Like Highgate in north London, south-of-the-river Dulwich is a real village — not merely an estate agent's invention — within sight of the capital's major landmarks.
It has a duck pond and cottages, quaint finger-post road signs, John Soane's famous art gallery, a golf course, renowned schools with large playing fields, and even a working toll road.
The area gains its character from the charitable foundation set up by actor Edward Alleyn, Shakespeare's contemporary, who left his 1,500-acre estate as an endowment for a school.
Dulwich College's control prevented Victorian railway developers slicing through the village and it still keeps a rein on the local market and individual house alterations, as many homes are held on long leases.
Busy Thurlow Park Road marks the true Dulwich frontier with a rare new scheme of eight three-bedroom duplexes and a four-bedroom penthouse, called 99 Thurlow Park Road, priced from £750,000.
You get a bit more for your money in this spot at the edge of Zone 2, yet it's a short walk to the village, West Dulwich station and lovely Belair Park. These new homes have up to 1,356sq ft of space, a terrace or courtyard, and there is a communal garden. Call 0344 800 1635.