Woodbury Park, Stoke Newington
Water sports opportunities in London are more plentiful than many people realise. As well as the Thames, there are inland docks, lakes, canal basins and reservoirs where regeneration projects are opening up access to the water for recreational use.
The 64 acres of Woodberry Park in Stoke Newington sit alongside two giant reservoirs with boating clubs. The former reservoir filter house is now a visitor centre with old hydraulic machinery on display, while the Victorian pumping station, a distinctive castellated design, has been converted into a popular climbing centre.
Up to 4,600 new homes are being built alongside the open water and will be linked by a series of “linear parks” converging on a new town square. New River Gardens, the latest phase, has flats from £885,000. Call Berkeley Homes (020 8985 9918).
Kent's Euro star: Ebbsfleet's on the commuter map
If you are a Parisian at heart but still lust after a London fix, then Ebbsfleet in Kent could have a surprising appeal.
Having a Eurostar station has put this once-dreary area on the map and opened up to commuters some pretty villages along the banks of the Thames Estuary that were previously overwhelmed by heavy industry, but which are now returning to residential life.
Thanks to Japanese-style bullet trains, the trip from Ebbsfleet to the City and Canary Wharf is super-fast. The commute to central London is now 17 minutes — quicker than from Richmond or Wimbledon.
Ingress Park, at nearby Greenhithe, occupies one of the best positions on this stretch of the Thames. The famous Empire Paper Mill once stood here and a listed Victorian abbey with amphitheatre forms the centrepiece of the 72-acre site, which slopes down to the river and includes listed ancient follies that are part of a new heritage woodland trail.
The estate has a varied collection of homes, ranging from riverfront flats to Regency-style townhouses. The Pier, pictured, the latest phase, marks an architectural step change. Its modern, Docklands-style apartment blocks offer cantilevered balconies and floor-to-ceiling glazing. Prices start at £165,000. Call Crest Nicholson on 01959 564282.
Join the Bloomsbury set in a modern garden 'square'
Emerge from Russell Square Tube through the sea of tourists and you could be forgiven for writing off Bloomsbury as place to live. But turn a couple of corners and you discover a district of elegant Georgian squares and hidden mews offering a range of flats and outstanding period houses.
Near the Grade II-listed residences of Mecklenburgh Square is Bloomsbury Gardens, a new-build scheme of 44 flats, including ground-floor duplexes with basement patio terraces and stairs to private gardens. Smart interiors have full-height doors, underfloor heating and heated bathroom walls. Service charges should be reasonable as there is no concierge or underground car parking. From £910,000. Call Crest Nicholson on 020 3667 5119.
Maternity hospital reborn as homes
With a sprinkling of handsome conservation areas plus a Tube station plugging travellers into the Jubilee and Northern lines, Stockwell should be a desirable inner suburb. As it is, the area is about 20 per cent cheaper than its near neighbour Clapham despite being that bit closer to the West End action.
Annie McCall Maternity Hospital in Jeffreys Road is another local delight. Founded in 1889, it was the first in Britain to have an all-female staff. It closed down as a hospital 30 years ago and was taken over by artists and craftspeople.
Now the reborn listed Victorian buildings, are being turned into homes, while new artists’ studios and a lodge house have been built in the grounds. Prices from £410,000. Call Henley Homes on 020 7401 8777.