Tyburnia is back in the swing of it
A lost neighbourhood which was once a gruesome site for public executions is becoming a top London address. "Tyburnia", named after the river that used to flow through the Marble Arch area, was the place of the Tyburn tree gallows, where mass hangings took place in the Middle Ages — creating a daily spectacle for Londoners.
Sandwiched between Bayswater and Marylebone, the district includes the Connaught Square conservation area, where Tony Blair lives, and Portman Village — a 110-acre enclave being given a makeover by its aristocratic landlord, Portman Estate.
Seymour Place is the hub of this revitalised neighbourhood, where tasteful new streetscaping has enabled alfresco dining amid the fashion boutiques and art galleries. Redevelopment of buildings at 62-64 Seymour Street has created 10 modern apartments priced from £1.7 million, plus offices and retail space for designer stores. Contact CBRE on 020 7182 2477. Tyburnia is the cheapest West End district, the only one where values are less than £1,000 per square foot, according to estate agent Wetherell.
New homes - and Sadler's Wells in your village hall
Few London districts have the authentic village-like charm of the conservation area surrounding Amwell Street, EC1. Once the heart of now-defunct Finsbury borough, by the Nineties the area lost much of its identity, eclipsed by regeneration in King's Cross and Clerkenwell.
The pendulum has started to swing, though full-blooded gentrification is still some way off, meaning this is a place to look if you want to live in an improving central London location with a family-friendly infrastructure — church, primary school, Sadler's Wells Theatre (pictured), a newly built health centre and small independent shops.
Amwell Street was built in the 1820s as part of the Lloyd Baker Estate, a quaint enclave of flat-fronted brick terraces and fine garden squares. New River, an artificial waterway that supplied London with drinking water, terminated here. The imposing former headquarters of Thames Water has been split into flats, while in River Street, six townhouses with basement and roof terrace, sitting in a gated mews, are being built. Prices from £1.8 million. Call Thomson Currie on 020 7226 0000.
Premier pads - Oxshott on target
The Premier League season kicked off only last Saturday and already property ripples are being felt in the "Golden Triangle", the area formed by Oxshott, Cobham and Esher.
During his first tenure as Chelsea FC manager, José Mourinho issued an edict that players live within four miles of the club's Cobham training complex. John Terry is one of several players who have put down roots in the area, and with the Special One back and rumours of a Wayne Rooney transfer to the Blues, local estate agents are licking their lips.
In the Sixties, the area was dubbed the stockbroker belt; in the Seventies it became the "Rockbroker" belt. Now agents call it "Superbia" because it is a celebrity-strewn area with some of the highest property prices in the UK.
Number One Oxshott is the latest launch — a 10-apartment scheme of characteristically neoclassical architecture, close to the high street and train station, with 35-minute trains to Waterloo. There is also secure basement parking for the Bentley.
Commuters enticed by eastern promise
East Anglia is gaining in popularity with London commuters. Property is cheaper than in the western home counties, with the Liverpool Street to Norwich line attracting most interest, according to estate agent Bidwells, which reports a spike in buyers using its website to search for a home in the region.
Despite the higher commuting costs, more than a third of buyers purchasing a main home in Suffolk or Norfolk work in London. "Norfolk has idyllic villages, medieval market towns, fine schools, wonderful rural and coastal landscapes and is far less populated than Surrey or Berkshire," said Bidwells' Guy Jenkinson. It is also a major economic growth area, a beneficiary of the "Silicon Fen" cluster of technology companies around Cambridge.
Upgrading of the A11, the main arterial road into the county, will be completed in 2014 and is set to generate more than £1 billion of business growth around Norwich. Norwich city-centre schemes include The Ivory Building, final phase in the conversion of the former Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, with homes from £159,950, while in the select suburb of Eaton, developer Charles Church is selling detached houses at Wentworth Gardens from £329,950. Call 01603 229428.