Known the world over as the place where east meets west, Greenwich in south-east London is a World Heritage Site that packs in some of the capital’s best-loved architectural and cultural highlights, welcoming throngs of tourists every year to mingle with a thriving community.
The Royal Observatory, founded in 1675, is where the Meridian line was developed to help sailors navigate. Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece, the Royal Hospital, once a grand home for retired seamen, is now home to the University of Greenwich.
The Queen’s House was designed by Inigo Jones in the then-new Palladian style for James I’s queen, Anne of Denmark. And as if that is not enough, there is still the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, the world’s last surviving tea clipper.
Estate agent Jemmah Wright from the local branch of JLL describes the town centre as full of life with a cosmopolitan feel and an abundance of shops, bars and restaurants to keep both tourists and residents happy.
“House prices over the last two years have risen by 35 per cent. We have seen lots of parents helping their children to buy their first home here.” Six miles from central London, Greenwich sits on a great loop of the Thames opposite the Isle of Dogs with views of Canary Wharf from the top of Greenwich Park. Westcombe Park and Charlton are to the east, with Blackheath to the south and Deptford to the west.
Thousands of new homes will give generations to come a chance to live near London’s famed historic maritime quarter.
Fine Georgian terraces feature in Greenwich, and there are early Victorian villas and terraces in the Ashburnham Triangle conservation area between Greenwich High Road and Greenwich South Street, with small Victorian cottages in east Greenwich close to Maze Hill station.
Over the last two years there has been a fresh burst of building, with new apartments on the Greenwich peninsula, home to the 02, the Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames, and the Blackwall Tunnel.
Knight Dragon is developing 15,000 new homes at Greenwich Peninsula. In the current phase it is selling 324 flats in No 1 and No 2 Upper Riverside including 41 limited-edition studios, two-bedroom flats and penthouses designed by Tom Dixon that will be available to move into around Christmas 2018.
Prices start at £460,000 for a one-bedroom flat, £630,000 for a two-bedroom flat and £935,000 for a three-bedroom flat. Visit www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk or call Savills on 020 7531 2500.
The first buyers moved into the Greenwich Millennium Village on the eastern side of the peninsula in 2000. Also known as GMV, this is a joint venture between Countryside and Taylor Wimpey. A total of 2,700 new homes is planned and the next phase of one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and duplexes is launching soon with prices starting at £400,000. Visit www.gmv.gb.com or call 020 8305 2712.
The Peninsula Tower contains 100 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats which share a spa and health club with the five-star Intercontinental Hotel next door. Some 80 per cent of the flats were bought off-plan and the rest will be sold once the tower is complete next month. Visit www.thepeninsulatower.com or call 020 7993 7395.
The western side of the peninsula between the river and the approach road to the Blackwall Tunnel is now being redeveloped. Enderby Wharf in Christchurch Way is a Barratt Homes development of 700 studios, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom flats and penthouses. Cook House, the latest phase, was launched on Saturday. Call 0844 811 4334.
The River Gardens is a riverside development in Banning Street. Designed by Squire and Partners, the blocks are separated by communal gardens. Prices start at £392,500 for a one-bedroom flat, £525,000 for a two-bedroom flat and £758,000 for a three-bedroom flat. Call 020 3747 6111 or visit www.therivergardens.co.uk.
Precision, a Weston Homes development of the former Telegraph Works, comprises 272 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and duplexes in five blocks of between seven and 18 storeys. One-bedroom flats start at £355,000, with two-bedroom flats at £483,000 and three-bedroom flats at £630,000. Call 020 7519 5900.
Housing association Family Mosaic has two developments in Greenwich where shared-ownership flats are launching soon — Charters Wharf in Norman Road and The Gramercy in Creek Road. Call 020 7089 1315.
Shared-ownership flats through L&Q housing association are also coming soon to both Enderby Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula. Call 0300 456 9998.
Moat housing association has 10 one- and two-bedroom shared-ownership flats at GMV, prices to be announced soon. Call 0845 359 6387. Help to Buy is also available at GMV. Visit www.gmv.gb.com or call 020 8305 2716.
Estate agent Jemmah Wright from the local JLL branch says people fall in love with Greenwich’s architecture and green spaces.
SE10 is the Greenwich postcode; it stretches to include Maze Hill and Greenwich Peninsula.
In west Greenwich the best roads are Ashburnham Place, Ashburnham Drive, Guildford Grove, Egerton Drive and Devonshire Drive where there are early and mid-Victorian houses. In east Greenwich it is Annandale Road and Humber Road where there are slightly later Victorian semi-detached and terrace houses.
Up and coming
The little two-bedroom cottages either side of Trafalgar Road in east Greenwich are still popular with first-time buyers and downsizers. However, JLL’s Jemmah Wright says that Greenwich’s neighbours Deptford and Lewisham are fast catching up.
While its roads are frequently clogged with traffic, Greenwich has good train connections. Greenwich in 10 minutes and to Cannon Street taking 15 minutes. From Maze Hill the trains take a couple minutes longer.
There are Docklands Light Railway trains straight to Canary Wharf from Greenwich and Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich. North Greenwich Tube station on the peninsula is on the Jubilee line and nearby is the Emirates Air Line cable car to Royal Victoria.
There are regular Thames Clippers river taxi services from North Greenwich and Greenwich to Canary Wharf.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is Labour controlled and Band D council tax for the 2016/2017 year is £1,296.05.
Shops and restaurants
Greenwich Market is especially busy at the weekends and chain restaurants on the busy gyratory traffic system include Bill’s, Jamie’s Italian, PizzaExpress, Peyton and Byrne and GBK.
Shops include Lush, well-known for its unusual printed lamp shades, while Sophia & Matt sells handbags made from distinctive printed coated cotton fabrics and Paul Rhodes sells lovely bread and cakes. Local sausage maker Heap’s has a shop and café in Nevada Street opposite the theatre and a new café in Creek Road.
The recently restored market is a good place to look for vintage clothing and unusual gifts and there are now lots of street food stalls.
On Royal Hill there is a pretty row of shops that includes a florist’s, a butcher’s, a cheese specialist, and a fruit and vegetable store.
The Guildford Arms in Guildford Grove is reckoned to be the best local gastropub with the advantage of a lovely garden.
Greenwich Park is the most historic of London’s eight Royal Parks. Home to The Royal Observatory, there is also a deer park, an impressive herbaceous border, The Queen’s Orchard which is open every Saturday from 1pm to 4pm from Easter to October, and The Pavilion Café.
There are also long walks along the Thames Path and a new ecology park on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Leisure and the arts
Greenwich has its own theatre and two cinemas: the Greenwich Picturehouse in the centre of town and the Odeon Imax on the peninsula.
The National Maritime Museum puts on talks and lectures and family fun days and The Royal Observatory has London’s only planetarium. The unveiling of Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Wright’s new ceiling for the great hall in The Queen’s House when it reopens in July promises to be one of London’s best art events this year.
All the state primary schools in Greenwich are judged “good” or better by Ofsted. The most sought-after primary school is Halstow in Halstow Road in Westcombe Park, which the schools watchdog rates “outstanding”. The two other “outstanding” primary schools are: Tidemill in Giffin Street in nearby Deptford, and Millennium in John Harrison Way on Greenwich Peninsula.
St Ursula’s Convent RC (girls, ages 11 to 16) in Crooks Hill is the “outstanding” comprehensive. The other two local comprehensive schools — The John Roan School (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Maze Hill and Addey & Stanhope (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in New Cross Road, Deptford — don’t score well at GCSE but are nonetheless judged to be “good”.