As the World Cup kicks off, take a tour of the new homes heading for Twickenham

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday, thrusting Twickenham — the place as well as the famous stadium — into the international spotlight. 
Vast crowds will be passing through the popular south-west London suburb, whose spruced-up train station and town centre facelift will benefit locals and commuters long after the rugby tournament ends on October 31.

Twickenham may lack the cachet of Richmond, a bridge-span away, but residents believe they have the best of both worlds: greenery, open space and river scenes, a useful high street, good state and private schools, trains taking just 20 minutes to reach central London, plus it is handy for Heathrow.

Despite car congestion, for many this is the ideal London location, with a rich cache of homes of all sorts and sizes dating back to Georgian times, when aristocrats built country mansions along the rural reaches of the Thames upstream. Twickenham’s Marble Hill House, the original “catalogue” model for 18th-century English villas and plantation homes in the American colonies, still stands.

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Once ensconced, families tend to stick to the area — and have a say in community matters, such as a new showpiece civic venue with a 320-seat theatre and performance space at Brewery Wharf, a rare new development of scale alongside the River Crane, which joins the Thames here. 

The civic building fronts on to a new public square and is a much-welcomed facility, having a café and bar and multi-purpose rooms for workshops, yoga classes and so on. The scheme of 82 apartments and 28 houses also has a direct underpass link to the train station.

Warehouse-style apartment blocks are a reference to the site’s brewery origins, while the architecture of the townhouses is Georgian-influenced, with portico entrances, first-floor terraces and rooftop dormers. Set in a gated mews, the houses will be complete in April next year. Prices start from £1.45 million. Call St James on 020 3002 9457.
 
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Brewery Wharf: the scheme of 82 apartments and 28 houses has a direct underpass link to the train station

A residents’ action group failed to stop a controversial development that wraps around the train station. This scheme of 115 new homes, shops and restaurants was given the green  light after a protracted planning  wrangle and is now under way. Visit www.solumregeneration.co.uk.

King Street, Twickenham’s main shopping drag, has a pleasant old quarter running down to the river, while The Green is a tree-lined triangle with 18th-century cottages. Step away from the town centre and you soon hit upon pockets of leafy seclusion, such as St Margarets, a private enclave of villas nestling in woodland. 

Fitzroy Gate is a redevelopment of a listed former convent set in seven acres of grounds butting up against the Thames. Refurbished heritage buildings are being converted into apartments, while 39 new townhouses with up to six bedrooms and gardens backing on to the river are being built in the mature parkland. It is due to launch in November. Call 020 3326 1233 for details.
 
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Thames-side treat: Fitzroy Gate will offer refurbished heritage buildings converted into apartments and new townhouses

Prettily named Strawberry Hill forms a neighbourhood on Twickenham’s southern edge. Writer Horace  Walpole’s 18th-century fanciful Gothic-style mansion is now a college and its grounds are streets of suburban houses.

Teddington, bordering Twickenham, stretches inland from the Thames to wonderful Bushy Park — one of eight Royal Parks in the capital — and has a long high street reaching down to the river. There are no dual carriageways or high-rise apartment blocks here. 

A few boutiques, art shops and cafés have cheered its humdrum centre, while some imaginative new builds are raising the architectural bar. 

Kew is another family favourite in this swathe of south-west London. Kew Bridge West has a rugby ball-shaped landscaped space at the heart of the development, which includes 15-storey Hyperion Tower, with views across the Thames to the inviolate acres of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Prices from £685,000. Call 020 8662 6000.
 
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From £685,000: Hyperion Tower at Kew Bridge West enjoys lovely views
 

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