Urban villages for the country-shy

“For many central Londoners, the prospect of upping-sticks and moving to the sticks is just one step too far,” says Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search.

“Upsizing from a one or two bedroom flat in Kensington or Chelsea, to a family sized property in the same area is, for most, financially challenging to say the least. Londoners who grow out of their central London property have traditionally looked at making an out of town move, but there seems to be an increasing desire to find an urban alternative to a nice rural village community.”

Why might that be?

Sara Ransom says, “Many Londoners have seen friends make a move to the country and don’t like the look of the lifestyle. Careers and jobs demand longer and longer hours, and greater commitment, so the working partner, or both partners, find that they rarely see their family, spending more time with their colleagues and fellow commuters, leaving children in the hands of school and complicated child care arrangements.

“I think there’s a wariness too about the concept of the rural idyll. Those that yearn for ponies and Labradors continue to seek out country bliss; but there are plenty of Londoners who are reluctant to swap their kitten heels for wellies.

“You don’t have to move far out of the centre of London to take advantage of considerable price differentials. And the picture changes all the time as transport improves, and previously gritty areas become gentrified.

“Urban villages currently in vogue where you can buy a good family house with the proceeds of the sale of your two bedroom apartment in Chelsea include:

Northcote Road, SW11 (for latte lovers)

Once just the name of a road, now a village in its own right, complete with a strong neighbourhood community, a Saturday farmers market, great state schools, independent shops, fish market, and appealing bistros and bars. You won’t get much garden, but Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common are just a five minute walk (in heels) away.

Southfields, SW18 (for tennis lovers)

Easy access to the City from Earlsfield overground, gastro pubs galore, and wonderful Edwardian properties with big rooms and high ceilings. On the doorstep are two parks and Wimbledon Common, so Labradors aren’t out of the question.

Bermondsey Street, SE1 (for the uber-cool)

Virtually on the River, choose from cool warehouse conversions, Georgian townhouses, or open plan new builds with urban balconies. A healthy walk takes you to Borough Market. The Jubilee Line addresses most transport issues. Lots of advertising / media types; less baby and toddler groups.

Brackenbury Village, W6 (for reluctant Kensington-leavers)

Hidden peace between the road hubs of Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, and within a brisk walk (or a few minutes on the bus) of Kensington High Street. Central Line to the City, and easy access to the M4 and Heathrow. Victorian terraces and little parks, independent shops and cafes, all wrapped up in a feels-like-Central-London comfort blanket.

Old York Road, SW18 (for family planners)

Our shout for the new Nappy Valley, this is quirky but elegant London with art galleries, designer clothes boutiques, great nurseries (children not flowers), close to the river, and easy to get out of town by way of the A3. It feels like a village, but is reassuringly close to Fulham and Putney.

You may also be interested in

view more

Summer Market comment 2023

Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search says: Prime Central London down 10% “Property in prime central London is still around 10% cheaper than it was three years ago, but as much as that might once have made it look good value, in a post-Brexit, post-Covid world, there are many less buyers for...

Spring Market comment 2022

2022 Last year was very much a story of buyers looking for lateral space and being able to work from home, whilst still being able to commute to the office alongside those who made the jump to the country at the beginning of the pandemic and are now missing the lights...

London 2020 trends and 2021 outlook

2020 Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search says, “Buyer behaviour in London has shown several distinctive changes during the course of 2020. “There’s been a big surge in demand for swimming pools, from large basement pools, to tiny organic-looking plunge pools in small back gardens. Architects have been overrun with holiday-in-your-back-garden demand. “Required...

London Market Comment Spring 2020

After the pause, will the property market be on rewind or fast forward? After many weeks of sitting in our homes, and with a ray of light in sight, Stacks London asks what on earth the property market will do. Up until the end of March, the property market was in full...

Start your property search today

Call us on +44 (0) 1594 842880 or complete the form below

    Your Details

    Your property requirements:

    SoldThinking of movingOn the marketExchangingIn rented accommodationCash buyerIn need of helpOther

    We will never share your details with a third party. For more information about how we handle your data, please see our Privacy Policy

    How we can help you
    View our services

    When making probably the most important financial decision of your life, it pays to have the right advisors at your side.

    “You showed fantastic attention to detail, anticipated all eventualities, and provided timely and practical help and guidance every step of the way.  Above all, you supported me in making my own considered decisions, and I am so grateful to you for all your help in getting me to where I am now!”

    “We firmly believe that without Rachel and her skilled negotiation we would not have secured the property.”

    “We felt they genuinely wanted to help.”

    “Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before.”

    “It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.”

    “Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me.”

    “Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification.

    “I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks”

    “Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations

    “You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset”

    “We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times”

    “I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future.”

    Subscribe to our newsletter

    Receive updates about the world of property, straight to your inbox.

    * indicates required