Piers of the realm

A new pier at Vauxhall will give homeowners a river taxi to work from their very posh Thames-side pads
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The Tower at St George Wharf, Vauxhall
The Tower at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, where a new river taxi pier opens this month
This month sees the launch of a much-needed river taxi pier at the giant St George Wharf complex at Vauxhall. The new shuttle service will run between Vauxhall and Blackfriars, and is part of a network that now stretches from Putney in the west to Canary Wharf in the east.

Developer St George is making the most of the transport bonus by promoting apartments at The Tower, a swish cylindrical skyscraper being built on the waterfront.

This latest London high-rise has 223 private flats priced from £700,000, or up to £2,000 a square foot, which doubles the current going rate along this part of the river. Viewings at the plush marketing suite are by appointment only. Buyers who pass the vetting process can study a selection of apartments to match their budget.

Much is being made of the splendid views from each apartment, which have been captured by helicopter photography and at the press of a button are conjured up on a big plasma screen. The complex will be run by Harrods Management along the lines of a deluxe hotel, with valet parking, spa, business lounge, meeting rooms and private dining facilities. Call 020 7042 7700 or visit thetower-onestgeorgewharf.co.uk.

With more people now living alongside the central stretch of the Thames than at any time in the capital's history, several initiatives aim to exploit its potential as a transport artery.

New piers, promenades and pontoons are being created, including a spectacular half-mile long, 40ft-wide floating boardwalk along the north bank between Blackfriars and London Bridges. This £60 million project will have eight event and entertainment pavilions of "sheer beauty and design brilliance", according to Mayor Boris Johnson. New pleasure moorings at Imperial Wharf on the Fulham waterfront recently became available, while a new dock is being built at Chelsea Creek.

The Distillery in Deptford
From £180,000: flats at The Distillery in Deptford. Call 020 7620 1500

Artistic Deptford

Ever since an ambitious group of art students from Goldsmiths college staged a makeshift show called Freeze in 1988, Deptford has been a landmark on the London art map. That exhibition featured several of the people who went on to become part of the Young British Artists movement, including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

More than two decades on, Deptford has evolved into an established artistic centre, with a cluster of galleries along the lively high street and the Creekside waterfront owned and run by Goldsmiths graduates. Next week, Deptford X, a yearly contemporary art festival, kicks off, offering a chance to scout the local art and street scene and view the new apartments sprouting up in the area.

Increasingly Deptford is seen as a cool place to live. It borders the old naval town of Greenwich and well-heeled Blackheath but has its own distinctive edge and an unpretentious vibe. Even the New York Times has praised Deptford's "boisterous concoction of blue-collar aesthetics and intermittent hipsterism".

Flats are for sale at the old Seagar gin factory on Deptford Broadway, seconds from the DLR station. Called The Distillery, the main tower's higher floors have terrific views, taking in Greenwich Observatory, the river bend, Canary Wharf and the City. There is a public viewing gallery at the top, while a designer hotel is earmarked for a listed section of the original factory.

Apartments range from studios to two-bedroom duplexes with glass walls. Prices from £180,000 to £435,000. Call Galliard Homes on 020 7620 1500. The flats are likely to be popular rentals but a wave of owner-occupier buyers is arriving, encouraged by the improving amenities.

Another Galliard scheme on nearby Greenwich High Road is also selling well. This sits back from the road overlooking Deptford Creek. Prices from £249,995 to £420,000.

Deptford's transport connections are another big plus for the area. Trains to London Bridge, the City's main commuter hub, take six minutes. The DLR provides a vital direct link to Canary Wharf, while the recently opened East London line extension has created an axis with Dalston and Shoreditch, similarly arty enclaves.

A new Deptford station is being built, part of a masterplan by architect Rogers Stirk Harbour that will bring 121 new apartments. Derelict arches will be brought back to life as work spaces for creatives, while a new market square will consolidate regeneration along the high street. Visit cathedralgroup.com.

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