Spotlight on Twickenham

Property expert Anthea Masey discovers that the home of English rugby also scores well with the local community
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The River Thames at Twickenham
Twickenham is perfect for walks by the Thames

A town that has upped its game

When the Rugby Football Union bought a humble cabbage field 10 miles south-west of central London for £5,500 in 1907, it probably did not realise that its choice of location for a stadium would one day become a world-famous mecca for rugby fans. Now, with Twickenham set to host the rugby world cup in 2015, the suburban town’s status as the home of the game remains assured.

But Twickenham is more than rugby and for the generation that grew up in London during the Sixties, it evokes fond memories of watching the likes of the Who, the Yardbirds or the Rolling Stones playing on Eel Pie Island, the charmingly ramshackle Thameside island tucked away behind Twickenham’s shopping centre.

And more recently, the reopening, after a £9 million restoration, of Horace Walpole’s gothic castle, Strawberry Hill, is a reminder of Twickenham’ s historic links with 18th century literary London, when the likes of Pope and Horace Walpole and his friends built their country retreats here.

Twickenham occupies a large bend in the River Thames opposite the Old Deer Park, Richmond and Ham, with riverside walks from Richmond Bridge to Strawberry Hill. Here on the Twickenham — or Middlesex — side of the river there is one of the capital’s finest surviving 18th century mansions, Marble Hill House, now owned by English Heritage, but originally built by Henrietta Howard, George II’s mistress.

Houses and flats for sale in Twickenham
Houses and flats to rent in Twickenham
Kilmorey Gardens, Twickenham
Suburban streets such as Kilmorey Gardens have family appeal
Properties: these range from large detached Victorian houses in the St Margarets Trust grounds close to Twickenham Bridge; to imposing Victorian gothic houses in Riverdale Gardens; to tall semi-detached Victorian villas in Cambridge Park; to red brick Edwardian houses in Strawberry Hill to Twenties and Thirties semi-detached houses; to two- and three-bedroom Victorian cottages around Twickenham town centre and Twickenham Green.

Best roads: the St Margarets Trust grounds roads: St Peters Road, Ranelagh Road, St George’s Road and St Margaret’s Drive, with prices this year of between £1.23 million and £2.3 million. Owners in the trust grounds share large and secret communal gardens. Other desirable roads are Cambridge Park; Cole Park Road; Stratford Road; and Lebanon Road, an enclave of semi-detached Victorian houses close to Orleans Park, which have recently sold for around £1.4 million. In Strawberry Hill, the best roads are Waldegrave Gardens, where houses this year have sold for £1.2 million, and Strawberry Hill Road.

The area attracts: many people move to Twickenham because it is more affordable than Richmond. Holly Wilson at estate agents Chase Buchanan says people start by renting, then buy a small two-bedroom house, and then a larger house. Matthew Abernethy at estate agents Savills, who sells many of the more expensive houses in Twickenham, agrees there is a lot of local movement, but says families looking for more space are moving from more densely populated areas such as Wandsworth.

Staying power: there are good schools nearby, both state and private, so families once settled tend to stay; if they do move, they go to places such as Cobham and Esher.
Marble Hill House, Twickenham
Marble Hill House was built by Henrietta Howard, George II's mistress
Postcode: with the exception of the area around Twickenham Green, which is TW2, all of Twickenham, including St Margarets and Strawberry Hill, is in TW1.

Up and coming: Park House Gardens, on the south side of Twickenham Bridge, is an enclave of semi-detached art deco houses. Prices over the last two years have ranged between £600,000 and £750,000. Shaftesbury Way is a development of well-designed 1960s townhouses close to Waldegrave school, the sought after girls’ comprehensive, where prices this year have ranged between £492,000 and £560,000. Fieldend is a cul-de-sac of 51 1960s Span houses in Strawberry Hill which is now a conservation area.

What’s new: Solum Regeneration, a joint venture between Kier and Network Rail, has applied for planning permission to redevelop Twickenham station with a new public square and surrounding shops and three new blocks with 165 flats.

Schools: Twickenham parents are strong supporters of their local state primary schools which are mostly judged by government education watchdog Ofsted to be at least “good”. The two comprehensive schools take pupils from age 11 to 16 only and both get above average results at GCSE. Orleans Park, mixed, is judged “good”; Waldegrave Girls is “outstanding”. Newland House is a prep school which takes girls from age four to 11 and boys up to age 13; The Mall takes boys from age five to 13. St Catherine’s School is a private catholic girls’ school from age three to 18; and Radnor House is a new mixed private school opening in September 2011 which will take boys and girls from age seven to 18. Richmond College is a large sixth form college on Chertsey Road in Twickenham.

Shops and restaurants: for such an affluent area, Twickenham town centre is a big disappointment. There is Waitrose, M&S Simply Food, a fishmonger’s and a number of high-street chains, but overall, there is a lack of excitement. The best shopping street is picturesque Church Street where there are boutiques and gift shops. There are local shops as you enter Twickenham over Richmond Bridge where there is a branch of Oliver Bonas; a bakery, La Boulangerie; and a toy shop.
Coffee shops and independent retailers on St Margarets Road, Twickenham
Coffee shops and independent retailers on St Margarets Road
Around St Margaret’s station there are delis and cafes, a cheese shop and a butcher. Look out for Mrs Moon, a shop that has tapped into the zeitgeist for everything homemade with up-market yarns and knitting classes. It is where Ashes to Ashes actress Keeley Hawes, who lives locally with husband, Matthew Macfadyen, learned to knit. Two of local chef John McClements's chain of restaurants are close to Twickenham station: The Grill serves mainly steaks and Ma Cuisine is a French bistro. Close to Richmond Bridge, A Cena is a popular Italian restaurant, and Brula is popular with St Margarets’ residents.
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Leisure and arts: There are two nearby council-owned pools: Teddington Pools in Vicarage Road and Pools on the Park in the Old Deer Park on the Richmond side of the river. Respected amateur dramatic society, the Richmond Shakespeare Society is based at the Mary Wallace Theatre near the river in Twickenham.

In nearby Richmond, there is the Richmond Theatre and the Orange Tree, a leading fringe theatre. The nearest cinema is the Odeon Richmond. The Twickenham Museum is found opposite Eel Pie Island. The World Rugby Museum is based at Twickenham stadium.

Transport: Twickenham is close to major roads A3, M3 and M4 and is served by three mainline stations to Waterloo: Strawberry Hill (38 minutes) and Twickenham (26 minutes)(zone 5 annual travelcard to zone 1 £1,880 from the new year) and St Margaret’s (32 minutes)(zone 4 annual travelcard to zone 1 £1,576 from the new year).

Council: Twickenham is in Richmond-upon-Thames (Conservative controlled) and Band D council tax for 2010/2011 is £1,597.21.


(Average prices)
One-bedroom flat £236,000
Two-bedroom flat £317,000
Two-bedroom house £390,000
Three-bedroom house £580,000
Four-bedroom house £831,000
Source: Hometrack


One-bedroom flat: £750 to £975 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,000 to £1,950 a month
Two-bedroom house: £1,400 to £2,250 a month
Three-bed house: £1,850 to £3,800 a month
Source: Pedder Wates

Houses and flats for sale in Twickenham
Houses and flats to rent in Twickenham

Photographs: Barry Phillips

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