Why I Love: West Hampstead

Street View, West End Lane, West Hampstead, zoom out to explore area.

[googlemap lat="51.545953" lng="-0.191283" yaw="64.45055327526023" pitch="1.7343253002398864" zoom="0" width="450px" height="300px" type="STREETVIEW"]West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6, UK[/googlemap]

After moving to London 18 months ago, I initially struggled to settle – a small town girl trying to find her place in the big city.

I tried my hand at living in the leafy suburbs of South West London and then I tried the hustle and bustle of Central London.

But, after a bit of soul searching, I happened upon West Hampstead…a great little pocket of North West London. Okay, our Head Office is based here, but regardless of that – I love it! Let me tell you why…

1.    Peaceful: It’s a peaceful retreat from the clamour and chaos of the City. Don’t get me wrong, West Hampstead still gets busy. But, as soon as I step off the train after a hectic day at work I can feel the pace slow right down, take a deep breath…aaahhh, I’m home.

2.    Connected: There are two train stations, one tube station and countless buses linking the jolly West Hampstead residents to the rest of London. You can be in Central London in 15 -20 minutes or South West London in 30 minutes!

3.    Cafés & Restaurants: Spoilt for choice when it comes to cafes, restaurants, and quirky shops. I’m still working my way round all the scrummy places to eat and pubs with cosy fires and beer gardens.

Somewhere I can definitely recommend is Cini’s on Mill Lane. You can read my views on it at The Greene blog.

Or another great place to try is Little Bay, a lovely Bistro on Belsize Road – it’s fantastic value for money and has a truly unique ambience with an old fashioned Moulin Rouge, theatrical feel to it – you can even enjoy your meal from one of the balcony tables.

Ooh, I mustn’t forget to mention Elephant Walk on West End Lane –delicious Sri Lankan curries…yum! Or if you’re happier cosying up at home with a takeaway, then The Bombay Bicycle Club is divine – a nice comfy Indian treat.

4.    The Heath: Just up the road, you have Hampstead Heath… ideal for long country walks, whether it’s crisp and frosty or bright, beaming sunshine.

Then, you can pop along to Hampstead with its old fashioned boozers, independent cafes and funky boutiques.

One of my personal favourite places to visit whilst here is the Freemasons Arms on Downshire Hill. Unless it’s a Sunday, then I’ll be tucking into a mouth watering roast in the humble surroundings of the Holly Bush on Holly Mount.

5.    Regents Park: Heading in another direction, not too far away, you have Regents Park. There are beautiful landscaped gardens, a boating lake, an open air theatre and lots of little cafes to visit along the way.

6.    Architecture: The architecture in West Hampstead takes you back a few years. Hints of Art Deco London are scattered about on the tree lined avenues that hark back to a proud and affluent era, where you can imagine horses and carts, ladies with parasols and top-hatted gentry promenading in the last rays of the evening sun.

7.    Mansion Blocks: Mixed in with that there are striking, red brick mansion houses that demand attention. They’re not only compelling to look at from the outside, but offer huge space and comfort from inside also. Alexandra Mansions, Malborough Mansions and Lyncroft Mansions are prime examples of these imposing buildings. Read more about these at The Greene blog.

8.    Mix of People: There is an eclectic mix of people living in West Hampstead, which makes it an appealing place for anyone to live. I’ve noticed, though, that it’s mainly ambitious young professionals – which is what attracted me, to be honest.

Well, there’s some food for thought. If you haven’t already fallen in love with the place, I’m sure I could chew your ear off for half an hour over a coffee in one of the quirky cafes on West End Lane.

Probably in Le Brioche or Café Plus sipping a coffee and tucking in to some scrambled eggs on toast!

Naomi Buffery works in Greene & Co’s marketing department and writes their The Greene Blog.

March 26, 2009 at 3:00 PM 11 comments

UK Street View Helps You Find a Property

It’s been a busy old week here at FaP Towers.

Yesterday we had the launch of the McDonald’s Best Chance Monopoly – we’re sponsoring the two £300k prizes to buy a home.

Today we’re very happy to be partnering Google in the launch of their innovative Street View addition to Google maps.

Street View allows you to view and navigate 360 degree street-level images of 25 UK towns and cities.

We’ve been busy checking it out all morning and we have to say – it’s awesome!

But don’t take our word for it – take a look for yourself on this sample property ad.

Look for the yellow “Pegman” icon on the right-hand side of the property description and then click “Show Street View” to display the pop-up map page.

Click pic for details

Here’s a video of how Street View works, followed by one on privacy and how to get Google to remove an image.

March 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM 5 comments

St Patricks Day Blog: Castles for Sale in Ireland

We’ve been asking our users what makes a home?

As you probably know, pretty much everyone in Ireland lives in either a castle or a cottage, so to celebrate this undisputed fact, here are some castles you can currently buy there.

Most of them are of Norman provenance, and they obviously weren’t big on floor-to-ceiling windows, the Normans.

But if security was your main concern, and you’d always wanted a balcony from which you could pour boiling oil on marauding locals, they were the lads to go to.

Grand Designs: it was very different back then!

Click the pics for full details

March 17, 2009 at 12:32 PM Leave a comment

Graph Of The Week: When Will The Housing Market Bottom Out?

Thanks to our research team for this week’s graph, which comes from MyHomeLife, their regular consumer survey.

It’s based on responses from 1,000 visitors to Primelocation.com and FindaProperty.com, and it’s fairly self-explanatory.

Most people think the market will bottom out before, or by, autumn of this year.

Do you agree? - send us your views using the Comments link below.

March 17, 2009 at 10:52 AM 4 comments

Happy Endings

La la la la la!  Three weeks on from our emotional house move and home life has improved heaps.

The house itself seems to have accepted me and is now allowing me unimpeded access as opposed to its previous No Entry stance.

Inside, the box-to-floor-space ratio has decreased massively, so much so that we’ve even had some complimentary comments about our now-visible floorboards.

It’s taken us this long to unpack because – for the first time in about five years – we’re actually sorting through all of our boxes rather than just shoving them, contents intact, into any old place that’s big enough.

The amount of downsizing we’ve done is unbelievable; several local charity shops are bursting at the seams as are the nearest recycling bins.

But it’s been worth all the effort, as it really is a lovely house, and well on the way to becoming our new home sweet home.

However, this doesn’t mean that we’ve mentally discarded our former adored abode which we both still miss immensely.

So, imagine how chuffed we were to hear from our old landlords – who we’ve never met – earlier in the week, inviting us round for a glass of wine once they’ve settled back in.  How sweet is that?

Just need to make sure I keep my emotions under control when we go and not create a scene or scare them off.  Otherwise we’ll never get re-invited and I’ll be back to staring wistfully at the house from a (safe) distance…

March 13, 2009 at 6:08 PM 1 comment

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