Focus On Holland Park: Celebrities flock to the spacious Georgian mansions in the connoisseur's Notting Hill
Melissa York - I edit our weekly residential section Hot Property, and I deputy edit Living mag
Inside the new-look Design Museum
The fact is, the secret’s out about Notting Hill. It’s a Richard Curtis film, it hosts Europe’s biggest street party every August and its doors are painted in bright pastel colours.
The connoisseur of the north west London property scene would look slightly southwards to its greener, more understated sibling, Holland Park. “The area has actually shrunk over the years,” says Philip Eastwood, head of London at buying agency The Buying Solution. “Due to the popularity of neighbouring Notting Hill, streets that once considered themselves part of Holland Park are now claiming to be in Notting Hill.”
It’s for this reason, he says, that many of Holland Park’s charms are missed. Huge, voluminous properties can be had here, particularly Thomas Allen of Holland Park “very much the pinnacle of quality Victorian stock,” Eastwood adds. But those in the know, often with help from specialist agents, are more likely to snap up an exceptional property.
Mainly, we’ve seen a decline in young professionals from Europe moving to the area, whereas historically we would have high levels of enquiries from French, Italian and Greek buyers
“The area around Holland Park is defined as Millionaire’s Row and is recognised for attracting A-listers with multi-million pound mansions,” says Daniel Taylor, head of Kensington & Holland Park residential sales for estate agency Chestertons. “Celebrities currently living here include Simon Cowell, the Beckhams and Robbie Williams.”
Like most of prime central London, there has been a slight dip in house prices over the past year – 0.4 per cent according to data from Savills using Land Registry figures. But average prices remain strong at just over £2m. “Almost a third of transactions in Holland Park last year sat over the £2m mark, compared to only 2 per cent of sales across London,” says Frances Clacy, an analyst from Savills.
But where are the best places to live? If you’ve got plenty to play with, it’s as close to the park or the Central Line Tube station as possible, or in one of the period family houses of Holland Park Road, Melbury Road and Ilchester Place, backing onto the park itself. “The rows of stucco mansions built in the late 19th century tend to attract a premium due to their exceptional width, with the average house costing nearly £4.5m,” adds Aneisha Beveridge, research analyst at estate agent Hamptons International.
For those with a tighter budget, head south of Holland Park Avenue, where there are plenty of flat conversions and even some newer apartment blocks. Despite its mansion-heavy rep, 81.5 per cent of all sales in Holland Park are flats, according to Land Registry figures.
Leighton House Museum
“In the past few years, two highly significant new schemes, Holland Park Villas and Holland Green Place, have shone a light on the area, providing new build living options for affluent domestic and international buyers, while significantly raising the £psf for the area,” says Alisa Zotomiva, CEO of AZ Real Estate.
But this may be a short-lived moment of investment, largely due to political uncertainty, according to Matthew Gardiner Legge, sales manager at Jackson-Stops’ Holland Park office. “Mainly, we’ve seen a decline in young professionals from Europe moving to the area, whereas historically we would have high levels of enquiries from French, Italian and Greek buyers. Brexit is clearly having an effect on the market here.”
Opera Holland Park
No visit to Holland Park is complete these days without first dropping in on the Design Museum, which opened on its new site just off Kensington High Street in 2016. As you would expect, it’s a breath-taking building, with a permanent collection and a roster of impressive exhibitions encompassing fashion, architecture and products. Did you know there’s also an open air opera house in Holland Park? And there’s a picnic area, so you can experience both the high of Wagner’s Ring cycle and the low of supermarket scotch eggs at the same time. But if it’s fine dining you’re after, you don’t even need to leave the park. The Belvedere restaurant is right at the centre of Holland Park, offering European cuisine in a 17th century summer ballroom. Fans of wacky houses, meanwhile, musn’t miss The Leighton House Museum, the Grade II Listed home of painter Frederic Lord Leighton, who commissioned this house and studio with elaborate Orientialist interiors.
House prices Source: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to Canary Wharf: 27 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 17 mins
Nearest train station: Holland Park
Best roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive: Ilchester Place: £14,871,430
Most Affordable: Holland Road: £754,330