOW:
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There are riverside walks, and the area is bookended by two parks — Ravenscourt Park and Gunnersbury Park. Kew Gardens is across Kew Bridge.
LEISURE AND THE ARTS
The Tabard Theatre is the local fringe theatre in the Tabard pub in Bath Road. The nearest multiplex cinema is Cineworld in Hammersmith. The nearest council-owned swimming pool is the New Chiswick Pool in Edensor Road. There are also swimming pools in three private gyms — the Hogarth Health Club in Adelaide Avenue, Virgin Active in Chiswick Park and the Riverside Health and Racquets Club on Duke’s Meadow, also run by Virgin Active, which has indoor and outdoor pools.
Travelling and commuting: Gunnersbury, Chiswick Park, Turnham Green and Stamford Brook are all on the District line; Turnham Green is also on the Piccadilly line. There are Overground trains from Kew Bridge and Chiswick. All stations are in Zone 3 (the annual travel card to Zone 1 is £1,368), except for Turnham Green and Stamford Brook which are in Zone 1 (annual travel card £1,168).
Council: most of Chiswick is in Hounslow (Labour-controlled) with Band D council tax of £1,397.37. However, Bedford Park is in Ealing (Labour-controlled) where Band D council tax for the 2012/2013 year is £1,366.65.
Buying in Chiswick
One bedroom flat £295,676
Two bedroom flat £473,516
Two bedroom house £546,123
Three bedroom house £784,761
Four bedroom house £1,203,273
Renting in Chiswick
One bedroom flat £300 to £450 a week
Two bedroom flat £450 to £700 a week
Two bedroom house £450 to £900 a week
Three bedroom house £600 to £1,100 a week
Four bedroom house £1,100 to £2,500 a week
Five bedroom plus house £1,500 to £3,250 a week
Source: John D Wood
Photographs: Graham Hussey Reuse content