London2Let News/Blog provides a large selection of property to rent in London and the surrounding areas. With hundreds of letting agents, flatshare companies, online agents and private landlords each uploading thousands of properties throughout the day, we provide a reliable and ever expanding live rental property portfolio for the London region.en-us60, 17 Oct 2017 02:46:31 GMTThe King of the CastleLizzie Greenway, 22 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMTAs a child tales of dragons, princesses and princes, castles and dungeons were just a fantasy world, no-one ever envisaged that they may one day live in a castle all of their own, but now the opportunity is available to be your own king of the castle.

This unique property is only 15-minutes drive away from the City, so you can still commute, that is for the price of £2.75 million. The property has five generous bedrooms, which means that the place is perfect for a large family looking for a property with a difference. This home is carved in the walls of the medieval fortress of Vanburgh Castle; it enjoys views of Greenwich Park.

Overlooking south-east London it was built over 300-years ago by the architect Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect also known for Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace. The castle was sold as a whole in 1977 and divided into four maisonettes, the opportunity to purchase a piece of Vanbrugh Castle is a rarity, but now number 2 is on the market.

There is plenty of space inside the castle, which spans four floors and has 2,350 square foot of living space. The castle benefits from two reception rooms, a master bedroom suite, grand open fireplaces, impressive sash windows and a roof terrace, which features a beautiful conservatory and kitchenette.

The views from the castle are second to none, as are the vast grounds, which sprawl over two and a half acres of lawns and woodland. The castle is Grade I listed and is thought to draw inspiration for its design from Bastille prison, where Vanbrugh spent several years in prison after being caught as a spy in his younger years.

The property is a mere walking distance to Maze Hill station and there are regular services that take you to Cannon Street in just 16-minutes, so one minute you can be in the mist of the city and the next you really can be the King of your own castle.

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The Big Smoke this September!Lizzie Greenway, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMTAs the autumn draws near and the sun sets upon the city there is still plenty to be bright about this September. The city has a multitude of activities on offer to enjoy including London Fashion Weekend, the Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival and many art exhibitions to enjoy, including the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition.

London Fashion Week

For lovers of fashion this is a date in the diary not to be missed, from September 16th to 20th September the catwalks come alive in the capital as the biggest and best in in the industry showcase what is in store for the future of our fashion.

Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival

An annual event that includes a parade through the streets of London, the Pearly Kings and Queens showcase their hats and suits adorned with hundreds of shimmering buttons. Enjoy the best of British entertainment at the festival, with traditional English maypole dancing and a marching band. The parade takes place around the City of London and goes all the way to St Mary-le-Bow Church for a service held at 3pm. Although the event is free, it is requested those that attend the harvest festival bring offerings. The festival takes place on Sunday 25th September at Guildhall Yard, Mansion House.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition

Enjoy the wonders of space at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich from September 17th, the astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition showcases views of the sky from Earth and also other far-flung galaxies. The exhibition has a range of images both from professionals and amateurs; it is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the beauty of the universe.

Dinner at the Twits

This event celebrates 100-years of Roald Dahl in the most gruesome way, not for the faint hearted it is for adults only and features a feast full of foul dishes; including an eyeball in your glass, bird pie and other ghastly delights. Le Enfants Terribles are the team behind the gastronomic experience, held at The Vaults in London; the event is on until October 30th.

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Here Comes the SunLizzie Greenway, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT“Summertime is always the best of what might be” Charles Bowden once said, and as the threat of the heat on our skin increases and the thoughts of holidays become more of a possibility than a hope, we’ve looked at some of the best homes and locations around the world to rent this year. Be it a small apartment in New York, a tipi in south France, a yacht in Ibiza or an idyllic villa in the Tuscan hills, these destinations are sure to wet your appetite.

Seashell House, Mexico

It would be a challenge in itself to retain hold of any stresses from work when staying in this beautiful house in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The seashell house, named Casa Caracol sleeps up to four people and includes a private pool, two king sized beds and a beautiful BBQ area. The property is a gated property for extra security and enjoys views over the ocean; it is set on the cliff side of this small island and allows for privacy. Built by architect Eduardo Ocampo, he lives in an adjacent property with his wife. You can stay at Casa Caracol from £215 a night; the closest airport is Cancun International.

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Countryside Villa, Tuscany

Set amongst the rolling Tuscan hills, this beautiful villa close to San Casciano Val di Pesa was built in the 16th C and has been sympathetically restored to its former glory. It enjoys spectacular views over the Italian countryside and is set amongst the glorious Chianti region; its location means you are not far from Florence, the ideal base to enjoy the capital of the Renaissance. The villa sleeps nine and benefits from a luxurious, spacious outdoor area and pool. Woodland, vineyards, poppy fields and beautiful Italian villages home surround this Tuscan country; it is the perfect place to enjoy La Dolce Vita.

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Beach House, Cape Town

This beach house boasts an incredible view over Bloubergstrand beach, a popular surfing beach on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The seven-bedroom luxury house sleeps twelve people and includes two large dining and lounge areas where you can sit back and indulge as you gaze out to sea. There is a great deal of outdoor space so you can enjoy the views with the salty sea air on your skin. Cape Town

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City Apartment, Manhattan, New York

There are four of these apartments to choose from in Manhattan’s East Village, the apartments are all individually decorated and designed, with an Oriental interior, a penthouse with a stunning roof garden, and an Indian boudoir amongst the choices. The apartments sleep from 4 to 8 people dependant on your choice, ideally situated in New York’s hip and trendy East Village in a brownstone building, there is a creative vibe to the area.

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Luxury Yacht, Ibiza

This nine-person luxury yacht is moored in Marina Botafoch, Ibiza, a pretty spot with an abundance of Italian restaurants, bars and shops to explore. The boat can travel up to 32 knots so you can speed around the coast of the island and see everything it has to offer, stop off at sea wherever you like or lie back on board and just revel in the sunshine and turquoise waters; an ideal rental for those after a mixture of relaxation and escapism.

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Eco Lodge, Rancho Pacifico, Costa Rica

This boutique eco-luxury hotel has ten luxury villas and suites all with views of the ocean, set amongst a canopy-covered mountain you are surrounded by the best nature has to offer, whilst in the lap of luxury. Awarded one of the top 100 eco-lodges in the world, stay in the TreeHaus Hideaway Villa a truly exceptional room with a view, set amongst the treetops it is the ultimate in seclusion, as it is set within its own 3 acres, it also has the benefit of an outdoor Jacuzzi.

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Camping, South of France

This campsite in Naujac-sur-Mer is amidst the tall pine forests that dominate the coast here, only 50 minutes to the sea you fall asleep listening to the soft lull of the crickets’ song and the crashing waves. Try your hand at surfing and stay in the tipi's complete with beds, electricity and carpets. A chef is on-hand to cook all your meals and you can enjoy the nightlife of nearby Lacanau-Ocean.

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William Shakespeare once wrote, “summer’s lease hath all too short a date” so why not embrace the season and treat yourself to an unforgettable summer holiday.


Spend the weekend in BrixtonLizzie Greenway, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMTIn Brixton there is an energy that transcends the streets, there is a buzz to the area, it is a unique spot in south London with a thriving sense of community. There is a vibrancy and culture, which is unrivalled in most other areas of London; it is easy to see why you can lose a weekend in the streets of Brixton.

In the 18th C Brixton was a wealthy area known for its countryside and windmills, during the late 20th C Brixton was plagued with riots but this is albeit now a distant memory. Today Brixton is a multicultural hub, with a large Afro-Caribbean community, originating in the 1940’s; the West Indian culture is prominent here. Home to the first department store Bon Marche and Electric Lane, the first street to be lit by electricity and the birthplace of the late David Bowie, Brixton has a compelling history.

Getting There

It is easy to get to Brixton due to the number of transport links that connect to the area; there are buses, trains and tubes. Brixton tube station is on the Victoria line passing through Oxford Circus, from Brixton Train Station you can reach Victoria in several minutes. Brixton is only 25-minutes from the London Eye; it is 70-minutes from Heathrow, and 15-minutes away from Kings Cross.

Wine and Dine

Brixton is bursting with eateries; there are cafes, bistros and restaurants in abundance, an endless array of choice. The food scene is continually evolving with Brixton boasting complex and contrasting cuisine from across the globe.

In the morning head to San Marino, the oldest family run café in Brixton, it is perfect for a hearty full breakfast and a coffee. Breakfast is served all day here, it is noisy and bustling and open seven-days a week, situated on Brixton Road it also has an outdoor area so you can bask in the sunshine. The Lounge is another favourite café in Brixton, it is the perfect place to begin a lazy Sunday, and you can’t beat a brunch here whilst relaxing on one of their sofas. 

Brixton Village and Market Row are the two independent markets situated in Brixton and are the home of a great number of street food stalls, including delicious Chinese, Mexican, Caribbean and a number of Pizzerias. Whilst here head to the ‘Champagne plus Fromage Bar’ in Granville Avenue, open 11am to 11pm it is a cosy little café and bar with a myriad of champagne on offer and delicious cheese and charcuterie boards, or Franco Manca. Franco Manca is situated in Unit 4,  Market Row, the pizza here is made from slow-rising sourdough, baked in a wood-burning oven, this place is renowned for its pizza across the city.

You have a number of options of an evening, there is Wild Caper, which serves delicious Eastern Mediterranean food, with hot and cold meze’s on offer; it also serves a great Bloody Mary. If you like Spanish food then head to Brindisa, or if you prefer Caribbean food there is Negril. After food there are an array of drinking establishments, try the Prince Albert, the Trinity and the Effra, for music lovers there are often live gigs held at Kaff,  there is also Brixton O2 Academy and Plan B nightclub. Be sure to keep an eye out for new bars opening in the area; in the past year Barrio Brixton and Blues Kitchen have both opened here.

The Outdoors

Take a walk in Brockwell Park or swim in the lido here. Brockwell Park is 84 acres of green serenity south of Brixton. It is the perfect place to enjoy the first, hazy days of summer. The park is host to a number of areas all of which are interesting and diverse in their own right, there are football pitches close to Dulwich Road if you fancy a kick around. The park opened in 1891, prior to this it was the grounds of the private mansion Brockwell Hall, today you can enjoy tea and cake in this listed building. Brockwell Park playground is impressive; there are sandpits, aerial slides and a paddling pool if you have kids in tow. If you are visiting in summertime Zippo’s Circus may be in residence, or you may be lucky enough to catch a concert or show, or you may be able to enjoy one of the summer fetes often held here.

The Arts

There are a number of art murals on the streets of Brixton, commissioned after the riots of 1981, once synonymous with Brixton they have now become a distant memory, but the murals remain. The murals convey a range of themes including community, ideas and political themes, you’ll find two on Bellefields Road and by Brixton Station, as well as a dedication to the late David Bowie. Brixton Art Gallery regularly exhibits contemporary and modern art, situated on Brixton Station Road.

The independent cinema the iconic The Ritzy is located in Brixton; this art house showcases a mixture of independent and blockbuster films. The Ritzy cinema is one of the oldest picture houses in south London, it opened its doors in 1911, with five screens, with late night shows, two bars and some lovely café food it is well worth stopping off here to watch a film or for a quick drink.


Pop Brixton is a series of pop up shipping containers down Brixton Station Road, central to Pop Brixton is the idea of community space, helping local businesses and enterprise, there are food and drinks businesses, arts and crafts and event spaces to be explored here. Head to Bookmongers on Coldharbour Lane, it is the ultimate bookshop with a mixture of secondhand books, not only can you purchase some great independent books, you can also have a cuddle from their resident dog ‘Rosa.’ Brixton Village and Market Row is home to in excess of one hundred independent, local businesses, these covered walkways are host to an Aladdin’s cave of cuisine, clothes, art and music; perfect for picking up a unique gift.

Where to Stay

Stay in nearby Camberwell, a short distance away at Church Street Hotel. The hotel describes itself as ‘a Spanish Americana Oasis’, featuring hand-painted Mexican tiles in all the rooms, The Havana Lounge is open 24-hours. The hotel is fun, individual and unique, it brings Latin-American to south London and whilst been funky offers excellent service, a hospitable welcome and comfortable, Mexican art inspired rooms, prices begin from £90.00 for a standard single room with an en-suite.

Brixton has undergone significant transformation, it has been gentrified, whilst maintaining its culture and crass. 

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The New Stamp DutyLizzie Greenway, 20 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMTThis month sees the introduction of the new stamp duty on second homes in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, but what does it really mean for buyers and what are the implications of this new bill?

For those looking to buy-to-let the implications are substantial, it could add thousands of pounds to property transactions now, the extra 3% stamp duty seeks to push out investors looking to buy-to-let and allow first time buyers the opportunity to purchase homes. Historically buy-to-let investors have been blamed for sending property prices rocketing and therefore preventing people getting on the property ladder.

The new stamp duty is set to raise £1 billion for the Treasury in the next five years. The stamp duty will raise 3% in every band, so those purchasing a second property worth between £125,000 and £250,000 will now pay 5% instead of the original 2% charge. So if a buy-to-let investor were to buy a property for £184,000, the main purchase cost, they will have to pay an extra £5,520 as of this month.

Landlords are not pleased, believing it will halt investment in the rental market.

Currently landlords with over 15 properties are exempt from this new stamp duty, although as the budget announced on March 16th suggests this is not the long-term plan of the government.  Currently those who own a substantial amount of properties, but not over 15, will still have to pay the levy.

The Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association, Richard Lambert, believes “The chancellor’s political intention is crystal clear; he wants to choke off future investment in private properties to rent.” Experts have been predicting since the Autumn Statement was released that the increased tax bill in those who own second homes to rent will eradicate any profit they look set to make and therefore may trigger a mass exodus from the market.

Last July saw landlord’s interests further curtailed, when it was announced that you could not offset mortgage interest against rental income, this change will come into existence between 2017 and 2020. In turn this may make buy-to-let actually unprofitable in some cases.

The budget did announce there would be a cut in Capital Gains Tax, from 18% to 10% for basic rate taxpayers and from 28% to 20% for high rate taxpayers. However this cut will not apply to residential properties, again further “directly attacking landlords” stated David Cox, the Managing Director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

Those who let their residential properties out on a short-term basis through house sharing sites such as Airbnb have been afforded an annual £1,000 tax break. In research published in March by residential specialist JLL, it was found that private landlords could actually earn more using such a service, with rentals in London around £100 more a week on sites such as Airbnb. There were 25,357 homes listed on Airbnb in London by the end of 2015, making it the city with the third highest listings in the world, just behind New York and Paris. However it is only an option for those renting for up to 90-days a year, after this period it is considered illegal in the UK.

To date since the announcement that the 3% stamp duty was coming into force in April the ARLA reported that there was an immediate, noticeable increase in house sales, with landlords looking to avoid the increased tax bill. However Mr Cox notes that after this month “we’re likely to see the number of buy-to-let properties on the market begin to decrease, and this will most certainly have a detrimental effect on renters across the country.”

An ARLA survey suggests that many believe the stamp duty will contribute to higher rental prices as landlords will no longer make as much profit they will be pushed out the market, resulting in a decrease of properties for those looking to rent. Consequently having a detrimental affect on those seeking to rent as well as landlords.

The 3% charge will not however apply to low cost housings, those that cost below £40,000 or on mobile homes, caravans or houseboats. The 3% stamp duty does not apply to houses that are inherited, although if you then go on to purchase an additional property to the one you inherited you will be affected by the surcharge, as it will be considered a second home, even though you did not buy the first one.

Lawrence Hall from Zoopla, expresses the views held by many that “the stamp duty on buy-to-let properties will ultimately make renting more expensive- which in turn eats into people’s ability to save towards a deposit.” It looks like the governments new stamp duty may in fact cause further problems for those looking to get on the property ladder, ultimately the opposite of what it hoped to achieve.


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London This AprilLizzie Greenway, 07 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMTFor many by the time the weekend arrives the exhaustion of working and travelling all week has set in, after living in London for years it is easy to forget what drew you to this great city in the first place. It becomes rare you leave your borough, only venturing to local haunts and retreating into your own little pocket of the city. London is still one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, even though you live in the capital it is easy to oversee what draws and attracts so many foreigners to the banks of the Thames. So this month why not refresh your memory and become a tourist in your hometown.

As Mayor Boris Johnson stated “London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet. With so many fascinating museums, the best theatre scene in the world and more green space than other European city.” Famed attractions include St Paul’s Cathedral, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the West End and Wimbledon, but where to begin?

Pretty Palaces

Wait for a nice weekend then enjoy a jaunt to two of London’s most famed buildings, if you dreamed of becoming a princess or prince indulge those childhood fantasies and explore what are the spectacular Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

How many of London’s residents have actually seen the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony? Do just that at Buckingham Palace, where in summer time you can explore the 775 rooms of the palace, look out for the Royal Standard flag flying as it indicates the Queen is in residence.

Head to Kensington Palace and indulge in cream tea in the orangery, or allow the actors to take you on a tour depicting the royal past, whilst dressed in traditional costumes from the bygone age. Other palaces to explore include St James Palace, Eltham Palace, Richmond Palace, Lambeth Palace and Hampton Court Palace.

The Museums

Immerse yourself in the city’s history. The Victoria and Albert Museum showcases more than 3,000 years of art and design throughout the ages. There is the Medieval Renaissance gallery, which is home to some breath-taking statues, fine jewellery and the British galleries, which depict Britain’s art history, all of these are permanent fixtures to enjoy, as well as temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The museum is open daily so you can visit at your own convenience and at no cost, as entrance is free.

The Imperial War Museum documents the lives affected by wars from World War I to today. There is a First World War gallery and stories from the Second World War, as well as a Holocaust Exhibition. It is open daily and admission is free. The National History Museum attracts visitors from across the world, exhibiting a large array of specimens and elements of natural history. The museum is in one of London’s most beautiful buildings; explore the Dinosaur gallery and mammals displayed. In the Darwin Centre Cocoon, you can see specimens and view scientists at work. There are also the occasional temporary exhibitions, entry to the Natural History Museum is free and it is open daily from 10am to 17:50pm.

The National Gallery near Trafalgar Square is the perfect place to enjoy the delights of world famous artists, such as Van Gogh, Monet, Michelangelo and Picasso, as well as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

Scenic Parks

One of London’s eight royal parks is Hyde Park, home to the Serpentine Lake, encompassing 350 acres it is home to the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, you can swim, cycle, boat, play tennis and horse ride in the park, as well as listen in on the Speakers’ Corner.

As the weather gets warmer London’s parks are perfect for a picnic, Kensington Gardens is a lovely spot with beautiful flower beds, as is Greenwich Park, Regent’s Park and St James Park.

Days Out                                                                                

To hang with celebrities’ head to Madame Tussands, where the wax works are so realistic you could be fooled into thinking they are the real deal, close to Baker Street you can rub shoulders with the wax versions of David and Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to name but a few. Tickets cost from £23.80

For an exhilarating day out visit the London Dungeon’s, with an array of horrid history to learn about, the story of London’s dark past is told through live actors, rides and special effects. Tickets cost from £22 per adult and £17 per child.

Iconic Landmarks

Catch the bus, flag down a taxi or simply walk around the city and refresh your memory, take in the delights that make up London’s famous skyline once again, there is Big Ben, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the gothic inspired Houses of Parliament. Or enjoy the view of the city from above by taking a ride on the London Eye, open daily from 10:00 am until 20:30 pm, tickets cost £21.20 and you spend 30 minutes in the pod.

Nights Out

North of Leicester Square is Chinatown; this East Asian community has bought a slice of authentic Chinese to the city. There are almost eighty restaurants in Chinatown to choose from, set in the heart of the West End it is the perfect place to eat before heading to the West End for a show.  Finish the night with a drink in Soho’s many bars and clubs, where hedonism is the order of the day.

You needn’t holiday outside the city when there is still so much to offer on your doorstep.

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Spend the weekend in Chelsea!Lizzie Greenway, 23 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMTStylish, sassy and sophisticated Chelsea is the ideal weekend destination.

Shop, shop, shop

Chelsea enjoys some of the most exclusive shops in London. Firstly head to Kings Road where you’ll find fashionable, high-end boutiques such as Penhaligon’s, Neal’s Yard, Anthropologie and Comptoir des Cotonniers. For those who love jewellery, you cannot beat Sloane Square where you can purchase exquisite pieces from Cartier and Tiffany and Co, a truly gorgeous treat. For high-street brands Duke of York Square is home to Europe’s biggest Zara store and other top end brands.

Ladies that lunch

Chelsea is famous for its in-crowd who love nothing better than a leisurely weekend lunch, hence why so many eateries do it so well here. Bluebird café is among Chelsea’s favourite, Bluebird has its own café, brassiere and food store and is a super trendy hangout for the ‘who’s who’ of the area.

If you are visiting the area on a Sunday the ‘Lots Road Pub’ is perfect for a roast dinner. Head to The Phene, this pub has one of the best beer gardens to enjoy delicious gastro pub food. Tom’s Kitchen on Cale Street is a favourite in the area, with a good hearty menu on offer and lovely atmosphere.

Nature and Art

Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in London, and the medicinal plants grown here have been used since 1673, it is a beautiful and enchanting spot to lounge around and explore before heading to an altogether different art experience, the Saatchi Gallery. The Saatchi Gallery was opened in 1985 and is just off Sloane Square and showcases contemporary art, the 70,000 square foot building has a number of different exhibitions throughout the year, this March will see ‘Champagne Life’ and ‘Prints and Originals Gallery’ among its exhibitions.  Bywater Street is a destination of beauty in its own right in Chelsea, where many go to just to photograph the unique pastel houses on the road.

Dine Out in Style

Restaurant Gordon Ramsey is located in Chelsea, opened in 1998 it holds three Michelin stars and is an exquisite dining experience, the food is modern French. For a cheaper alternative there is Jazz at Pizza Express, it is a altogether different experience at Chelsea’s take on this chain restaurant, located in an impressive building on Kings Road it is host to orchestral, jazz and solo performances. No 11, Pimlico Road has an air of elegance, with a cool atmosphere and is great to finish off at after dinner, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two.

Party the Night Away

Head to Embargo for Cuban cool, you enter through a cigar shop, just to get you into the swing of things before being transported into a interior featuring exposed brickwork, vintage furnishings and a delightful rooftop terrace. The most exclusive establishments in Chelsea after hours are Raffles and Juju. Raffles is pricey, and notoriously hard to get in, with it being a haunt of the rich and famous, it is exclusive, luxurious and opulent but expect to splurge if you are lucky enough to get in. Juju on Kings Road is glamorous, it has cocktails worth talking about and knows how to throw a party, it is one of those nightclubs people travel to, sleek and sophisticated it sums up Chelsea perfectly.

Stay, Sleep and Snooze

There are a number of suitable establishments to sleep at in Chelsea, but our favourites are The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, The Apartments by Sloane Square and a more affordable option of Myhotel Chelsea. The Chelsea Harbour Hotel boasts idyllic views across the Thames and Chelsea Harbour, with spacious and comfortable rooms offering good facilities, rooms here cost from £200 per night. The Apartments by The Sloane Club are for those looking to splash the cash, an apartment costs from £435 per night and for that you will have a luxurious haven in one of the most exclusive areas in London. Myhotel Chelsea has 50 rooms and is chic, spacious and attractive, this April you can stay the night on Sunday for as little as £88.

Getting Here

Chelsea is very accessible, Sloane Square tube station is on the Circle and District Lines, the area is also serviced by buses number 19, 22, 319 and C1, all of which pass by Sloane Square. The London Victoria train station is also in close proximity to Chelsea, it is easy to walk to Kings Road from here.

As Audrey Hepburn once said “London is always a good idea” and Chelsea is certainly that.

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A Tourist in TownLizzie Greenway, 01 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT


For many by the time the weekend arrives the exhaustion of working and travelling all week has set in, after living in London for years it is easy to forget what drew you to this great city in the first place. It becomes rare you leave your borough, only venturing to local haunts and retreating into your own little pocket of the city. London is still one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, even though you live in the capital it is easy to oversee what draws and attracts so many foreigners to the banks of the Thames. So this month why not refresh your memory and become a tourist in your hometown.

As Mayor Boris Johnson stated “London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet. With so many fascinating museums, the best theatre scene in the world and more green space than other European city.” Famed attractions include St Paul’s Cathedral, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the West End and Wimbledon, but where to begin?

Pretty Palaces

Wait for a nice weekend then enjoy a jaunt to two of London’s most famed buildings, if you dreamed of becoming a princess or prince indulge those childhood fantasies and explore what are the spectacular Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

How many of London’s residents have actually seen the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony? Do just that at Buckingham Palace, where in summer time you can explore the 775 rooms of the palace, look out for the Royal Standard flag flying as it indicates the Queen is in residence.

Head to Kensington Palace and indulge in cream tea in the orangery, or allow the actors to take you on a tour depicting the royal past, whilst dressed in traditional costumes from the bygone age. Other palaces to explore include St James Palace, Eltham Palace, Richmond Palace, Lambeth Palace and Hampton Court Palace.

The Museums

Immerse yourself in the city’s history. The Victoria and Albert Museum showcases more than 3,000 years of art and design throughout the ages. There is the Medieval Renaissance gallery, which is home to some breath-taking statues, fine jewellery and the British galleries, which depict Britain’s art history, all of these are permanent fixtures to enjoy, as well as temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The museum is open daily so you can visit at your own convenience and at no cost, as entrance is free.

The Imperial War Museum documents the lives affected by wars from World War I to today. There is a First World War gallery and stories from the Second World War, as well as a Holocaust Exhibition. It is open daily and admission is free. The National History Museum attracts visitors from across the world, exhibiting a large array of specimens and elements of natural history. The museum is in one of London’s most beautiful buildings; explore the Dinosaur gallery and mammals displayed. In the Darwin Centre Cocoon, you can see specimens and view scientists at work. There are also the occasional temporary exhibitions, entry to the Natural History Museum is free and it is open daily from 10am to 17:50pm.

The National Gallery near Trafalgar Square is the perfect place to enjoy the delights of world famous artists, such as Van Gogh, Monet, Michelangelo and Picasso, as well as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

Scenic Parks

One of London’s eight royal parks is Hyde Park, home to the Serpentine Lake, encompassing 350 acres it is home to the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, you can swim, cycle, boat, play tennis and horse ride in the park, as well as listen in on the Speakers’ Corner.

As the weather gets warmer London’s parks are perfect for a picnic, Kensington Gardens is a lovely spot with beautiful flower beds, as is Greenwich Park, Regent’s Park and St James Park.

Days Out                                                                              

To hang with celebrities’ head to Madame Tussands, where the wax works are so realistic you could be fooled into thinking they are the real deal, close to Baker Street you can rub shoulders with the wax versions of David and Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to name but a few. Tickets cost from £23.80

For an exhilarating day out visit the London Dungeon’s, with an array of horrid history to learn about, the story of London’s dark past is told through live actors, rides and special effects. Tickets cost from £22 per adult and £17 per child.

Iconic Landmarks

Catch the bus, flag down a taxi or simply walk around the city and refresh your memory, take in the delights that make up London’s famous skyline once again, there is Big Ben, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the gothic inspired Houses of Parliament. Or enjoy the view of the city from above by taking a ride on the London Eye, open daily from 10:00 am until 20:30 pm, tickets cost £21.20 and you spend 30 minutes in the pod.

Nights Out

North of Leicester Square is Chinatown; this East Asian community has bought a slice of authentic Chinese to the city. There are almost eighty restaurants in Chinatown to choose from, set in the heart of the West End it is the perfect place to eat before heading to the West End for a show.  Finish the night with a drink in Soho’s many bars and clubs, where hedonism is the order of the day.

You needn’t holiday outside the city when there is still so much to offer on your doorstep.

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Rethinking RentalsLizzie Greenway, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTLondon looks set to follow European cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Brussels as the city becomes a city of renters. As the city prepares for the rental market to increasingly expand, there are more than 30,000 build-to-rent homes in the pipeline. Companies are investing millions in the rental market, to fill the void of acceptable rental homes and admirable landlords. Legal & General, the large Insurance Company will begin with building 3,000 homes in Walthamstow, and many more are set to follow suit, with London’s blue chip companies and some financial institutions investing.

The buy to let market looks set to be better regulated and more secure, ideal for renters. Within the next five years it is estimated that the demand for rental will increase by 1.1 million. Developers are cashing in on this by building outside of the city, in more affordable boroughs, but close to the tube and train stations, so it is still viable to commute.

The rental service provided by these companies will be uniform, residents will know what experience to expect, with contracts flexible and fair, furniture packages and on-site maintenance; similar to what ex-pats experience in countries such as Dubai when it comes to rentals.

Creekside Wharf in Greenwich is an example of a successful scheme aimed at family rentals. They currently have eight rental schemes, the Greenwich site with 249 homes being just one of them. The site has dedicated 75% of the site to open space, play areas, rooftop gardens and communal areas, providing quality of life for families in the city is key to the ethos of their schemes.

In February a £100 million North London build-to-rent tower was approved, after previously failing to gain planning, The Department for Communities and Local Government granted permission for the 24-storey block of flats. During the planning process the scheme underwent significant scrutiny, something Scott Hammond of Essential Living believes only sought to reveal “the significant benefits of the scheme in terms of new homes for rent and community space.”

But where looks set to be best to invest in buy-to-let? Research Analyst at Chestertons, Caspar Bell, suggests the following locations as ones to watch when it comes to the rental market. The Isle of Dogs is undergoing significant regeneration with 10,000 new homes and 110,000 new jobs forecast by 2031; Croydon is also set for improvement with £5.25 billion being pumped into regenerating the area; Tottenham Court Road is set to become extremely sought after with crossrail arriving, a new housing scheme and an excellent commute.

As mentioned previously Greenwich is an area to watch, with regeneration currently underway there is still plenty afoot for the peninsula. Cricklewood and Brent Cross are up and coming, as of yet the area is not particularly desirable but the forecast suggests a bright future for these two areas. With an enormous regeneration package, including new schools, new facilities, 10,000 new homes and open spaces created; this area is set to be a slow burner, with the development spanning some time but if you can afford to sit on your investment it may be the ideal area.

But is the expansion of rentals going to be the long-term situation in London? Well, some would suggest so, Richard Snook, senior economist at accountancy firm PwC, believes by 2025 the market for rentals is set to increase again. In 2000 60% of Londoners owed their homes but by 2025 he believes this figure will only surmount to 40%, shifting the long running history of ownership in the city in the other direction.

Maybe the long running obsession with getting on the property ladder is finally dwindling. It seems we are as a nation beginning to rethink rent; the tenants’ rights are beginning to be prioritised with their quality of living now high on the agenda. The new buy-to-rent schemes seem to be a step in the right direction.


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Legal and General Development:

Valentine’s in London TownLizzie Greenway, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTThe city has an abundance of quirky and cool, romantic and thoughtful activities, venues or events to enjoy this coming Valentine’s weekend. Thomas Merton once said, “love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone- we find it with another,” why not treat that special someone to the best the city has to offer. We’ve complied some original and unique ideas to inspire you. Single? There is still plenty to enjoy this weekend, head out and celebrate your singledom in style.

Appreciate what is important with World War rationing; the underground bar ‘Cahoots’ in Kingly Court Station has created a picnic package inspired by war time meals, alcohol is included, you can also dress up in vintage inspired uniforms just to further get into the nostalgic sing of things.

Head to the Royal Observatory and gaze up at the universe together through the Victorian telescope, you can watch the stars on the Prime Meridian whilst sipping on a glass of champagne, it is your chance to watch the best show Mother Nature has to offer with that special someone.

Take her or him for a romantic drink but with a difference at ‘The View’ in The Shard. Set 244m from the ground the view across London is simply spectacular. The Champagne Bar is open from 11am until late. The price per ticket is £25.95 and £33.95 with a glass of champagne included.

Treat those with a passion for gin to ‘Swan on A Hot Tin Roof at the Ham Yard Hotel.’

Cosy up together under a blanket and enjoy a hot gin at this pop up roof top bar. Sipsmith will be serving historical London gins on the terrace, such as Charles Dickens favourite gin, or try London’s original pairing of gingerbread and gin. It is paramount you book in advance, with tickets costing £14 per adult.

Wam Bam Cabaret is a mixture of show stopping performance sure to impress him or her. Held in the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room it is a particularly special performance this Valentine’s. There will be showgirls, burlesque dancers, variety acts, circus performances and much more to take your breath away. The doors open just before 7pm and the show begins at 9pm, there is also the option to enjoy a three-course meal before the performances.

Hoping to enjoy an overnight stay in romantic bliss then book into Dean Street Townhouse, in Soho, spread across two Georgian buildings and with a bath within the room to enjoy together over a glass of champagne it is sure to impress. Rooms cost in the region of £250 per night.

Get out of the city and head to a nearby spa for a day of relaxation, just 55 minutes from Liverpool Street Station is ‘The Spa’ at Hanbury Manor. It is the perfect place to unwind; this imposing countryside manor ensures you both feel like you left the city miles away. Swim in the indoor pool, or laze in the Jacuzzi before enjoying one of the treatments on offer.

Why no take them to dinner on the Riverside? Book a table at ‘The Duke’s Head’ in Putney, where you can enjoy idyllic views, a bottle of prosecco and chocolates for two, followed by a cosy pub meal.

Or for a dinner with a difference try ‘Food Noir presents ‘Desire’’, which begins on February 13th, at The Gore Hotel. Gourmet food awaits you but the twist is you must wear a blindfold whilst you enjoy it; there is also risqué entertainment to stimulate your senses even further.

If you are single this weekend don’t despair as Oscar Wilde once said, “it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person."  There is a myriad of activities on offer for those with out a mate this weekend.

If you are single in the city why not try Speed Hating? Enjoy Valentine’s Day by meeting other singles and discussing everything you hate. There is also an option to blind hate and enjoy an array of various controversial games. Held at ‘The Phoenix’ in Marylebone.

Attend the Valentine’s masked ball at ‘The Coronet’; in Elephant and Castle, starting at 21:00 and continuing until 4am, it is a celebration of the darker side of love with performances to entertain you whilst you dance your lost heart away.

Or embrace your inner child and head to Club de Fromage for a pop and fancy dress themed evening; listen to the likes of 1990’s artists such as The Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. At the O2 Academy in Islington, Angel from 22:30, those in fancy dress get to jump the queue too.

Tinder live pub-crawl takes place on Saturday 13th February, organised by ‘1BigNightOut’ the extensive pub-crawl is the very first of its kind for Tinder. As part of the evening there will be a giant size Tinder screen, with a set of very special rules. The game will play across five bars, with new players joining as the night progresses. At the end of the evening you’ll enter one of London’s super clubs. Tickets cost £ and the night begins at 19:30 and ends at 3am, tickets include five free shots, five free bars.

As Gandhi said, “where there is love there is life”, and there is certainly plenty of ways to celebrate that love across London this year.


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Rising RentsLizzie Greenway, 01 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMTThe cost of renting rose by 14% in the UK in 2015. The demand for rentals is extremely high, particularly London, with landlords reporting an interest from ten people for every one room available in the city. The 2015 Rental Index, which was complied by EasyRoomMate, states that rental prices have increased by 8% in the capital. The House of Commons library rental figures suggest that in twenty boroughs residents pay over half their financial income on rental, this is an increase of 75% in the past six years, previously this type of expenditure was only applicable to five boroughs in Greater London.

The average current cost of renting in London is now £2,083 per month and in 2015 a significant 30% of the capital was made up of rental properties. The properties in the vicinity of zone 1 are now higher in cost than those in New York’s Manhattan; today London is considered to hold the accolade for the highest cost of rentals out of any other city in the world.

But is the explanation for this just ‘supply and demand’ or is it too simplistic to view the reason for the rise as just that? Demand is certainly far higher than supply, but what are the reasons for this growth in demand? There is namely London’s strong economy in comparison to the rest of the UK and the high number of foreign investors, but there are also a number of other contributing factors at play here too.

Rentals are now more attractive than buying due to a variety of reasons; stamp duty has changed, the job market is more fluid and the tax structure for overseas worker has meant many are reluctant to commit to purchasing a property. Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings Report states that these reasons have just sought to push rental prices higher.

The introduction of the 10% stamp duty on homes over £500,000 has widely affected London’s property market as the average home is in excess of this. Many reasonable sized homes in London would also now be liable to incur the 12% stamp duty rate. In terms of financial savings many have discovered that the amount of stamp duty they’d pay alone would allow them instead to live in nicer neighbourhoods for a longer period of time.

Marc von Grundherr, Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings Director, believes that these changes in stamp duty by George Osbourne have done more for the rental market than “any other chancellor in history”, stating “thanks to the changes in stamp duty rates, he has made renting long term a more attractive option for many tenants.” Alongside this overseas worker are able to write their rent off against their tax but if they owned the property they would have to pay capital gains.

The rental market has also benefited from the UK’s emergence from the recession, increased incomes have meant tenants have sought to rent larger properties. London as a global financial centre attracts major international companies whose workers seek accommodation, what with this and the rise in immigrants and asylum seekers in the city it means demand has sky rocketed.

The increase in demand is good for investors, landlords and property developments but not everyone is happy. The University College of London ‘Cut the Rent’ campaign has seen students across two halls of residences at UCL withhold their rent, amounting to a figure in the region of £250,000. They are protesting against the dramatic rise of rentals, which their representative and organiser Angus O’Brien believes is “preventing people from studying at university”, stating “this is a massive problem across London.” The rent at the university has gone up by a substantial 56% in the past seven years.

Many seem to suggest there is a housing catastrophe in London, with those who reside here on an average salary reporting that it is financially impossible to rent in the city. HomeLet interviewed 15,000 tenants of whom 71% aspired to buy their home, however 64% thought it was an unrealistic expectation. But is it really impossible? Due to the limited number of properties available to rent it means landlords are able to charge more, data by HomeLet found that the average London wage is £30,338, meaning that some of London’s residents only have a poultry £369 to spend on travel, food and bills; leaving nothing left in the pot to save for a deposit.

This costly reality has meant many people are seeking to house share; the sharing economy is on the rise as a whole and especially when it comes to living in the capital. Estate agents Knight Frank commissioned a YouGov poll, which showed that a third of Londoners would spend 50% of their income on rental, but even then it is almost impossible to save for anything, although it is notably better than having to spend 80% of your income on rent. ‘Generation Rent’ is stuck; with not enough income to save for a property and barely enough to pay their cost of living, it looks like the demand for rentals in the capital will only continue to increase.

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Chinese New Year in The City!Lizzie Greenway, 24 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMTOn Monday 8th February the city celebrates the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey is upon us. In London the Chinese New Year is a colourful celebration of dancing, dramatic decorations and of course dragons. The celebrations in the city come close to rivalling that of China; below we take a look at where to head to in London this year.

The Chinese community has a longstanding history with London, trading between China and the UK began in the 1600’s. There is a large Chinese network within London, the first Chinatown was situated in the Limehouse district in the late 19th C, and by the 1960’s Soho and Bayswater was a hub of activity for the Chinese community and is Chinatown as we know it today.

The Chinese New Year sees the lunar and solar calendar as central to where its date falls, it is anytime between the middle of January to the middle of February. There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The year of the monkey was previously in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004. Personality traits include intelligence, wit and magnetism, but also mischievous, naughtiness and curiosity. Monkeys have held a significant cultural symbolism in China for thousands of years and this year will see a host of events across London to celebrate the beginning of the Monkey Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Parade

The parade begins at 10am on Sunday February 14th and runs the length of Shaftesbury Avenue to Charing Cross Road. There is a lion dance and a dragon dance that takes place in the square on the stage from 12pm until 1pm, after 1pm you can watch the lion dances proceed throughout the area of Chinatown until 5pm. In Trafalgar Square celebrations include Chinese dance and music groups who visit the city from China, including the Chen Brothers flying lion dance troop.


Immerse yourself in the orient in Chinatown, get a true feel for East Asia in this community, see in the new year-“Xin Nian Kuai Le” (in Mandarin) or “San Nin Faai Lok” (in Cantonese). There are plentiful of Chinese restaurants in the area and throughout Sunday 14th February there will be celebrations and activities throughout the area.

Chinese Restaurants in London

Rated five stars by Timeout London, Yauatchain in Soho is a stylish hangout with delicious dim sum served day and night. Also notable is the Royal China Club in Marylebone serving excellent Cantonese cooking. For traditional Chinese but with a modern twist MinJiang is lovely and situated in the Royal Garden Hotel. Hutong in the Shard enjoys breathtaking views and cooks up a Northern Chinese feast. For a lighter Chinese meal there is the chain Ping Pong with restaurants at several places across the capital. In order to avoid disappointment it is best to book in advance for your meal as you can imagine it is for many restaurants the busiest night of the year.

Magical Lantern Festival

A highlight of this year’s magical lantern festival is a troupe of lanterns in the shape of monkeys; the life sized animal lanterns will be at the forefront of the festival and the first lanterns seen by visitors. Monkeys are not the only animals transformed into lights, others include zebras, giraffes, swans and pandas. The magical lantern festival begins on February 3rd and runs all the way through to March 6th; it takes place in Chiswick House and Gardens. Additionally during the festival you can enjoy theatre, art and performances. There are in excess of fifty lanterns, the spectacular 60-metre dragon lantern is a sight to behold. Children will delight in the enchanted forest full of fluorescent flowers, mushrooms and plants. This year will be the first year the festival is held here.

For the Family

In the National Gallery on February 6th there is a fun filled family day to enjoy, which include Chinese Zodiac trails, mask making, storytelling and historic talks. The National Maritime Museum also is host to performances, activities and workshops for all ages to enjoy on Saturday 13th February. In the V&A Museum of Childhood on the same day is host to dance and music performances, and you can also try your hand at mask, lantern and costume creating workshops.

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Majestic MerrimentLizzie Greenway, 21 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer more beautiful,” said Norman Vincent Peale, and this is very much true of London this month and all there is on offer to enjoy, below is just a snippet of what delights you can partake in over the coming month.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park’s Christmas extravaganza is back with a host of attractions to get you in the festive mood. There are winter markets, a grotto, fairground rides and ice-skating to enjoy. The Winter Wonderland opened on November 20th and will run everyday until Sunday 3rd January, excluding Christmas Day. The Winter Wonderland began in 2007 and since then over 15 million people have visited this celebration of Christmas.

Dazzling Delights

London’s Christmas lights are a site to behold in themselves, from Bond Street, Oxford Street to Regent Street and Covent Garden to enjoy. Bond Street’s Christmas lights use innovative sprays of Peacock feather lights to illuminate the street. Oxford Street is home to 1778 orbs, these snowball decorations light up the road, this year there is an additional 445 gold baubles. On Regent Street, running the length of the street are garlands of light, featuring sequins and coils.

Traditional Christmas Markets

To experience a traditional Christmas market head to the area between the Thames and the Tate Modern, where picturesque wooden chalets line the space selling wooden toys, jewellery, decorations and traditional Christmas food, there is also a carousel and music to entice you. In Belgravia the cobbled streets are lined with Christmas stalls, there are also a number of seasonal events that take place on Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Street. There is a farmers market, live music and entertainment to enjoy. Foyles Christmas Craft Fair is held in their store and is an opportunity to purchase unique gifts, cards and decorations.

Get your Skates on

There is something magical about dancing on ice and what better place to enjoy doing so than in the capital, Broadgate Ice Rink is located in Exchange Square, this outdoor rink also offers lessons should you wish to improve your skills. Canary Wharf offers a spectacular backdrop to the ice rink with sparkling trees adorned with fairy lights surrounding the rink, there is also a bar and restaurant here. Eyeskate overlooks the iconic London Eye, with sessions lasting 45 minutes. The National History Museum is a majestic setting with a separate space for children to enjoy.

Carols by Candlelight

There is nothing better to get you into the mood for the most magical time of year than attending a Christmas carol service or concert in December. There are a variety held across the city, with orchestras and famed singers among the choices. The Christmas Festival at the Royal Albert Hall runs from December 13th to Christmas Eve and features a Christmas carol sing-along among its events. There are also a number of carol concerts that take place in many of London’s communities to enjoy.

A Blast from the Past

Head to Kensington Palace to experience what a Victorian Christmas would have once entailed. The iconic building has been decorated accordingly for the occasion, with the decorations, as they would have once been. During the weekends and then everyday between 27th December and January 3rd there is Victorian inspired activities and entertainment to enjoy, with Victorian pantomime and music performances to watch.

With so much merriment in the air across the city you can make this December one to remember.

London’s Window Winter WonderlandsLizzie Greenway, 02 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMTIt is the most magical time of the year and yet again London’s flagship stores have some delightful displays to get you in the festive spirit. Here is our annual run down of the best the City has to offer this Christmas to ignite your excitement for the party period upon us.


This year’s theme is ‘Journey to the Stars’; the celestial theme is shrouded in mystery, with astronomy, spirituality and astrology key to the visual imagery. The windows have a variety of displays, including Libra represented by a line of mannequins sprayed with glitter ready to dance on the moon. The Zodiac window displays showcase a fiery Aries model set amidst 450 metres of white and red neon lighting.

Cancer is conveyed through a casual design, with reams of chiffon and a giant moon, Sagittarius is a mannequin reaching to shoot his bow and arrow complete with giant feathers that were made from Perspex.  The windows cost just under £1 million to decorate, the focus is on blue and silver colours, and this theme ties in the fashion of the season by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs and astrological themed jewellery by Tatty Devine.  Personalised gifts are the main focus of Selfridges merchandising this year, although inside there is collaboration with Disney to co-inside with the Star Wars launch.

John Lewis

John Lewis’ Christmas advert was recently released and this year the company has teamed up with Age UK for its Christmas campaign. The campaign features a man on the moon, with the strapline ‘Show someone they’re loved this Christmas’, and aims to raise awareness of those on their own during the festive period.

In eleven of its store there is a ‘moon pop up’, where you can discover more about the moon and Age UK. Its flagship Oxford Street store will feature a ‘lunar lookout’ in the Winter Garden created, with a telescope to view the moon. The windows will also have telescopes looking introspectively into the store. The store’s focus is less so on merchandised goods as it does not correlate with the campaign. ‘Everyone is loved at Christmas’ is John Lewis’ strapline this year.


This years theme is ‘Once upon a Christmas’, with a miniature stage flanked by rich red velvet drapes and featuring a game focused on lights. The mice that featured heavily as Santa’s helpers in last years campaign once again return, with the lead character, Peter Pumpernickel, taking centre stage. Alongside the window, Harrods released a short animated film following on from last years.


This year Liberty’s has recreated what every little girl dreams of; their windows have been transformed into rooms that appear to mimic a large doll’s house. There is a nostalgic element to the displays this Christmas, which have enterprised the buildings iconic look perfectly. It took over twenty-five designers to create the inspired theme, the design relies heavily on a pink theme and is full to the brim of everything a customer could wish for this festive season.

Harvey Nichols

A whopping million flakes of glitter, 620 mirror balls and 300,000 sequins are central to Harvey Nichols disco party theme, the windows feature LED lights, and 15,000 gift boxes and the displays are simply a spectacular sparkling affair. The displays have an element of futuristic style included in their design and seem to rely heavily on an extravagant party theme; it is inspired by Studio 54, the trend for party fashion this winter season.

Fortnum and Mason

The famed food store has opted in favour of tradition this year, which includes a display featuring painted geese, a reindeer, instruments and an array of delicious food that is also available to purchase within the store. There are 21 windows in total in Fortnum and Mason, these have become 3D scenes for the period of December with roosters and owls decorated with headdresses and various gems perching in them for the duration.

One thing is for sure if you spend a weekend over the coming month admiring the festive displays of these iconic shops your day will certainly be merry and bright!

The Transformation of White City.Lizzie Greenway, 02 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMTThe former headquarters of the BBC has undergone a tremendous transformation, the previous home of many well-known TV shows, it is now the location of 5,000 new homes. The site in White City, central London, is the largest new neighbourhood in the city, covering 145 acres.

The BBC campus itself covers 14 acres and the homes on offer begin at £500,000. The first of the apartments went on the market earlier this month, and it is predicted this modern example of architecture will be highly sought after.

The new BBC complex includes cafes, restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool, a hotel, cinema and flats within the iconic doughnut shaped building, which is now listed.  In the centre of the doughnut is a statute of ‘Helios’ the Greek god of the sun. The circular building measures 500 feet in its diameter and with a basement of 3.5 acres that will house the residents spa and health club.

The development hopes to rival Holland Park and Notting Hill in terms of desirable locations within the city. The project is by no means finished though and it looks like it is at least ten years in the making, however when it is finished a penthouse with a terrace will be in the region of £7 million. The initial stages of the development are set to complete by early 2017.

The previous BBC buildings were built in the 1950’s; the company Stanhope is in charge of their development, with 950 homes in the pipeline with the initial 450 being built in the ‘doughnut’. Of the 950 homes, 142 of these will be made affordable housing.

The only building of its kind, it was the originally the only custom made complex solely for the broadcasting industry in the UK, an example of mid century architecture, the new apartments have favoured a 1950’s interior design and a show room of such will be available to view for the next few weeks.

The complex will feature a new university campus, a new media village and will also include the expansion of Westfield Shopping Centre, which will be home to the biggest ever John Lewis store. An element of the development will be handed back to the BBC in 2017 after it has been refitted. The area will have a number of newly landscaped areas, in total the size of five football pitches.

The previous TV centre area forms the shape of a question mark when viewed from the air, originally designed by architect Graham Daubarn, who scribbled the idea on the back of an envelope, the original doodle is now in the archives of the BBC.

White City was originally built to exhibit the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908; its name is derived from the white buildings, clad with marble. The Olympic games of 1908 were hosted here and it was after World War II that the British Broadcasting Corporation migrated here.

Patel Taylor are the architectural masterminds behind the development and their concept ‘Living in the Park’, which sees a run of green throughout, linking to the Imperial College Campus north of the regeneration. The Imperial College Campus has invested £3 billion into The White City Campus, with an innovation and research centre; the campus covers 25 acres in total and will be home to leading scientists and engineers.

The hope is to extend the buyers market from Shepherd’s Bush, and the new development of this neighbourhood looks set to entice many new residents to the area. The White City district looks set to transform itself over the coming years whilst preserving the BBC buildings original iconic architecture

Spend the weekend…in Notting Hill!Lizzie Greenway, 13 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMTNotting Hill is famed for the blockbuster film featuring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, with cobbled streets, grand townhouses, picturesque alleyways, independent, unique quirky shops and the market that frequents Portobello Road there is an endless array to admire and keep you entertained of a weekend.

The café culture is second to none, you can while away the hour’s celebrity spotting here, and it is also widely known for its annual festival in August, attracting thousands of visitors from across the world. Notting Hill has it all; theatres, galleries, restaurants, art, it is the ideal place to spend the weekend.

Getting Here

It is easy to get to Notting Hill; the main tube station is Notting Hill Gate, which the District, Circle and Central lines all run through. Tube stations in the nearby vicinity are Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park Station, which are serviced by the Hammersmith and City line and Circle line, alternatively there are a number of buses that service the area.

Things To Do

Portobello Market

The market runs six days a week and is closed on Sundays. Opening hours are 9am to 6pm Monday through to Wednesday, 9am to 1 pm Thursdays and 9am to 7pm on Friday and Saturdays. Saturday is the busiest day and sees the market bustling all the way from Westbourne Grove to Golborne Road, under the Westway and then reaching as far as Ladbroke Grove. On Sundays you’ll find a small market on Portobello Green. When you visit make sure to check out the street food plaza, clothes, bric-a-brac and antiques on offer.

Notting Hill Foodie Tours

London Foodie Tours is a new tour guide in the city, which takes you around the neighbourhood exploring all the gastronomic goodies available. The tour gives you the chance to check out independent cafes, food stalls and delis, as well as excellent restaurants. Each tour is 3 to 4 hours long. Also included in the £69 cost per person is a recipe pack. There are two tours available in the area to choose from, and you get the chance to sample delicious Turkish baklava, Palestinian pickles, fish and chips to die for, a Moroccan lunch and Portuguese patisseries.

Notting Hill Carnival

Home to Europe’s biggest street party, Notting Hill’s carnival takes places every August, over the course of the weekend. The events begin everyday around 10am and continue until 7pm, with a myriad of after parties and events to enjoy of an evening, in the pubs, bars and clubs in the area. The parade is a highlight, as are the elaborate colourful costumes and music.

Eating and Drinking

If you are lucky enough to get a table at Lowry and Bakery it is the perfect place for brunch, a warm welcome awaits and the vibe is relaxed and friendly, so you can enjoy your food at a leisurely pace. The Elgin on Ladbroke Grove is an atmospheric pub with great, traditional, affordable pub grub, lounge around of a Sunday afternoon drinking real ales and reclining on their sofas.

Books for Cooks has a small café out the back for lunch, there is no menu just one dish cooked out of a cook book that was chosen that day, you are unable to book so it is worth arriving early to avoid disappointment. For something all together special and if money is no option head to the back streets where you’ll find The Ledbury, which was placed 10th in the World’s 50 Best Awards for restaurants.

Trailer Happiness is a cocktail basement bar and Rum Kitchen feels like you’ve been transported to Jamaica, with coloured wooden slatted walls, reggae and endless rum. Why not head to the Portobello Star and spend the afternoon in their ginistitute, where you get the opportunity to make your own bottle of gin, whilst learning the history of the drink. If you’ve still got energy you can finish the day by dancing the night away at The Arts Club.

The riots of 1958 in Notting Hill were caused by the disparities between the wealthy of the neighbourhood and the poverty of the council estates in close vicinity. However the area underwent somewhat of a renaissance in the 1970’s and 1980’s with a fusion of cultures creating a diverse, creative population. Notting Hill now in a word is colourful, the market, music, food and people. Now home to Europe’s biggest street party it is easy to see why.

Celebrate Creativity in the CityLizzie Greenway, 07 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMTAs the summer draws to a close, and we all wallow in what was a wetter than expected August, there is still plenty to enjoy in the City. Embrace the autumn by getting creative in the capital, with an array of events on offer, from pizza festivals, to Notting Hill Carnival, to a month long festival focused on the River Thames.

London’s First Pizza Festival

‘Young and Foodish’ are hosting London’s first ever festival dedicated to pizza. The festival will see the likes of pizza greats Francesco and Salvatore Salvo, from Naples, demonstrating their fine pizza making skills. There will be competition between some of the UK’s top pizzerias, which include London’s own Made of Dough and Sud Italia and Yard Sale Pizza.

Italian wine will be on for sale to wash the pizza down and Beavertown craft beer available to buy. The tickets are £30 per person and include entry, six slices of pizza and a free beer. The festival will be held at Jubilee Place at Borough Market SE1 1TL and will take place between 1:30pm and 6:30 pm on September 13th.

Totally Thames

Only in its second year this month long festival takes place throughout September, during which there are activities and events incorporating the river, over the month the Thames is host to the Great River Race, where over 300 vessels race 21 miles, taking in some of London’s most well known sites.

There is music, open days, art, walks, talks and boat tours to enjoy over the month, with many activities suitable for entertaining the family. This year there is a ‘River of the World 2015’ exhibition created by young artists, and a beautiful photographic exhibition of the River Thames taken from the air. The festival kicks off with the Big Thames Tidy on September 1st from 9am to 11am.

London Design Festival

From 19th to 27th September London’s Design Festival takes place with exhibitions, seminars, talk and art installations across the city. This year sees it in its 13th year; the festival showcases the newest design trends, with over 350 events and art installations across the city, showcasing innovation and talent in the arts.

The festival hopes to promote London as a central contributor to global design trends, this year the projects highlights include Barnaby Barford: The Tower of Babel, a six-metre installations at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Exhibitions are also housed at Somerset House.

Notting Hill Carnival

The famous Notting Hill Carnival takes place from 29th August to 31st August this year, one of Europe’s largest street festivals, it has taken place since 1966. West London comes to life as the streets vibrate with calypso music and steel bands. Also home to a plentiful of food stalls, it attracts over one million visitors. Bank holiday Monday is when the main parade takes place, with a huge variety of floats throughout the procession. It is free to attend Saturday to Monday and takes place 10am to 8:30pm.

Also taking place in September is the French Property Exhibition, which runs from 18th to 25th September, and showcases the most beautiful homes and property in the continent. The Travel Photographer of the Year Exhibition is a collection of outstanding photographic images from across the globe, and is held at the Royal Geographical Society in Knightsbridge until Saturday 5th September.

Image Credits: 

Notting Hill Carnival-

Pizza festival-

Rental RevolutionLizzie Greenway, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMTNew research has shown that by 2025 50% of those in their 20’s and 30’s will be living in rented properties, as they struggle to save for a deposit due to the cost of living. In the UK more and more are hoping to settle in long-term rented accommodation, which means very good news for landlords and the rental market.

There are plenty of benefits to renting a flat or a house, although rental may sometimes be more expensive than a mortgage it does allow you to live in properties you would not necessarily be able to buy. With less and less affordable housing it is the logical solution. Alongside this renting offers a certain amount of flexibility, for young people it allows their life to be more transient, they can move away for work quickly or go travelling. Not only that but it is the landlords responsibility to fit the bill when there are faulty electrical appliances, building maintenance to carry out or say a broken boiler to repair; all hidden costs that can be encountered when it comes to owning your own home.

The report from Accountancy Firm PwC stated that by 2025 up to 25% of residential homes would be privately rented, that equates to 7.2 million households. Not only that but The Chartered Institute of Housing’s findings suggest in 35-years almost one third of those aged sixty and over will live in rented accommodation. In the past 100% mortgages and a lending criteria that allowed the banks to be more lenient with loans meant there were far more opportunities to get on the housing ladder. As Savills suggest it seems to be the cost of buying not the cost of owning that presents the largest barrier.

Chief economist John Hawksworth believes that “the increase in renting wouldn’t be a problem if we had the same levels of quality seen in countries like Germany.” In Germany they allow for longer tenancies, safeguarding the quality of rentals and services provided. In Germany renting your house is considered normal, in Berlin a huge majority of the market is made up by rentals, with over 90% of residential properties rented out, as is similar with Hamburg where the figure stands at 80%.

In Germany rents are strictly monitored so it is not possible to increase the cost of rental over 3-years by more than 20%, contracts are often unlimited and tenants can insist on continuation even if given notice. Deposits are paid back with interest and each new home must be freshly decorated for the tenants.

The societal attitudes surrounding renting has shifted in recent years, meaning that there is nearly no stigma about not owning ones home. Unlike earlier generations that saw buying a property as a right of passage, it is now seen as a luxury some are even actively choosing to opt out of. Perceptions of owning ones home have changed, by some it is considered too much of a responsibility, the countries previous obsession with home ownership is shifting.

Because of this we may see a shift of focus on more developments being built solely for the purposes of rental. A recent report by the British Property Federation and Addleshaw Goddard, a legal firm, entitled ‘Funding Britain’s Rental Revolution,’ suggests that design of housing when building properties with the view to rent is crucial. The developments need to focus on layouts that create a sense of community; a friendly neighbourhood will mean tenants are tempted to stay for longer. ‘Build to Rent’ schemes will look into creating communal living spaces within the areas; instead of a penthouse on the top floor they’ll be a viewing platform for all the tenants for example. These developments will benefit from looking further than traditional designs.

The further steps made to increase the professionality of the rental market will only help to ensure higher standards for tenants. Build to Rent investors are looking at long-term gains if there is long-term tenancies; it also is beneficial for the economy and communities. Head of housing at Addleshaw Goddard believes “Build to Rent has the potential to vastly improve standard in housing.” Whereas the Director at Assael Architecture, Russell Pedley, suggests that the substantial difference with Build to Rent is the shift in focus, as it is now on creating a better lifestyle for tenants.

The Build to Rent scheme was launched at the same time as the Governments ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, based on the multifamily sector in North America, the scheme was set up to provide up to 10,000 new homes for the rental market by the end of 2015. Sigma Capital are one of the most recent firms to announce that they are investing in Build to Rent schemes, pledging £20 million. Initially their Build to Rent schemes will take place in Liverpool and Greater Manchester. As more and more people look set to rent, it seems these developments will become increasingly common in the future.

Image Credit:




Poll of celebrities Brits would most like to live with!London2let, 08 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMTKim Kardashian tops poll of celebrities Brits would most like to live with – Kanye in least wanted

Kim Kardashian has topped the list of celebrities the British public would most like to live with whilst husband Kanye West find himself in the company of Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage in the list of ten celebrities Brits would least like to live with, according to the results of a survey of more than 1,400 people commissioned by a leading property website.

According to the results of a survey of 1,436 people aged 18 and over, Kim Kardashian West is the celebrity the British public would most like to have as a housemate, with 41% citing her glamorous lifestyle as the reason for picking her.

Sherlock Holmes star Benedict Cumberbatch and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift placed second and third respectively in a top ten that also includes YouTuber Zoella and ex-Labour party leader Ed Miliband. The study was commissioned by rental portal, and gave respondents a long list of celebrities to choose from.


The top ten celebrities the public would like to have as a housemate are as follows:

1.Kim Kardashian West – 62% (answered that they’d like to live with her)

2.Benedict Cumberbatch – 56%

3.Taylor Swift – 53%

4.Ed Miliband – 47%

5.David Beckham – 45%

6.Emma Watson – 41%

7.Jennifer Aniston – 40%

8.Ryan Gosling – 37%

9.Pharrell Williams – 34%

10.Zoella – 33%

The survey also asked respondents to select the celebrities they would least like to live with. Television personality and columnist Katie Hopkins beat UKIP party leader Nigel Farage and Glastonbury headliner Kanye West to the top spot, with nine in ten surveyed admitting they wouldn’t like to live with her. When asked to explain their choice, three quarters, 74%, said she’s too offensive.


Singer Justin Bieber, comedian Russell Brand and singer Miley Cyrus all also feature in the top ten, here:

1.Katie Hopkins – 88% (answered that they wouldn’t like to live with her)

2.Nigel Farage – 83%

3.Kanye West – 76%

4.David Cameron – 70%

5.Miley Cyrus – 73%

6.Justin Bieber – 66%

7.Piers Morgan – 62%

8.Russell Brand – 56%

9.Gwyneth Paltrow – 48%

10.Kristen Stewart – 43%

James Cunliffe, co-founder of said,

“We thought it’d be fun to find out which celebrities we’d most like to live with – and it turns out, as bad a rap as she often gets, enough of us would love to join Kim Kardashian in her glamorous lifestyle! With husband Kanye towards the top of the list of celebrities we’d least like to live with, it’s clear the couple divide opinion.

“Although the ten celebrities we’d least like to live with sounds like a collective houseshare we definitely wouldn’t want to be part of, it would make for the most interesting series of Celebrity Big Brother ever, we’re sure!” is a rental site specialising in London properties. With more than 50,000 properties to rent in London at any given time, and hundreds of letting agents, flatshare companies, online agents and private landlords each uploading thousands of properties throughout the day, live feeds ensure visitors get a comprehensive view of available property in the capital.


Discriminating against overweight flatshare applicants!London2let, 01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMTThree quarters of people seeking flatmates admit to discriminating against overweight applicants

According to the results of a survey of more than 1,500 people commissioned by a leading property website, the majority of people seeking flatmates discriminate against applicants for being overweight, foreign and ‘too old’.

The majority of people seeking a flatmate admit to discriminating against applicants, according to the results of a survey of 1,531 people commissioned by London-focused rental portal, with 73% saying they wouldn’t want to share a property with somebody that was overweight.

When asked ‘have you ever discriminated against an applicant based on anything other than their personality?’, the majority, 91%, said they had.

More than half, 57%, of male respondents said they would prefer a female flatmate, compared to just 13% of females that said they’d prefer a male flatmate.

When asked the multiple-choice question ‘for what reasons would you reject an applicant besides personality?’, the top 5 answers were as follows:


1.If ‘lacking in personal hygiene’ – 82%

2.If ‘overweight’ – 73%

3.If ‘too old’ – 71%

4.If ‘too attractive’ – 66%

5.If ‘too young’ – 51%

6.If ‘overdressed’ – 43%

7.If ‘ugly’ – 37%

8.If ‘too physically fit’ – 31%

9.If ‘foreign’ – 19%

10.If ‘too posh’ – 12%


The survey also asked respondents if a potential housemate’s sexuality would affect their decision to live with them, to which 46% said it would not. 26% said it ‘might’, whilst 28% said it would.

When asked ‘have you ever felt discriminated against when applying for a house or flatshare?’, two thirds of respondents, 65%, said that they had. is a rental site specialising in London properties. With more than 50,000 properties to rent in London at any given time, and hundreds of letting agents, flatshare companies, online agents and private landlords each uploading thousands of properties throughout the day, live feeds ensure visitors get a comprehensive view of available property in the capital.


James Cunliffe, co-founder of said,

“As our site is a means for people to connect with potential flatmates, we wanted to see what factors come into play when people make the big decision to pick a housemate.

“The results are, to be honest, shocking and the level of discrimination much higher than we imagined it would be for reasons besides the obvious and understandable issues of hygiene. With dozens of applicants on average for every vacant bedroom in London, the majority of people are seemingly scrutinising every aspect of a person, so very often, you could have been dismissed before so much as uttering a word.”

London Fringe LivingLizzie Greenway, 10 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMTGeneration Y are choosing unlikely living locations, avoiding the central postcodes and opting for the districts on the fringe of the city. This new trend seems to be gaining in popularity with the young and the wealthy of London. A new report by Knight Frank reveals that places like Whitechapel and Farringdon are rising in their desirability, alongside areas such as Shoreditch, Hoxton, City Road, Brixton and Earlsfield.

With good transport links and the draw of affordability, it means these areas are more accessible and therefore attractive residential areas for the young professionals of London.

Soaring house prices are encouraging those in their early to mid thirties to go to the outskirts of the city, priced out the market of the traditional areas their parents once aspired to live in. Real estate firm Savills’ research highlighted twenty areas where young professionals are currently choosing to live. Lucian Cook, Director of residential research at Savills, believes young people are “having to pioneer new areas to live”, moving away from the neighbourhoods that have previously been considered desirable, due to financial necessity.

But where are these areas? Whitechapel, the neighbourhood once synonymous with London’s famed serial killer ‘Jack the Ripper’, is the number one spot.  And interestingly 12 of the 20 areas are located in East London. We take a look at three of the most popular below.


Although the area may not offer the most attractive of buildings in comparison to other areas, the place in itself is a very pretty location. In terms of getting around it is in close proximity to the centre with good transport links, and it offers very good value for money. With the trendy Brick Lane, and quirky boutiques and bars, the area has to a lot to offer.

Whitechapel London

Whitechapel is amidst with history, once known for it’s tanneries and breweries, and then for it’s overpopulation and poverty, it is a transient area with an ever-changing mix of people. Known now for its art and music scene and its ethic diversity, there is a buzz to the area that attracts the young and trendy of the city.

The average property price is £465,514, a steal in comparison to areas such as Chelsea and Kensington. It is possible to find attractive Georgian and Victorian houses that survived the bombings of World War II in some areas of the neighbourhood. A convenient choice for those looking to rent, which has undergone considerable re-development, there is a wide range of rentals to choose from in the area.



Brixton in London

Once home to the infamous race riots through the 1980’s and 1990’s, the area offers nice Victorian townhouses and benefits from good transport links. Brixton now is home to many great restaurants and bars, and its nightlife is vibrant and full.

Renowned as an area where classes have historically fluctuated, prior to World War II it was inhabited by a middle-class population. After the war it became populated by immigrants and home to many riots due to the police ‘stop and search’ activities in the area, it is now returning to its middle class roots and the tensions have given way to calmness.

It is becoming trendier with the younger people of the city and many media and advertising types are tending to choose the area as their location of choice, its edginess offering a certain appeal.


Earlsfield Property in London 

Earlsfield has been gaining in popularity of late; it’s past reputation fading as demand in the transient property market rises. Notoriously a working class suburb in the past, seven miles southwest of the centre, it now offers green space, nice cafes, delis and affordable homes and satisfactory or good schools.

Those who desire to live in neighbourhoods such as Wimbledon and Clapham are discovering it may be a cheaper alternative whilst offering many of the same benefits the areas have to offer.

London Rental StandardLizzie Greenway, 01 May 2015 00:00:00 GMTIt is almost a year since the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, introduced the rental standard accreditation system. Launched in May 2014 to improve tenants and landlords experience and safeguard against mistreatment of those in rented accommodation. The scheme now currently has over 114,800 rentals signed up to the accreditation service.

One of the Mayor’s 2020s vision was to have a strategy in place that would improve the private rental sector of the city. Over 42,000 homes are set to be built a year to cope with the extensive population in the city, and to accommodate the forecasted future population boom; the scheme is hoped to help those who do and will rent in the city in the future.

The London Rental Standard is set to be integral to the rental market, with over two million tenants renting privately and roughly 30% of London being rental property, the rental market looks set to overtake the percentage of homeowners in the city by 2025. It is no wonder there is a drive to inform landlords and protect tenants alike, Johnson states that, “the Rental Standard is improving the experience of everyone involved with a clear code of good practice.”

The London Rental Standard has currently been joined by over 307 letting and managing agent bodies, and 14,139 landlords have signed up to date. Landlords who are signed up to the scheme are required to undertake a course learning about renting their property at least once every five years to stay accredited. The one-day cost requires them to sign a code of practice and the scheme costs roughly £90 for a days training.

But what are the scheme’s aims? Firstly, the scheme seeks to promote higher standards in the private rental market; in terms of landlords they are required to follow a minimum set of standards that will help safeguard tenants rights. These include transparency of fees, adhering to a minimum response period in relation to repairs, improved property conditions, and an insurance more effective communication takes place between tenants and landlords. Meeting these core commitments means landlords are better informed and can offer the best professional service, and tenants have consistent benchmarks that they can expect from their private rentals.

If these standards aren’t met tenants can complain directly to the accreditation scheme if they feel their landlord is falling short in terms of their professional standards. The independent accreditation schemes then have the capability to remove the London Rental Standard badge from the given landlord.

For landlords there are a number of accreditation boards that offer the scheme including, the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme; National Landlords Association; Residential Landlords Association; Association of Residential Letting Agents; National Approved Lettings Scheme; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the UK Association of Letting Agents.

However there have been concerns expressed since the scheme launched that its voluntary nature will mean poor landlords will be ambivalent to sign up to the professional standards. Six months after the scheme launched Tom Copley, the London Assembly Housing Spokesman, was scathing in his comments of the accreditation service, stating that, “the London Rental Standards is failing. Boris Johnson pledged to get 100,000 landlords signed up yet to date only 13,500 landlords have joined the scheme.” With 40% of private rentals documented as living in poverty in the city by Shelter, alongside rising rental prices, he voiced his concern that the scheme left tenants “at the mercy of landlords.”

But the scheme is not met by all with negativity, David Cox, Managing Director for the Association of Residential Letting Agents, believes “this bold initiative is designed to raise professional standards in the capitals private rented sector by providing a consistent benchmark of accreditation for consumers.”

With the Mayor hoping that by May 2016 the accreditation scheme will include 100,000 landlords only time will tell if the majority of those offering private rentals will follow suit and offer the best possible service to their tenants within the capital.


Modern Developments of LondonLondon2let, 22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMTWith a growing population of more than 8.6million people, money continues to be invested in new developments across the UK.s capital.  The demand for accommodation in London continues to soar and new build houses and apartments are without doubt are sure requirement for the future.  

All over the capital there is clear evidence of building refurbishment and new construction, much of which is accommodation that has already been sold prior to build.  

A continued input of foreign property investment is also still strong in the London region.

Popular Markets of LondonLondon2let, 29 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMTLondon markets have been a popular attraction for both both residents and visitors for many years but despite this there are still so many who are unaware where and when these take place. Areas all over London hold regular markets incluidng locations such as Camden and Brixton.

A variety of items can be found at london markets; Fresh food, Unique gifts, Furniture, Handmade Jewellery, Music, Flowers, Meats and exotic food from around the world.  

Local sales of this type truly are fantastic but they also provide a great day out, offering a different experience for those living or visiting the capital.

The Rising Across the RiverLizzie Greenway, 05 Mar 2015 19:30:37 GMTAlong the Thames, south of the river, rejuvenation is taking place, like a phoenix rising- ‘new London’ is emerging.  Historically, north of the Thames has always been more desirable, its popularity tangible just by glancing at a tube map; one can see the connectivity north of the river is incomparable to the south; with more than 200 tube stations north, the south has only around 30 tube stations.

But there is a transformation occurring, long gone is the wasteland and Oliver Twist characters associated with the geography of the area, and in its place an exciting new cultural hub, set to thrive. Apartments spanning from Wandsworth to Woolwich are seeing professionals and investors flock to the area. Largely credited with the development of Canary Wharf, the creation of the Jubilee Line, the Docklands Light Railway and the London overground. One area of particular interest is that of Nine Elms, below we take a look why…

Nine Elms

Situated between Vauxhall and Battersea in the borough of Wandsworth, there are a number of exciting developments taking place in the area, including the Tower, Merano, the New Covent Garden Market and the New Thames Bridge. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson estimates that the regeneration will create around 24,000 more jobs and 18,000 new homes.

Historically home to timber yards, gasworks and breweries, Nine Elms now looks set to be a destination filled with restaurants, boutiques and green parks, with foodies drawn to the New Covent Garden Market. It is thought the area will house concerts, exhibitions and fashion shows and with the Tate Britain very close it is the perfect location for a cultural exchange of the arts.

The New Covent Garden Market received planning permission for its development last year. The wholesale market has been a focal point for the capitals fruit, vegetables and floral trade since 1974. The 10-year project will cost roughly around two billion pounds, and will seek to put it on even footing with London’s other famous food market- London’s Borough Market. There will be 50,000 square feet of market space, with a new dedicated food quarter focused on attracting new visitors. The New Covent Garden Market currently homes 200 businesses, with at least 2,500 people employed.

Battersea Power Station is an iconic building and it’s development therefore all the more exciting, with it seeming to draw a great deal of interest from investors. The London landmark looks set to be completed in 2016, originally built in the early 1930’s, the power station closed in 1983; it’s now set to be developed into apartments, shops and offices.

The New Thames Bridge will be a pedestrian and cycle bridge that will adjoin Nine Elms to Pimlico across the river. The exhibition, showcasing some of the 70 plus entries that were received, took place at the end of last month in the area (one of the entries can be seen on the left). The designs include the incorporation of waterfalls, lights and are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and whatever the final design chosen it is sure to become a London landmark of the future.

Other notable developments set to take place within Nine Elms include The Tower, a residential building standing at 590 feet high; it will become one of Europe’s largest residential buildings. With a focus on sustainability and lowering environmental impact, the 56-storey tower has wind turbines on its roof.


Merano, once an office block in the 1960’s, will also house a range of new apartments, 34 in total, the 11-storey high rise building has a private sky garden and prides itself on the privacy of its tenants, it also boasts Harrods concierge as its service staff.

This area, once previously neglected, is a perfect location to explore the city, the Houses of Parliament are within walking distance and with a new tube station set to open in the area by 2020, it will be easier than ever to connect to other boroughs. Nine Elms was once associated with vagabonds, prostitutes, and pickpockets but is now likely to be known for its flash residential areas and as a hub for overseas investors in the future.

Living SmallLizzie Greenway, 27 Jan 2015 20:19:41 GMTAn increasing number of people are choosing to downsize; opting to live in a smaller home, the benefits of ‘tiny’ living have long been enjoyed in countries such as Japan and the concept is spreading to the West. Smaller living spaces cost less as naturally the bills are cheaper, meaning the cost of living is reduced as well as the environmental impact. The key is simplicity; to be innovative with spaces, de-clutter your life, as Leonardo Da Vinci once said “small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.” Below we take a look at some ‘tiny’ living spaces for inspiration.

This 280 square foot home was designed by Chris Heininge, the small space was transformed to include a kitchen, bathroom and even a bedroom on the first floor. The bedroom has ample space to fit a queen sized bed, whilst downstairs it comes equipped with a DVD player, microwave/oven, TV, stove and fridge. The bathroom even has a large closet for extra storage space and has had a Jacuzzi bath and shower fitted. The house itself is small enough to fit on a 20’ flat bed trailer, whilst the roof can be removed and the upper walls folded down so transportation is easier. This tiny home costs $70,000 in the US, which with current exchange rates would be roughly £46,000. The home can be shipped to Britain at the buyers expense.

The ‘Hermit cabin’ designed by Arvesund, a Swedish based company is the perfect ‘backyard home’, just one single room the hermits cabin’s exterior and interior is made from attractive barn timber. Each hermit cabin is custom made, with insulated floors, walls and roofs.









Studiomama beach chalet is another fine example of minimalist living, this 388 square foot beach hut was the brain child of London designer Nina Tolstrup. The beach hut has both a dining and living room area, a kitchen, bathroom, and the chalet benefits from two bedrooms. The beach chalet is elevated on stilts to prevent flooding and has a large front window with spectacular views of the sea.

This 205 square foot ‘Box Home’ manages to fit a living, dining, bedroom and bathroom area into a silver rectangular prism design. Clad with wood inside and its exterior covered in metal, it was designed by Sami Rintala. The inside of the prism is fairly dark, but this does nothing to deter from its striking modernistic look.

This ‘Single Hauz’ is a visually impressive design; modern and sleek this small home was designed by a Polish architectural firm called ‘Front architects’, this prototype is designed with a single person in mind. The raised design means the ‘single hauz’ can be built above water; made using concrete, steel and wood, the ‘single hauz’ is an attractive option for those wanting to opt for a simpler living space.


Larger homes have always been associated with wealth but as more and more people see the benefits of de-scaling and downsizing their lives, the rise in smaller properties and living spaces looks set to increase. As the Greek philosopher Socrates once said “the secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less,” as more embrace the benefits of smaller living spaces, it may herald the future of architectural design for homes.

London’s Flagship Stores Showcase their Creative Christmas DisplaysLizzie Greenway, 12 Nov 2014 16:51:40 GMTThis year London town flagship stores have come over all whimsical and seized all things magical and make-believe, enchanted forests, fairytales and festive fantasy. We take a look at some of the iconic department stores creative takes on this years Christmas.


400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1U 1AB

This year Selfridges have embraced the classic fairytale theme; their windows depict the stories of Sleeping Beauty, the Ugly Duckling, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Paddington Bear and Santa Clause. An installation with the words ‘Destination Christmas’ hangs above the Oxford Street entrance with a large Golden Goose at its centre. Inside the store 197,000 baubles in five different colours hang from the ceiling, alongside 1,005 decorated Christmas trees. The storytelling theme sees the Ugly Duckling depicted by a mannequin wearing an AF Vandevorst dress made with feathers. Sleeping Beauty is sat next to a spinning wheel, a spiders web hangs down behind her, with glamorous high heels and jewelled bags attached to it, under the warm hue of the lights the glow emitted from the golden spray paint they are all covered in is magical.

Linda Hewson, the creative director of Selfridges describes this year’s window display as “doing fairytales and enchanted stories with a Selfridges twist.”


87-135 Brompton Road, Kingsbridge, London. SW3 1RT

This year Harrods have transformed their store with their theme ‘The Land of Make Believe.’ The windows showcase International and British designer goods, including fashion, beauty and toys. Designers such as Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson were brought in store to revolutionize the Brompton Road store ready for Christmas. The collections displayed in the windows are flanked by large extravagant toys, such as teddy bears, a jack in the box, an army of toy soldiers, a rotating ballerina and a troupe of white mice dressed in Harrods traditional green uniform. The mice also feature in Harrods first animated film, which tells the story of Harrods famous Christmas lights that adorn the building every year. Deborah Bee Director of Creative Marketing said “The Land of Make Believe brings the festive magic of the store to life.”

Liberty of London

Regent Street, Soho, London. W1B 5AH

Following the trend of Christmas classics and magical touches that Harrods and Selfridges seem to have employed, Liberty’s windows this year depict the ‘12 days of Christmas’, the concept entitled ‘The Imaginarium’ sees the window displays interpretating the well known lines of the Christmas carol. Two turtle doves are realised by two taxidermy white doves that are embellished with crystals, they are taking flight off the back of an intricate silver and white sleigh. Rich blues, oranges and gold’s set against Narnia-esque whites, silvers and glitter, crystals and mirrors.

John Lewis

278-306 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1A 1EX

Oxford Street’s John Lewis store have incorporated their advertising campaign of the story of a little boy and his penguin friend Monty onto the rooftop or their store, which has been transformed into ‘Monty’s Winter Garden’ and inside the store John Lewis and Microsoft have collaborated to create ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine.’ Every window of the flagship store features Monty and his friends, coupled with the slogan ‘For the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’, whether it be Monty and friends frolicking on electrical appliances, baking up a storm in the kitchen or dancing alongside six mannequins modelling party wear. John Lewis embraced the theme of Monty the penguin this year, with an array of merchandise available in store too.

Harvey Nichols

109-125 Knightsbridge, London. SW1X 7RJ

Harvey Nichols launched Christmas with their ‘Into the Woods’ campaign, which sees sisters Snow White and Rose Red in a themed online fashion film, in dramatic fairy tale fashion. The store has rolled out the ‘Enchanted Forest’ theme in their Knightsbridge stores Christmas windows, with scenes depicting the fantasy woodland and mannequins transformed into woodland creatures. Dressed in must have designs from McQueen, Lanvin and many more, the mannequins are illuminated by beams of light reflecting off grand metallic tree trunks, that have been draped in this years most wanted accessories. The 3D forest scenes took 600 hours to build following a year in the planning, 210 Christmas trees also contribute to decorating the iconic store. Head of Display Janet Wardley said “we wanted to bring to life a fairytale landscape that makes you immerse yourself into the magic.”

It is beginning to look a lot like

In the market for a fast sale?Lizzie Greenway, 22 Oct 2014 10:39:39 GMTSelling your house can be a time-consuming affair lasting months, the average length of time across the UK is 65 days, places such as Powys in Wales have a much slower selling rate with the average sale taking a pain-staking 113 days. If you live in Cambridge, the fastest selling spot, you’re likely to sell your house within 27 days and Lewisham, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley in London also have very good selling potential, with property selling very quickly. However if you aren’t lucky enough to live in an area in demand there are a number of ways, which we’ve outlined below that can help to fast track the sale of your home.

1. Appearance

Technically your home is on the stage so it needs to look its best, company ‘Housewow’ is a home-staging firm available to hire, they recommend spending 2% of the asking price on sprucing your home up. It is worth deep-cleaning carpets, buying flowers, de-cluttering, plumping cushions, hiring furniture, painting the walls neutral colours and creating space.

2. Time and Flexibility

If you can keep your home looking its best at all times and are prepared to take viewings at very short notice, especially over the weekend, you’re increasing your chances of a quick sale. Listing your house on a Friday means that those planning their weekend house-hunt will see your property, as it will be at the higher end of the property search engines due to its recent listing. Also it helps if you can agree to move on a date that suits the potential new buyer, even if it is of an inconvenience for you, if you do as much as possible to please them it will increase your chances of a sale.

3. Price

It isn’t always best to go for the highest valuation believe it or not, although the appeal of the estate agent who says it is worth £10,000 more than the last is great, it can cost you money in the long run, if the market changes and your still sitting on the house a year later it could well have lost you that possible £10,000 and more. It is better to go with an agent with a strong portfolio of success in selling property like your own.

4. Broadcast

The more people who know you are selling the more likely you’ll find someone to sell to. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and of course word-of-mouth.

5. Pack up

Put your things away, the clutter of your daily life and the photos that record it aren’t appealing to a new home buyer, they want to envision their future home and by clearing out your memories it enables them to do so, if you can do this before the photos are taken by the agent all the better.

6. Area

If your not selling in a conservation area make your next investment in one, it is an almost guarantee for buyers and sellers that the value of houses in conservation areas are unlikely to drop.

7. Paperwork

Have the title deeds prepared, it is almost always delays in legalities that slow a sale down, if you’ve had an extension you’ll need to have evidence of the planning consent too. It is delays that give a prospective buyer the chance to re-consider and pull out so do everything in your power to minimize the risk of it occurring.

8. Communicate

Endlessly send emails every few days to all those involved: estate agents, solicitors, and surveyors. Approach the sale of your house as a business deal, if you treat it with professionalism and punctuality it will make others follow suit, they won’t want to look incompetent in front of others so will work hard not to.

9. Brochure

The quality and detailing of the brochure is important, it is worth including information on the neighbourhood, floor plans and a detailed description of each room. If the agent cannot do this find another one.

10. Incentives

Consider offering the agent a very small percentage if they manage to exchange within six weeks, say an additional 0.5%, it could be the impetus they need to ensure you a fast sale

Peckham- No Longer for Only FoolsLizzie Greenway, 04 Aug 2014 20:45:11 GMTWhy Now?

In fact, Peckham has long ago shifted the idea it was ‘only for fools’, if you have money to invest it is best to put historical prejudices aside and seriously consider the area of South-East London; with crime and murder no longer defining the area, it has been attracting a new crowd from Shoreditch and East London. With trendy bars and pop-up summertime hangouts and an evolving art scene it is the place to be. The closeness of the art schools in New Cross and Camberwell has attracted a new set that only further encourages the big art scene.

There is a new middle-class vibe to Peckham, with an overflow of buyers from East Dulwich and Clapham, and with spacious parks, excellent schools and cheap property it is attracting more and more families.

What investment is there in the area?

Peckham has already benefited from investment in the late 90’s, with the demolition of many old council estates and a variety of private investment, there is a vast variety of bars, restaurants, galleries, cafés and boutique shops.

The ten-storey Peckham Rye car park is being called upon by a group of young artists to be transformed into an arts centre, with the £10 million pound project estimated to create 500 new jobs.

There are also plans to refurbish the Peckham Rye station and rumours of pedestrianising Rye Lane that is still awash with pound shops.

According to the premier estates GJM Gareth James Property in the area Peckham is the “hottest investment spot in the UK for properties under £1.5 million”.

Where to buy?

Peckham has some fantastic architecture, for instant the Georgian and Victorian houses situated on Bellenden Road, once an area best avoided reach up to and more than £1 million pounds these days. SE15 is an area where there are numerous growth opportunities so it is good for those looking to invest. North Peckham could be a wise investment; Queen’s Road prices are still relatively low but should still see a hike following regeneration of the area. In terms of a buy-to-let portfolio Peckham is invaluable, with the rent yields above the London average.

Transport Links

Peckham has benefited by the East London line extension, on the new over ground service you can reach London Bridge within 7-10 minutes, Victoria within 13 minutes. Direct trains also run to Kings Cross within 23 minutes, as well as Blackfriars, St Pancreas, Farringdon and Elephant and Castle.

Its close proximity to London Bridge also makes Peckham attractive, as it is easy to reach The South Bank, where visits to The Tate Modern, The London Eye and The Globe Theatre always prove popular.

Lovely London this JulyLizzie Greenway, 06 Jul 2014 16:56:16 GMTThe City is enjoying lighter evenings and finer weather and what better way to enjoy the delights of London this summer than to visit one of the following attractions the City has to offer.


Lovebox festival is held over two-days in East London’s Victoria Park, this year the festival takes place over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July. This year’s headliners are Chase & Status; arguably the UK’s biggest electronic act. Lovebox festival is now in its 11th year outdoors after beginning in 2002 in London’s night club 93 Feet East, founded by Groove Armada, the festival has grown steadily over the past decade. Lovebox’s line-up this year includes Katy B, David Rodigan, Knytro and A$AP Rocky, Nas, M.I.A and Soul II Soul. The festival takes place daily from 7am until dusk, see for more details.

Somerset house Summer Series

One of London’s most spectacular settings for live music is Somerset House, and now in it’s fifth year in partnership with American Express the Summer Series is back from the 10-20th July. Headliners this year include Bastille, Franz Ferninand, The Cat Empire and Daughter. The Summer Series opens daily at 19:30, with general admission costing £28.50 plus a booking fee. For more information see

London Zoo Late

London Zoo late night openings begun in June and continue every Friday in July, with admission from 18:00 and tickets costing £17.50, (or £38 with a drink, queue jump and animal mask) there are events in the Zoo including talks, comedy, theatre, carousel rides and an acoustic stage. There are 175,000 animals in London Zoo and July is an opportunity to visit them during the balmy summer evenings. Alongside the main attraction of the animals there is wine tasting, pop-up bars and street food vendors. London late nights in the Zoo are for age 18+, for more information visit their website at

BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall

Penned as one of the greatest classical music festivals the first night of the Proms begins on July 18th and opens with Elgar’s biblical oratorio ‘The Kingdom’, lasting two months in total this year will commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war, the focus being on the works of many wartime composers and as well as music and songs that document the conflict. For information on how to purchase tickets please see

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Held in Hampton Court Palace from 8th July to 13th this summer, it is the largest annual flower show of its kind. Not only can you gaze at the beautiful floral displays but you can also pick up tips of gardening and how to grow your own fruit and vegetables, the effect of climate change on your gardens and appropriate garden products to purchase.

There are roughly fifty gardening displays, including water gardens and innovative garden designs. The marquees are filled with hundreds of the best flowers the UK has to offer and floristry is a large part of the six-day event. For more information visit

An over-night stay with a differenceLizzie Greenway, 03 Jun 2014 21:45:28 GMTLooking for a romantic night away in a hotel with a twist? We’ve found the following four hotels across Europe, which will mean your vacation is one with a difference; from a private Fort, to a cave, a hotel made entirely from salt and a suite set 155 metres underground.


The abandoned caves of the Basilicata village in the South of Italy have been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel over the past ten-years. The caves are a designated part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The ‘Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita’ hotel is situated in eighteen caves in total, all of which are known to have been inhabited for the past 2,500 years: since the Bronze Age.

The hotel is just part of the buildings that have been carved into the mountainside; the Sassi, which literally translates to ‘rocks’. The hotel is the brainchild of Swedish-Italian entrepreneur Daniel Kihlgren, his vision means the caves interiors have been kept minimalistic with a touch of luxury including candles, fireplaces, deep bath tubs and windows with spectacular views of the Italian hills.

The dining area is set in the 13th-century church, Cripta della Civita, where you can enjoy a locally sourced breakfast; the hotel is the perfect romantic setting, with double rooms from £150 per night.

No Man’s Land Fort in the sea is a hotel that is only accessible via helicopter or speed boat, with neighbours no less than a mile away it is an escape that could be straight from a Bond movie. The private island was built between 1867 and 1880 and will open as a resort to members of the public this autumn. The property is Grade II listed, with 22 bedrooms, a gym, nightclub, rooftop hot poll, a museum and a poolroom. The fort lies in the Solent between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and was originally built to house roughly 80 soldiers as protection in the event of an attack from the French Navy. The resort is currently on the lookout for a manager before its launch later in the year.


The ‘Palacio del Sal Hotel’ in Bolivia is completely constructed from salt, with the majority of walls, floors, ceilings and furniture all made from the white substance. The hotel is located in the Port of Colchani, just 25km away from the city of Uyuni and on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. The hotel is constructed of around 1 million 14-inch salt blocks; guests can relax inside the hotel in the sauna, steam room or saltwater pool and whirlpool rooms, although they are prohibited from licking the walls, as it may cause degradation of the hotel. The hotel sleeps up to 48 guests at any given time, with prices starting from £85 a night.

A visit to Sala Silvermine, Sweden could mean a visit to the world’s deepest hotel room, in such that as a guest you will sleep 155 metres underground in a previous working mine. It is cold, dark and damp but beautiful, maybe best avoided by those who suffer claustrophobia though. Winding galleries and deep cavities surround the Mine’s suite; guests need to wear warm clothing, as it is only 2 degrees Celsius in the mine, although the suite is a comfortable 18 degrees. A member of staff is contactable throughout your stay above ground via an intercom radio and bathroom facilities are situated 50 metres from the mine suite.

Six places to consider when buying-to-let?Lizzie Greenway, 19 May 2014 18:09:56 GMT

Nunhead is bustling with young professionals and young families, with a busy high street and the cemetery offering spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral it offers a slightly cheaper alternative to investment than East Dulwich and Peckham. The average property value in Nunhead is £511,142, with flats available around the £250,000 mark. Transport wise Victoria station is only 15 minutes away and St Pancras 25 minutes.

KFH Estates agent recently sold the one bedroom flat on Kirkwood Road, pictured left, for £250,000.



This residential spot is popular with those in their twenties and recent property developments in Canada Water have

benefited the area. Sellar Property Group, the creators behind London’s famous ‘Shard’ also plan to build 1,030 new homes in the area, alongside new shops, a cinema and play areas. The Daily Mail’s Harmsworth Quay print works will undergo development, introducing a further 1,000 homes if ‘British Land’s’ get the go ahead. The average property price in Rotherhithe is £411,052, however there are cheaper options available. There is an over ground station and Canada Water tube station nearby links to Victoria within 20 minutes.

The one bedroom flat pictured below, is on Rotherhithe New Road, Surrey Quays with a guide price of £304,000.



Forest Hill

Forest Hill is a very affordable area and with the overground train you can be in the thick of it in Central London within 30 minutes, not only is SE23 convenient it also has an array of very attractive Victorian houses. Investors and first-time buyers may consider looking into Horniman Gardens where homes enjoy fantastic views of London. The average property costs £362,783 making SE23 a desirable investment. The overground from Croydon comes through Forest Hill before heading north to Shoreditch and Highbury.                       The two-bedroom Georgian house for sale below is on the market for £600,000 and includes an attractive 61ft garden.




The average asking price of £300,000 is attracting an array of buyers- old and new, first-time and investors. Morden boasts 120 acres of Parkland and the River Wandle runs through it, there are a variety of leisure facilities in the area and it is home to one of the largest mosques in Europe. The Morden underground is on the Northern Line so transport to the city is convenient. This attractive three-bedroom semi-detached is open to offers over £360,000.


Once a run-down East London borough, Walthamstow now houses a lot of middle-class families, with its links to outdoor spaces such as Epping Forest, it is a big pull for those with children. There is a close community focused around Walthamstow village, where there are a large number of shops and restaurants. The average property price is £282,142 and Walthamstow Central is only around 20 minutes to Oxford Circus.

This first floor one-bedroom flat on Stocksfield Road is a fantastic investment opportunity and is priced at £180,000.





Before the 1990’s Wapping was a sought after address, however it was somewhat left behind with no notable development of the restaurants and retail shops, the once charming cobbled streets, inns and wharves appeared depleted. However change is on the horizon with the development of ‘Fortress Wapping’, the former print works of News International, it is part of the 15 acre space that will be redeveloped into London Dock, with a quarter that will see 1,800 new houses, cafes, squares, restaurants and a new school. At the same time Tobacco Dock, a listed warehouse complex, will be turned into what developers hope to be the ‘Covent Garden of the East End’, with an array of hotels and boutique shops. Pictured below is an artist’s impression of the re-developed print works.












Property Price PotentialLizzie Greenway, 08 Apr 2014 23:22:49 GMTA look at what to consider when buying-to-let in London 2014

 Why should I invest in property in London?

With low savings rates and the uncertain stock market the buy-to-let market in London has become an attractive prospect for those looking to invest their money. With rising rents and improvement in mortgage deals, buyers are being tempted once more but where is the best place to buy-to-let and what should investors consider? Below we look at the city’s investment potential for the forthcoming years.

Currently investment in London is global, Foxtons predict that the capital value of the buy-to-let property in the centre of London will see growth of around 25% by 2017, whilst rents will simultaneously rise, hence the substantial worldwide interest in the capital. In the second half of 2013, BM Solutions (part of Lloyds Banking Group and one of the UK’s biggest buy-to-let lenders) recorded the average rental per month in London at £1,417, in contrast to £701 in the rest of the UK, this was a considerable increase of 10% on rental yields in comparison to the second half of 2012. Buy-to-let purchases grew across the whole country by 28% in the latter part of 2013, and property consultants CBRE predict house prices in London are set to increase by 35% over the next five years, showing the investment trend is both wise and on the rise.

Is regeneration taking place within the City?

There are currently over 2,000 housing schemes under construction or in the later planning stages in London, coupled with new transport links that are expected to provide a boost in employment, it means there will be a lot of fresh opportunities to invest. But where are these improving neighbourhoods? The City is affected by micro-markets, factors such as good or outstanding schools can impact property prices significantly or rental demand dramatically in an area. Districts that will benefit from regeneration in areas such as the arts will also see a higher demand for living space, and it is worth noting areas that are yet to realise their property price potential- those that are still awaiting crucial development, which may in turn see the value of their properties rocket as well as their rental value.

‘Homes and Property’ suggest that six inner London boroughs undergoing regeneration are worthy of investment; these are Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Newham, and Wandsworth, half of the 278,000 new homes, which are planned to be built in London over the next ten-years will be built in these areas.

The Major’s Homes for London strategy proposes 10 new housing zones, although the city is currently in the middle of a building boom the city is still facing a housing shortage with London’s population set to hit 9 million people by 2020. Boris Johnson’s ‘Homes for London’ strategy aims to speed up the new builds. The strategy seeks to use all available space in the city to provide much needed housing. Under the strategy ten designated ‘housing zones’ are set to be created, within these given zones planning criteria will be relaxed, with additional tax breaks to accelerate the building process allowed.

It is predicted price surges over the following three years will also be seen in what Savills refer to as “the outer prime market”, as well as the areas mentioned above, places such as Vauxhall, King’s Cross, White City, Farringdon, South Bank, Wapping, Earl’s Court, Elephant and Castle, and Clapham Old Town are all set to be wise investment moves. With improvement of infrastructure and the pull of the shorter commute these areas are set to see an increase in demand.

What should I look for when buying-to-let?

According to Ludlow Thompson smaller flats often yield higher returns than larger ones, especially in areas with high tenant demand, such as students. Rental family houses tend to do less well so it may be better avoided as an option for first-time investors in the city. When buying-to-let it is important to be aware of the low mortgage rates, if interest rates rise you need to be aware that your rental income will weather the storm. Often wise investment is made in areas that will not ‘go out of fashion’, when buying-to-let it is important to ask the following questions:

-Is there a predicted rise in property prices expected in the area over the next few years?

-Are the properties affordable at the moment?

-Are there potential future investment opportunities in the area?

If the answer is affirmative for all three it may be just the area to consider a buy-to-let in they city.





















Innovative StaircasesLizzie Greenway, 19 Feb 2014 10:55:23 GMTStairs and ladders have been around since prehistoric times arguably they are one of the oldest builds in architectural history, first emerging as a solution to a problem, their function to establish a connection between two spaces on different levels. These day’s staircases are a long way from merely functional, these innovative staircases or alternatives below are interactive, activity based and in some cases architecturally striking, proving that the staircase is no longer just a means to an end.

The Staircase Slide

Arguably the most enjoyable way to travel from upstairs down, these staircase slides are sure to keep not only the children entertained.

Alex Michaelis Slide side-by-side

London architect Alex Michaelis designed this staircase with a slide from wood, which is a pure fusion of functionality and fun.

Korean architecture firm ‘Moon Hoon’ were hired to design this home modern family home in Korean, central to the home’s design is the staircase that is designed to accommodate a variety of children’s activities, alongside the usual staircase for adults the children they have built in book cases on each step and a slide adjoining, so they can play and read all at the same time.

David Hotson’s slide

This designer bypassed steps entirely when it came to travelling downstairs in his Manhattan apartment. The tubular slide is made from steel shoots and travels through a whole four storeys in this penthouse apartment in New York. Situated in Lower Manhattan, the slide starts at the top of the penthouse apartment in the attic room, travellers climb into a circular hole before plummenting through the polished stainless steel slide, they can choose to exit at the next floor where the slide briefly stops or they can continue downwards through the next three floors where they arrive in the apartment living room.

The Staircase Hammock

When architects in Oporto, Portugal needed to utilise space in a two-floor apartment they included a large hammock set over the staircase in their design. Architects OODA designed the staircase hammock so it could be accessed from the second floor, the hammock over looks the balcony window so you can enjoy the view whilst you lie back and relax, although it maybe not for the fearful of heights. 






The Staircase Aquarium

This aquarium staircase was designed by Diapo’s designers, the stairs wrap around the 4m diameter by 15 meter high aquarium, the aquarium staircase concept was part of a project for UK firm ‘Julian Hunter Architects’. The helical glass staircase allows you to enjoy the aquarium as you ascend or descend the stairs. The staircase aquarium was made using 40mm thick toughened laminated glass for a private client near to the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.





The Wine Storage Staircase

Many homes utilise a staircase for storage or as a work area but why not make the most of that empty space and install an attractive wine rack for your bottles as opposed to the traditional cellar. 






If you prefer an older more traditional staircase has a huge array of architectural salvage.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….Lizzie Greenway, 10 Dec 2013 13:51:10 GMTDraw inspiration from these famous London Department store fronts this Christmas and transfer that festive feeling into your property this December. With under three weeks until the big day it’s time to deck the halls, but rather than the traditional boughs of holly, why not try some of these alternative ideas that are adding a little touch of magic to London’s streets over Christmas.

Fortnum and Mason

181, Piccadilly, St James, London. W1A 1ER

Known for its old, grand, traditional, royal-esque Christmas displays, the unveiling of Fortnum and Mason’s Christmas windows is an event in itself. This years theme is ‘Where Dreams Come True’, the nostalgic imagery displayed along its shop frontage conjures up simplistic, childhood thoughts of the festive period- among the window displays are large Christmas trees, Carol singers, sleighs, cherubs, ice skaters, red, white and gold baubles with sparkling white lights. The windows are described by the famous store as “a snapshot of everyone’s favourite moment”. With a 1950’s air the retro details, simplicity, coal fires, roaring stoves and mothers dressed in aprons, makes you remember Christmas’ from childhoods past.


87-135 Brompton Road, Kingsbridge, London. SW3 1RT

Harrods Christmas department store opens 158 days before the day itself and their Santa’s Grotto is legendary, inside the store you’ll find plenty of extravagant gifts to decorate your home, including a life sized Father Christmas for £3,999. This year Harrods Christmas window took over 500 hours to build, inspired by the quaint-essential British steam train, each carriage of the magical Harrods express displays the stores wares. Among the showcase is a Ralph and Russo Swarovski-covered dress costing £80,000. Brimming with glamorous opulence, the window features 60 Christmas trees, hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights, you can purchase the baubles featured in the festive window display for £3.95 in store, thus taking a little of Harrods magic into your home.


400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1U 1AB

With over 120 different advent calendars for sale before December began, 2,000 Union Jack baubles, life-sized polar bears (priced at £1,599), red telephone boxes and Santa’s of realistic proportions Selfridges doesn’t scrimp when it comes to the season of giving. The ‘Lost London’ fantasy cityscape inside Selfridges this year is made entirely from gingerbread, a tribute to architecture lost to history or never built, the gingerbread buildings include Old London Bridge, Euston Arch, as well as the-never-built Glass Tower Bridge. The scene involves snowmen playing and a massive snow globe, the gingerbread buildings are created next to the River Thames, which is created with 80 litres of flowing syrup. The ‘Wish List’ theme includes oversized Christmas gifts in the other windows, with giant shoes, perfume bottles, handbags, headphones and playdoh.

 Liberty of London

Regent Street, Soho, London. W1B 5AH

Christmas begins in September in Liberty’s and the moment you walk through the door you are dazzled by the glittering walkway of sparkling lights that are draped from the ceilings. The store is filled with divine Christmas crackers, crafts and decorations, if not a little pricey but many are keepsakes for the years that follow. This years theme for Liberty’s Christmas displays is based upon ‘an exploding cracker’, with plenty of shine, shimmer and sparkle, lighting is central to the theme, the store has tried to create the burst of excitement, the spark that is ignited in all of us during the festive period. Above the stores main entrance you’ll find a giant cracker bursting opening, inside the store you’ll find all its beautiful offerings this season.

John Lewis

278-306 Oxford Street, Marylebone, London. W1A 1EX

With tailor-made Christmas gift categories in store, John Lewis has made it easier than ever to find the perfect gift for your loved ones this year. Known for its classic sophiscation John Lewis’ has opted for an animal themed winter wonderland window collection this year, with over 188 animals created using over 7,000 products. There are deer made from dyson hoovers, a bear made using furniture, a turkey made entirely from towels and penguins created using kettles. The innovative display is full of charm and fun and is the perfect accompaniment to support the delightful ‘Hare and the Bear’ television advert.

Harvey Nicholas

109-125 Knightsbridge, London. SW1X 7RJ

For a refined shopping experience and even a bit of celebrity spotting Harvey Nicholas is the department store to head to in the city, with excellent Christmas hampers brimming with the best wine, champagne and Christmas puddings from across the globe, this years festive window combines fashion and fantasy. With angelic mannequins adorned in the stores top fashion pieces, there is a modern stained glass window with snowflakes and stars galore.


Unusual Christmas RetreatsLizzie Greenway, 26 Nov 2013 17:40:03 GMTWant to escape from it all this December but fancy somewhere a little quirky, away from everyday life? Why not take a Christmas holiday in one of the following…

The Gingerbread House 

Based in Sussex, the Meadow Keeper’s Cottage is a delightful country cottage with a difference. The crooked cottage was built by hand using locally sourced wood, described as a ‘higgledy piggledy cottage on wheels” it can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children, its amenities include a dining table, indoor cooker and sink, a wardrobe and a wood burner. Outside there is a fire pit to keep warm during chilly nights and an outdoor dining area. Located between two wildflower meadows it is the perfect place to cosy up this festive season. From £100 a night.


The Majestic Bus

Situated in a flowered garden in Hay-on-Way this converted panoramic bus enjoys breathtaking views over the Herefordshire countryside. The vintage bus accommodates 4 people, the bus conversion includes a hand-crafted kitchen/dining area with oak worktops. The bus is fitted with a double bed, wood-burning stove and a sofa. There is an outside decked area where you can have a roaring fire, there is a purpose built bath house located a few metres away from the bus. From £105 per night.

Belle Tout Lighthouse

This lighthouse dating back to 1832 is a B&B with a difference. If blustery walks on sweeping cliff paths is your thing, a stay at Belle Tout Lighthouse on Beachy Head is ideal. The lighthouse boasts 360 degree views of the English channel. Each room is themed, including ‘The Keepers Loft’ and ‘The Captains Cabin’ amongst the six bedrooms. There is a minimum of a 2 night stay and prices begin at £145 per night for two people.

Auberge 4 Aux Vents

For a whimsical vacation head to Switzerland this Christmas, a stay at the Auberge 4 Aux Vents is to experience a boutique hotel with a difference. Decorated with unusual quirky additions, there are eight rooms, some with bottled dreams or garden gnomes for company, or the piece de resistance- a roll out bath tub on tracks so you can bathe on the balcony beneath the stars. A room for two begins at €100 per night.


Haunting HalloweenLizzie Greenway, 29 Oct 2013 15:13:15 GMTWhen witches go riding,? and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers,?‘tis near Halloween. ~Author Unknown 

As British Summer Time ended over the weekend and the capital as well as the rest of the country was hit by St Jude’s storm, the bright, light days we’ve enjoyed over the past few months have quickly become a distant memory. But with winter comes festivities of other sorts including Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night to look forward to in the city over the coming week. But where do these traditions originate? And what is there to do in London to make the most of them? We’ve taken a look at the origins of Halloween and where to make the most of the Witching Hour this Thursday.

Halloween is thought to have developed around the Gaelic festival of Samhain, when the light of the year becomes darkness. Pagans believed that during this time of the year; where fields were harvested and livestock killed ready for winter- that the worlds of the living and dead became blurred, allowing spirits to pass through the supernatural world into the present. The tradition of wearing spooky outfits may have derived from this idea- dressing up is thought to have scared ghosts away.

Halloween is a shorten version of All Hallows’ Even, All Hallows is an old term for All Saints’ Day, tradition has it that gifts were given to the poor on All Saints Day- beggars would pray for the souls of the dead for food- disguising as a ghoul or ghost was thought to help fool evil spirits who appeared during these prayers- it is unclear whether this practice transcended trick or treating but this is where it is thought to have derived from.

There are an array of events in the city over Halloween this Thursday where you can celebrate the traditions and scare yourselves silly, from the spooky to the extremely gory.

London Dungeon

Tuesday 29th October to Sunday November 3rd, sees 18 spooky set ups for some terrifying performances, including Jack the Ripper and The Pumpkineer, prices start from £21.95 per adult but you will need to book in advance. For one night only, the Dungeon will be open on Friday November 1st until 10pm for a night of spooky scares, this night is sure to frighten even the bravest. You’ll be transported back to London’s streets; littered with rats, corpses, vomit and the threat of the Plague. Sweeney Todd, Guy Fawkes, Jack the Ripper and Henry VIII will all star as you get lost in the Victorian sewers or board a virtual boat trip down the Thames to the destination of an execution. The Dungeon After Dark costs £22 per adult and showings are at 19:15/19:30/19:45 pm.

London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB


Witch Academy

London Eye is turned into a witches hovel for this spooky story- the High Witch Priscilla and the ghastly Grimly Grim both star. The ride costs £19.20 for adults and £12.30 for children aged 4-15, a family ticket for two adults and two children can be purchased for £63. Perfect to get in the mood whilst you enjoy views across the city. From Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 2nd November.

EDF Energy London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, SE1 7PB


Surgical Horrors

A feast of gory clips and extracts taken from horror films and literature. The talk by Professor Ian Conrich and Justin D Edwards examines our morbid curiousity with blood and gore in fiction, including a look at Frankenstein and many more. From £6.20 per adults, the show starts at 6pm on the 31st including refreshments.

Surgical Horrors, Old Operating Theatre Museum, 9a St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY 

Schemes to solve the housing shortageLizzie Greenway, 14 Oct 2013 20:15:05 GMT 

As housing prices in the city continue to soar and the cost of renting increases, many face the predicament of being both unable to buy and rent, so what is the solution?  A number of schemes across the country are proposing new initiatives that will bridge the gap between the increasing population and not enough houses being built to accommodate such numbers, whilst tackling the issue of expense.

Companies and architects are hoping to develop the idea of compact housing, London developer ‘Pocket Living’ designs sell for roughly 20% below the current market value in the capital and are available to purchase across Lambeth, Camden, Hammersmith and Ealing in Spring 2014. Whilst architectural firm Levitt Bernstein have proposed a scheme known as ‘Pop-up HAWSE.’ The firm have put forward plans to help solve the city’s housing shortage, namely by converting small garages in Dalston into small homes, with tenants paying a mere £11 a week to rent them. The proposals, as pictured below, recently won The Building Trusts housing design competition for encouraging sustainable architecture in areas of deprivation.

Compact housing has been taken to another level in North-east London where shipping containers originating from China have been turned into makeshift homes. The mypads cost £20,000 each and are available to rent for £75 a week, they come complete with air conditioning, flat-screen TV’s and en-suite bathrooms.

Micro-flats that are less than 200 square foot, in some instances, also seem to be growing in popularity alongside the ‘flat pack’ home. Flat pack houses are generally built in factories before being transferred to a plot of land; of late councils have dodged the problem of expensive land acquisition for such schemes by leasing land to get around the problem.

In Tottenham, work has just began to turn disused factories into hundreds of new homes, suggesting that the answer may lie in developing disused buildings across the city. The once industrial warehouses will now be developed into 260 houses and flats. Independent charity ‘Empty Houses,’ are campaigning to develop vacant houses and flats across London, with the hope to bring them back into use. A look at the website sees properties in Dulwich, Westminster and Elephant and Castle, among the London boroughs with numerous empty properties, which have fallen into disrepair and sit unoccupied.

But even if regeneration takes place it may not solve the financial gap between people’s salaries and the opportunity of ownership in the Capital. This week in Liverpool saw the council try to tackle just that with the ‘House for a pound’ scheme, in a bid to regenerate certain areas of the city, the council is hoping to bring 179 houses back to a reasonable living standard. The scheme that saw local taxi driver, Jayalal Madde, receive his keys this week in exchange for a pound requires applicants to live and work in Liverpool, be first time buyers and employed. In turn they are required to front the money to transform their houses, which is thought to cost each buyer around £35,000, and live there for at least five years. So far there have been over a thousand applicants with ten people already successful in acquiring homes for a pound under the scheme.

Liverpool is not the first city to trial such an initiative, with Stoke-on-Trent City Council launching an application earlier in the year to sell 35 rundown houses for a pound each. With numerous properties in the capital empty and in need of regeneration, helping those who are employed in the city and hoping to get on the property market develop deprived areas through affordable investment may be one of the solutions.

Designer Property of the Late Versace up for AuctionLizzie Greenway, 06 Aug 2013 16:20:29 GMTMany of us dream of living like the rich and famous but what if you were able to live where they once did, with fabulous designer labels and on-trend furnishings at your finger tips- now one lucky buyer could, in the home of one of the fashion worlds most famous abodes, that of the late Gianni Versace.

Gianni Versace’s mansion in Florida is currently up for auction after failing to sell in the past year. The fashion designer’s home, who was tragically shot dead by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997 on his front steps, still bears all the hallmarks of his presence there. Versace logos and gold tilled pools, as well as golden medusa heads welcome you at the gates. The auction for the former designers home will take place on September 17th and the minimum bid is currently set at $25 million.

The property hasn’t been owed by the Versace family since 2000, three years after his death when they first sold it, but the current owners are still hoping to cash in on Versace’s legacy.

To even view the premises those buyers who are interested are required to sign a confidentiality agreement alongside proof of sufficient financial wealth to seal the deal. Versace once said, “Comfort is very important to me. I think people live better in big houses.”  And this it is; big, among its features the house boasts a swimming pool lined with gold tiles, views of the ocean, murals by Versace himself, gold bathroom features and a rooftop observatory. The building is considered by many as a Miami landmark and many tourists flock to South Beach to have photos taken at the entrance. The asking price prior to auction currently stands at $75 million.

Versace’s old home is not the only house with famous fashion ties in Miami Beach, this modern construction pictured below was recently commissioned by Luca Formilli Fendi, of the fashion giant Fendi, and is located on one of the artificial Venetian Islands in Biscayne Bay, with breathtaking views of Miami Beach and floor to glass ceiling glass walls it is a designers haven.

Summer in the CityLizzie Greenway, 02 Jul 2013 15:50:02 GMTCharles Bowden once said “Summertime is always the best of what might be” and as the temperatures hopefully rise, the nights remain long and peoples mood’s lift it is the ideal time to make the most of the outdoors in the city and explore what London has on offer this season.

The world famous Wimbledon Tennis Championships is currently in full swing,  having begun on Monday June 24th and not finishing until this Sunday July 7th. Held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, if you are prepared to queue you may well catch a glimpse of the UK favourite Andy Murray, who many hope will put Britain out of 74 years of misery this summer and bring the tournaments trophy home. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to get tickets on one of the courts, why not enjoy some strawberries and cream and soak up the atmosphere from the comfort of your home. (2013 Wimbledon Championships, The All England Tennis Club, Church Road, London, SW19 5AE)


Where better to while away the hours than in one of London’s beautiful parks, there is an array of events over the coming months including Barclaycard British Summer Time at Hyde Park, which sees one of London’s most famous parks playing host to a number of exciting events including performances by world famous acts such as Elton John, Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones. Barclaycard British Summer Time runs from 28th June to 13th July, during the weekdays there will be the opportunity to enjoy films, literature, music, sports and a family day. Regents Park Open Air Theatre is in its 81st year this summer, you can see Jane Austen’s classic ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that began showing on June 20th and finishes on July 20th. If you would rather just bask in the sunshine you can hire a deckchair in one of the city’s Royal Parks and simply watch the world go by.

(Barclaycard British Summer Time, Hyde Park, North East corner, W2 2UH)

(Regents Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Westminster, NW1 4NU)

Up until October you can take to the water and Hire a Boat on the Serperntine, each boat takes up to six people so you can make a day of it with friends. If getting wet takes your fancy why not have a dip at any one of London’s outdoor pools; there are three outdoor pools open to ladies, men and mixed groups at Hampstead Heath, children aged eight to fifteen-years-old are welcome if accompanied by an adult, originally these pools were dammed off clay pits but are now enjoyed by plenty of swimmers. If you fancy a spot of lunch after your swim, head to Brockwell Lido, this 50 metre pool is the perfect setting if you want to replenish your hunger after a rigorous workout, the cafe situated in the Grade II building overlooking the lido was voted the ‘Best Park Café’ in 2011 by London’s Time Out’s Eating and Drinking Guide.

(The Serpentine, Serpintine Road, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH)

(Hampstead Heath Pond, Staff Yard, Highgate Road, London, NW5 1QR)

(Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PA)

Make the most of the drawn out evenings and watch the sunset overlooking London’s Big Ben, whilst enjoying a delicious cocktail in one of London’s Rooftop Bars, head to Radio Rooftop Bar where you can sip on your drink ‘Sex and the City’ style whilst lounging on one of the big sofas under the space heaters. Music is in no short supply as there is a DJ to entertain as the day draws to an end. If food is more your thing, make the most of Alfresco Dining without spending hours turning meat on the BBQ, head to The Garden Grill at Bloomsbury’s ‘The Montague’, where the chef sees to the cooking whilst you sit back and enjoy it straight from the grill.

(Radio Rooftop Bar, 336-337, Strand, London, WC2R 0EZ)

(The Garden Grill, The Montague on the Gardens, 15 Montague Street, London, WC1B 5BJ)


Sadly, as Shakespeare wrote “Summer's lease hath all too short a date,” but whilst the Autumn months remain in the distant future, you’ve still got plenty of time to make the most of what the city has to offer. 

The Rise of the Iceberg HouseLizzie Greenway, 11 Jun 2013 15:44:49 GMTAs more and more people are driven by the need for space, particularly in cramped inner-city London, extensions and the construction industry are becoming increasingly innovative, people are no longer building up and out but rather down, creating unseen living areas below their houses.

Iceberg houses extend up to three or four floors deep underground, where anything from cinemas, gyms, wine cellars, games rooms and swimming pools are installed. The trend to extend downwards began in the city, namely seeing homes in Hampstead, Kensington and Chelsea building below but it looks set to become common place further a field in the country.

For example in Sandbank, Poole, it is estimated that half of all of the large detached homes in the area have had basement extensions, Kingswood in Surrey is also another area that is embracing basement extensions. Sarah Beeny, Property Ladder’s presenter has even commented that “everyone has gone basement mad.”

However the desire to build extensions underground is facing increasing opposition, as more residents dispute planning applications for such builds for fear of subsidence, the risk of flooding during the building process and the disruption caused by rubble and mud being carted away for months on end due to the extent of the evacuation. Due to the scale of the work undertaken for a basement extension, there are a large number of construction vehicles involved, which residents living on small country roads say is a logistical nightmare.

And it is not just locals complaining, many famous faces are objecting plans for the so-called Iceberg houses. Among residents in Hampstead Garden suburb who complained about the construction of an underground wine cellar, swimming pool and games room was television personality Richard Madeley, although they were unsuccessful in preventing the build going ahead.

In Notting Hill there was objection from another famous face, in the form of Ruby Wax, who alongside Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel, won their legal battle to prevent a city financier building a large underground extension under what is a public road.

These are not the only cases, currently plans to build an underground basement 3.75 metres deep under a 3.6 million three-storey Victorian house are being fiercely fought in Hampstead. However, more often than not these plans go through. In areas of ‘Natural Outstanding Beauty’, they are seen by some as a way to get around the restrictive planning rules in place. And in Kensington and Chelsea there have been 800 planning applications in the last five years alone, with the majority receiving approval.

The London Basement Company believes iceberg houses are on the rise, Marketing Manager Maggie Smith reports fifteen to twenty projects of this kind on the go at any given time, with the demand for such extensions increasing. Basement extensions are thought to increase the value of houses by 15% to 20% so it is obvious to see why they are growing in popularity. Estate agent Jon Hunt (Founder of Foxton’s) is among those following the trend, he dug a three-storey basement extension housing a squash court and a Ferrari museum.

Plans for an underground extension in Cheshire is the perfect example of how innovative underground extensions are becoming. This proposed subterranean home has two-storeys, the underground home will be set amongst a 0.3 acre garden, where the driveway ends you will be met by a sky dome, which essentially will provide the natural light for the home.

On the first floor you’ll find a cloakroom, lounge, dining room, kitchen, utility and laundry room with a Master bedroom housing a large en-suite, and possibly the best feature of the underground mansion- a slide to the swimming pool situated on the lower level. The lower floor has two more bedroom suites, a Jacuzzi, gym, a bar, a changing area with showers, a garage, a plant room and of course the swimming pool.

Winners of the World Architecture Festival 2012Lizzie Greenway, 07 Nov 2012 17:01:44 GMTThe World Architecture Festival entered its fifth year this October in Singapore, a celebration of architects, architectural achievements and professionals in the area, 2012 saw nearly three hundred entries from all corners of the world. Entries fell into three categories; completed buildings, landscape and future projects. Below are ten winners from this years awards including the winner of the World Architecture Building of the year.

1.The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

The Hospital in Melbourne won an award in the health category, the Royal Children’s Hospital designed by Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart was inspired by the nearby surrounding park. The six storey atrium inspired building contains green spaces including an aquarium, all the rooms in the wards also provide views over the courtyard and gardens. The judges praised the design for “successfully overcoming the stigmas often attached to hospitals.”

2.Tokyo Tsutaya Bookstore

Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture the judges commended the bookstore stating it “proposes a new direction combining retail with social experiences, and integrating online retail with a tactile, physical experience.” The use of the brand logo creates an iconic building without heavily relying on signage, the lattice effect of the letter ‘T’ reflects the logo of the entertainment company Tsutaya subtly but with effect leading the firm to a win for the Best Shopping Centre.


3.Shearers Quarters, North Bruny Island, Tasmania

Set on a working sheep farm and designed by John Wardle Architects the property won the award for the best Villa, with its galvanised iron exterior and timber interior the simplicity and use of materials to sensitively interact with the environment was noted. The villa is used by farm workers and visitors.



4. Bodrum International Airport Terminal

Tabanlioglu Architects managed to lead passengers clearly through the terminal with their accessible designed airport, winning the best building in the Transport Category. The judges noting that the “complexity of the airport brief is resolved with openness and clarity.”










5. Binh Duong School, Vietnam

The building won the award for Best School, the design was undertaken by architects Vo Trong Nghia, the caged balconies allow open air access around the building whilst protecting pupils from adverse weather conditions in the area.



6. London Art and Design College, Central Saint Martins

Closer to home, the capital won the award in the Higher education and Research Category. Designed by Stanton Williams, the project was commended for “showcasing a sensitive relationship between old buildings and new volumes.”



7. Apartments in Montenegro

Designed by Indian firm Sanjay Puri Architects this stack of apartments was inspired by the nearby old town rooftop patterns, the proposed design includes two commercial floors with nine floors of apartments above.




8. Liyuan Library, Beijing, China

Clad in firewood with low level shelves and integral seating the library blends seamlessly into its environment, the locally sourced wooden sticks provide the exterior for the building and the level changes throughout the interior of the library provide innovative spaces for visitors to read. The library was designed by Chinese architects Li Xiaodong.



9. Victoria Tower, Kista, Sweden

Standing tall in Stockholm this iconic building won the award in the Leisure/Hotel Category. Clad entirely in coloured glass it stands out as a colourful prism of light in the city. The architect responsible for the hotel that doubles up as a office and conference venue is Wingardh Arkikektkontor AB, there is also a ground floor restaurant in the building.

10. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The World Building Winner was Gardens by the Bay, the brainchild of Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects. A substantial tropical garden dominated by tree shaped towers and large greenhouses in the shape of shells with a 30 metre man-made waterfall, Gardens by the Bay is the largest project of its kind in the world, with Singapore hoping the gardens will put the area on the map for horticulture and gardening. The design team behind the world class design are in fact British and based in Bath, the judges commended the architecture as “awe inspiring in its scale and form.”



Projects from all over the world were short-listed for the World Building 2012 title, with an influx of entries from countries in Asia this year, but the UK did not fare badly, below are note worthy buildings in England, Scotland and Wales that were also nominated for the award.

  • Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama by BFLS

  • The Hive by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

  • Soundforms, London

  • Manchester Metropolitan University, Business School and Student Hub

  • Roch Castle Retreat, UK by Aedas Ltd

  • Dagenham Park Church of England School by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

  • South Glasgow Hospital by Nightingale Associates for Future projects.

London2let & TastecardLizzie Greenway, 24 Sep 2012 09:49:46 GMT 

Tastecard Offer with have teamed up with the revolutionary dining card, ‘Tastecard’ to offer its website users a ONE month, (NO STRINGS ATTACHED!), free trial together with a further discount if the card is purchased after the trial.  Normally £79.99 a year,’s OFFER is just £49.99!

London2let Tastecard“There is absolutely no doubt about it, the Tastecard really is fantastic value for money and having used this card on so many occasions, I am now delighted to be able to offer our website users the chance to trial this without commitment. I have no doubt that most who trial this will take up the full year subscription. This card really is something to shout about! says James Anthony – Director at

When we say no obligation, we mean it! Just CLICK HERE and enter your name, address and email, it’s that simple!

NO payment details will be taken whatsoever, so just wait for your one month free Tastecard to arrive and enjoy this remarkable offer courtesy of

A Tastecard gives you 50% OFF or 2-FOR-1 at 6,500 fantastic UK & Ireland restaurants. As a customer of London2Let, you can get yourself a no-obligation free tastecard membership and £30 off should you wish to sign up for a further year’s access!

Tastecard London2let Offer

Tastecard Apps

Smartphone apps for the iphone, Android and Blackberry are also available to highlight the thousands of restaurants where you can use your card. London2let is confident that their users will truly benefit from this genuine offer.


Offer Londontolet Taste CardDon’t forget….by taking up the offer you not only get a full month’s trial but also benefit from a £30 discount should you choose to sign up for a full year’s use.


  • 50% off or 2 for 1 meals

  • 6,668 restaurants

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  • continues to provide thousands of rental properties from hundreds of London letting agents and landlords around London.  “We have had a great year here at London2let and wish to give our users a little thank you and a taste of some of the offers that they can expect in the months to come.

London2let Offers

Make us your primary search tool for London rental property and in return we will continue to provide a wealth of property advertising and the odd perk from time to time.  “Its just our way of saying thank you!” says James Anthony – Director at





The Splendour Of Space!Lizzie Greenway, 12 Sep 2012 11:05:25 GMT

Thought to be the most isolated house in Britain, the stone cottage (pictured) came up for sale in December 2011,overlooking the Isle of Sky on Scotland’s Knoydart peninsula, with no road to the stone cottage and the nearest village nine miles away it would take you three hours on foot to reach civilisation. If you need to call to the shops or post office you’d have to take an hour-long boat trip to another village but on the plus side you needn’t worry about annoying the neighbours.

St Kilda, is located more than 40 miles out in the Atlantic, in the Hebrides, a remote area of the United Kingdom, the four Islands once occupied by a community of a hundred lived mainly off the puffins, seabirds and gannets that gathered here, however in 1930 the remaining 36 occupants left for mainland Scotland, their presence remembered by the abandoned houses on the main road of Hirta, the largest island. Although you cannot stay here you’ll certainly experience the sense of wildness; a place in essence that is still untouched.

If access to Twitter, Facebook, Wi-Fi, mobile reception and sky television is what you after, the following getaways should be avoided. Purton Green in Suffolk is the only building left in what was once a village, the only house still standing of the ‘lost village’ the building is not accessible by road, but a wheelbarrow is provided to ferry your belongings to the property.

Skiary, Loch Hourn in the Highlands claims to be Britain’s most remote guesthouse, again there is no road access but a boat picks up guests from the head of Lake Hourn, with no electricity, evenings of gas lamps and board games are abundant, if fish is on offer for supper it is sure to have been caught by the young couple who own the property in conjunction with their self sufficient attitude.


For something a little more extreme, that you may well need Bear Grylls survival skills for, these other properties also came to our attention:


Sudentendeutsche Hut even has its own lake.







Meteora in Greece: a group of monasteries that stand on rock pillars.







A stand-alone house Vestmannaeyjar islands in Iceland.






One thing is for certain, for all the splendours of such space; the opportunity to gaze up at the endless stars as you reside in the middle of nowhere, live by candlelit and severe all ties to the modern world, a visit to one of the above is sure to make you appreciate the little luxuries in life upon your return home.

The Rise Of The Holiday House SwapLizzie Greenway, 29 Aug 2012 10:48:50 GMTHow does an apartment in Paris for a long weekend sound or a seven-bedroom mansion in America for two weeks or maybe a fortnight in Greece would be more your thing, alongside a new years break later in the year over looking Sydney Harbour? All whilst your home is occupied, your pets looked after and you experience a real taste of life abroad in someone else’s house. The increasingly popular trend of the holiday house swap is booming, especially among the middle classes and a look on the Guardian’s reputable house swap site and it’s easy to see why.

With worldwide properties on offer from the most basic to the incredibly luxurious, those that are property rich but cash poor are finding the ideal solution for an affordable holiday. The benefits of house swapping not only include the issue of affordability but also allow you the opportunity to live like a local, immersing yourself in someone else’s life in that country.  Many of those who have taken part in a swap report the benefits of experiencing the culture of the country through house swapping.

It is easy to see why people are wary of the idea, visions of strangers rooting through personal belongings fill many with dread, the concerns often also surround safety but then home exchangers are all in the same position so are likely to experience the same anxieties about leaving their homes, which often results in added respect for one another’s properties and belongings.  Many of those who take part in holiday home exchanges arrange a friend or neighbour to pop over or overlap the holidays so they are able to meet the exchangers face to face, added to this many who exchange spend months emailing, chatting, so they feel like they know one another.

The occasional complaint is inevitable but usual is a minor quibble over house keeping standards, with reputable sites such as The Guardian offering membership to their home swap service for £35 per year, a browse through the houses on offer and it is easy to see the appeal, with houses in a variety of beautiful destinations across Europe or further a field.  A browse through properties in France and a house in Soustons, Aquitaine on the South West coast of France is pictured, a lovely family home that sleeps eight offering an exchange for somewhere in Cornwall, the family are even willing to look after your pets, it is hard to deny the convenience of such arrangements.

Ever envisioned living on a picturesque Greek island? One of the houses listed is situated in the beautiful Skopelos Town, on Skopelos Island, a maze of cobbled streets and white washed houses could be your home for six to nine months from November, some long term exchanges are offered on the website so you can really immerse yourself in another culture without worrying about the cost of a long term stay or an empty home in the UK.

It is apparent that the UK and London are the preferred destinations of many house swappers and with opportunities ranging from a long weekend in the heart of Florence, to an apartment overlooking Vancouver Harbour Beach front in Canada, it is hard to see why it may not be worth giving this economical way to travel a chance.


Moving to London?Lizzie Greenway, 20 Aug 2012 12:34:35 GMTLondon is pretty big. 607 square miles big. Considering that Wikipedia-supplied piece of trivia, once you find yourself settled in a particular area of the city, it can be exhausting just to think about heading all the way across town for… any reason at all, really. Luckily, each section of the city is packed full of an incredible assortment of things to do - so many that if you don’t really want to leave East London, for example, you don’t have to leave East London. (Cue nods of approval from the lazier of us.) So in support of being lazy while being totally not lazy – i.e. getting out there and trying something new in the most convenient way possible, here’s TasterLab’s list of things to do in London by location. So you can get out of your comfort zone while not really getting out of your comfort zone. It’s a win/win.


Central London

For the ultimate in health-conscious convenience, check out pilates in Central London for free with a taster class at Shoreditch Pilates and get a full body and mind workout. Looking for something a little more intense? Take a similar experience and just add a heated room for three, half-price sessions of hot yoga in London – specifically, Convent Garden. After all of that movement and stretching and whatnot, you’ll surely be ravenous. After two hours of half-priced cooking classes with the Smart School of Cookery on Wigmore Street (W1U), you’ll be able to successfully feed yourself and whoever else always suspiciously arrives at your flat at meal times.


North London

Care for a tipple or two in Camden? Head to Shaker BarSchool’s half-priced cocktail making class and you’ll get to enjoy delicious drinks while learning some impressive bartending skills. If you’ve been debating on trying anything in the dance or martial arts genres – consider combining the two and checking out a capoeira class with Capoeira Uniao. They’ve got three North London locations, and it’s only £3.50.


South London

For those musically inclined… or at least attempting to become musically inclined, we’ve got free tasters for everything from beginner piano lessons to a private class to learn to play guitar with Cherry Pie Music on Kingston Road, SW19. For something a little more physical, outdoorsy and… interesting… try a poi spinning lesson with Perfect Circle Poi.


East London

Take on an artistic endeavor with 16 hours of painting courses in London at the London Academy of Art for half-price. That will surely leave you with at least one new piece of refrigerator décor if nothing else. If you’re interested in doing some urban exploration and getting super fit, check out a free session of outdoor gym in London with Rat Race. New activity, new friends, out in the fresh air – check, check, check.  And if you want to combine your pursuit of mental and physical fitness plus achieve the ultimate in relaxation, how about  Tai Chi classes with Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy on Bethnal Green Road.


West London

If you’ve been considering trying anything within the realm of physical fitness, here’s an all-inclusive option – a 49% discounted month of membership at a Richmond Gym – Your Gym. They’ve got spinning, Power Plates, and just about anything else you need to achieve your most fit body. If dance-y, nightlife is more your speed, you can try a salsa class with City Salsa for £4, and they’ve got locations all over South (and Central) London.


Guest post from: TasterLab!

The ‘Olympic effect’, what can we expect of housing prices in London after the games are over?Lizzie Greenway, 08 Aug 2012 14:08:50 GMTIf you walk through central London the investment in regeneration of the city is glaringly obvious since London won the bid to secure the 2012 Olympic games seven years ago. The Olympics impact is not isolated to the sporting world, host countries have long since reported a secondary economic effect, with an estimated 900,000 extra visitors expected in August on top of the 1.5 million tourists who flock to London every summer it is sure to boost the market, but what can we expect in relation to property prices in the capital city post Olympics?

Research carried out by Lloyds TSB suggests that since winning the bid in 2005, there has been a sharp increase in property prices in the East End. Between July 2005 and the end of 2011 property located in the vicinity of the Olympic village increased by an average of £60,000, an approximate £800 per month hike. Stratford saw an average rise of 30% with Dalston and Homerton experiencing a 55% increase in house prices since 2005. The 14 postal districts in closest proximity to the Olympic site reported the average house price valuation at £268,885 compared to the £206,145 2005 average. Does this suggest that the governments plan to regenerate East London making it a property hot spot has so far been a success? Or is the regeneration in infrastructure, transport and attractions in the area unlikely to attract buyers? Considering the East End has long been considered an area historically associated with high levels of poverty and inequality problems may be encountered in reaching their vision for the area.

After all even withstanding the above evidence of an increase in property prices, the East End is still the cheapest area in London, analysis by Hometrack, valuators for most major lenders, suggest that the property in Stratford, East London is still 30-35% below the rest of London, an even greater difference than the 10-20% gap reported in 2006. Interestingly data gathered by the Office of National Statistics offers an altogether different story of London property across the city than that of Lloyds TSB, reporting London housing prices to have fallen by 0.2% in the twelve months from March 2011. Given the ONS collects data from a number of lenders, compared to surveys carried out that are only reflective of the particular lenders mortgage approvals, surveys by banks such as Halifax and Nationwide for instance, maybe the ONS offers a better vantage point of the actual situation. Is this an indicator that investment in the city is on the wane pre-Olympics?

Property experts say no, predicting property prices to increase as investors flee the eurozone to London and the South East, further inflating housing prices. The increase in investment in transport, new attractions and infrastructure due to the Olympics alongside the increase in demand for properties to buy to let means the city is more attractive for investors than ever before. As the games approach short-term rentals near the Olympic park are soaring, a penthouse apartment in Stratford was rented for £4,000 per week, with estate agents reporting properties rented normally for £350 per week been advertised at £6,000.

So will the governments plan to transform East London into a hub of innovation and technology really work? In the Government’s publication ‘Plans for the legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games 2010’ they outline their vision for East London as a ‘tech city.’ Developments so far include the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, alongside companies Lend Lease and London and Continental Railways developing offices and homes. Inter Ikea has proposed 1,200 homes and it’s reported that investors Delancey and Qatari Diar have paid £557 million to take control of the Olympic village after the games.

The Olympic Legacy committee has big plans for the Olympic Park, due to be renamed the ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’ in 2013, the park will be divided into five neighbourhoods offering affordable family housing and with the global media’s attention focused on the area it is hoped the park will become an international attraction. It is impossible to ascertain whether an increase in housing prices will be directly correlated to the London games, but house prices in the long term could potentially gather momentum due to the regeneration in the area. Suren Thiru, housing economist for Lloyds TSB believes the Olympics will have a positive effect, “over the long term, house prices in the East End of London are likely to be supported by the Olympic legacy of improved infrastructure and transport links.”

Although there is little data to suggest or predict the positive effects the Olympics will have on property prices, the long standing problem of housing shortages in the city, with little room for new build, means it is likely there will not be a downturn in the market. Only when the games are over will an assessment of their long-term impact on the property market take place, it remains to be seen what will happen until then.

Ten Hotels With A DifferenceLizzie Greenway, 27 Jul 2012 14:42:35 GMT

1.If you are a dog lover ever fancied sleeping inside one? The Dog Bark Park Inn, in Idaho, USA, allows you to do just that, the 12ft beagle even includes a cosy alcove in the dog’s muzzle.





2. Looking for something a little bit magical why not stay in the Hobbit motel, in Woodlyn Park, Watamo, New Zealand, the mystical retreat is inspired by the film the Lord of the Rings.





3. For a room with a view try the Marmara, in Antalya, Turkey, a revolving hotel so guests can experience ever-changing views of the Mediterranean, the hotel floats in a tank of water so the rotation is performed smoothly.





4. If getting back to nature is more your thing the Mirrorcube, in Harads, Sweden may be the perfect get away, a 4x4x4 metre cube, this hotel is suspended around a tree trunk, accessible by a rope bridge, the cube is covered all over in one way mirrors providing a 360oC degree view, which you can also enjoy from the roof terrace.





5. If this all sounds a little too luxurious the following may be suitable, ideal for all types of traveller The Old Mount Gambier Gaol hostel in South Australia is inside an old jail and offers back to basics accommodation.





6. For a room with a spectacular view try Quinta Real Hotel, in Zacatercas, Mexico, overlooking the restored San Pedro bullfighting ring, the hotel even received an International Architectural Award due to the quality of the restoration.





7. Escape to Beckham creek cave haven in the USA, built into 530 acres of Arkansas rock, the cave hotel took four years to build, you can even get married here.




8. For an entrance with a difference then the Tianzi Hotel, in Hebei Province of China is ideal, the largest image hotel in the world it’s modelled on three Chinese gods that symbolise prosperity, longevity and fortune, you enter the 12-year-old hotel through one of the gods feet.





9. The Magic Mountain hotel in southern Chile, located to enjoy the Hulio Hulio Reserve Park is perfect for getting back to nature, the hotels features include a cascading waterfall from the rooftop of this fairytale mountain.





10. Step back in time and stay in renovated Pullman carriages, The Old Railway Station near Chichester, England has four restored Pullman carriages providing eight suites so you can enjoy a slice of this bygone age.

 has many properties avalible for 'Short let's' in the capital visit the website for a closer look: ]]>
London the new safe haven for foreign investors?Lizzie Greenway, 16 Jul 2012 12:04:03 GMT

London Thames

The instability in the Eurozone appears to be having a positive impact on the  capitals property market, the well regarded estate agent Savills has reported Greek web searches for property increasing by 50% in the last six months with France, Spain and Italy following with 16%, 10% and 9% retrospectively, evidence that the weak euro in comparison to the pound does not appear to be deterring the wealthy Europeans. Properties below the £2m mark have been reported by estate agents as receiving the most attention, with flats between the £1m-£2m value seeming particular popular, conveniently avoiding the March’s budget 7% stamp duty increase.

With Greece and Spain in turmoil and the forecast one of slow economic growth and recovery it appears wise to invest in something other than that which is valued in euros, Savills research at the beginning of the year predicted this would be the case “as opposed to deeper recession across all European economies, we expect investor focus to remain on prime assets in core markets, such as London.” Investors looking for a secure, long-term income stream are buying into stability, into a solid rule of law, legal title, a stable government and a wealth of heritage and culture.

TowerSavills research suggest that the prime rental market is a big attraction to most investor interest, not surprising considering the average asking rent for properties of four bedrooms or more in Central London, such as Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster average between £9,875 and £10,850 per month, with such good rental returns you would expect that most foreigners who purchase in London would opt to rent, however research indicates that the majority of overseas buyers, 46%, buy houses in London as their main residence, with only 1 in 7 buying to let.



London has historically been desirable to foreign investors, in 2011 before the Eurozone crisis imploded London was reported by CB Richard Willis Group Inc as the most sought after property destination in Europe, notably in 1990 the first property that sold in the city in excess of £10m, the Old Rectory in Chelsea, belonged to a Greek national.

Renowned for being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Savills statistics indicate that 35% of London residents are born abroad, in 2011/2012, 34% of prime properties across the capital were bought by foreigners, with 59% of prime central London property being snapped up by overseas investors. An increase on 2007 when it stood at 24%, suggesting the deterioration of the Eurozone may have positively impacted the London housing market, although it is worth noting that this figure has fallen in comparison to the early 90s, suggesting its not just the adverse conditions in Europe at present that cause an influx of foreign investment, in 1993 overseas purchasers accounted for 40% of all prime property buyers.

Although there has been a rise in interest from wealthy Greek in recent months, the single largest European buyers last year were the Italians, purchasing 10% of prime properties followed by the French, the question remains whether the Spanish and Greece may overtake them this year as the rich continue to flee their shores.

But will the increased interest in London property from Europe and the uncertainty in the single currency have a negative affect closer to home too? It is suggested that the Eurozone upheaval may result in banks taking more cautious approach to lending equating to even tougher conditions for first time buyers who will require possibly a deposit of up to 20% of the household value. The substantial differential in property prices in London and the rest of the UK caused by overseas buyers may also affect those wishing to purchase in the city from other areas of Britain. Indicating the Eurozone crisis does not herald good news for everyone in relation to the property market in UK, the Council of Mortgage Lenders of the opinion that the Eurozone uncertainty is “not a particularly comforting backdrop” for UK property and the lending market at present, however it appears to represent favourable opportunities for overseas investors.]]>
The Shard - Icon or Eyesore?James Cunliffe, 11 Jul 2012 00:45:01 GMTLast week saw the unveiling of Europe’s tallest building the ‘Shard’. Located at London Bridge in the Borough of Southwark the building climbs to the respectable height of 309m.

 The Shard London Laser


Qatar Shard London

Other skyscrapers within the London area do not even come close:-

Shard:                                      309m

One Canada Square:          237m

Minerva Building:               218m (excluding Spire)


Burj Khalifa


However, on a world scale, there is major competition with the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa rising to the staggering height of 828metres!


The completion of the Shard’s building envelope was celebrated by a ‘laser & light show’ which was projected from the tower itself towards some of London’s most famous landmarks.

This inappropriately named ‘laser spectacular’ was a disappointment to many, and although we did speak to a few individuals who enjoyed the event, the majority remained unimpressed by the show.  It would appear that these spectators were hoping for something much more extravagant, especially following the impressive Jubilee concert and with the London Olympic Games now in sight.

The 87 storey building consists of a hotel, offices, restaurants and some very pricey residential apartments costing in the region of £50 million each.  My concerns however, are that despite the prestige of living in this new London landmark, and the unmatched panoramic views this brings, it remains the fact that the Shard presently sits within the London Bridge area which drastically requires further regeneration.  Attracting attention from buyers may not be such an easy task. A fancy apartment yes, but perhaps not the best of immediate surroundings. After all, you can get a lot for your £50million elsewhere!

Encompassed within the Shard development is the regeneration of London Bridge station which is an undoubted improvement. We are aware also that many other ventures are proposed for the locality, so perhaps buyers will foresee the area’s long term potential.

For those of us who do not yet have the £50million asking price, an observation deck on the 72nd floor can be accessed by the public for the somewhat hefty fee of £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children.  Much concern has been expressed at this level of pricing, but no doubt for those of us who are keen to visit, the charges will be met if only for a one-off experience.Shard London Southwark


We spoke to some locals who had very differing opinions on the new build, some of whom were very positive about this iconic building in their neighbourhood. Others however, felt that this tower of glass clearly doesn’t belong alongside older more historic buildings, “We have feared for many years that our neighbourhood would eventually end up a skyscraper village like that of Canary Wharf, and this is just the beginning!”.



Whilst some consider this building to be out of keeping with neighbouring architecture, I believe this to be what London is about.  All over our city we see old alongside new, it is what makes London, London!

New development is needed in areas of low income.  Regeneration can only be a good thing.

London Bridge Shard

It is no surprise to us all, that the majority of financing for the Shard came from abroad, in this case Qatar.  We are seeing this time and time again in the city, and although somewhat disappointing, perhaps this is the way of the new world, wherein the UK is no longer the financial giant of the past.  Nevertheless, we should be pleased that countries such as Qatar are actively investing in Britain since international relations and trade are vital in today’s world.

I am keen to see who will purchase the £50million luxury apartments and will be monitoring the effect this tower has upon local businesses, development and property prices.  Perhaps this postcode area may someday become the new Westminster , unlikely perhaps, but only time will tell.

Londons Property BloggerGUEST BLOGGER :

James Cunliffe

London’s Property Blogger


A Unique Flight Over London!James Cunliffe, 05 Jul 2012 17:47:47 GMT 




Two week ago saw the opening of a cable car service allowing passengers to travel from the O2 Arena Greenwich on the South side of the river, to the Excel exhibition centre on the North Side. It is hoped that the five minute trip will provide an effective but novel transport link.

Emirates Air Line

Although the new cable car was not built for the Olympics, it may end up being an essential mode of transport for those spectators and atheletes wishing to get around.  Basketball and gymnastic events will be taking place at the Arena.

Emirates Air Line in London




London is always striving to maintain its complex and congested transport systems and new travel innovations are certainly something this city is not unfamiliar with.  The London bike scheme was introduced back in 2010 and is still well used by both London residents and tourists alike.




Will this service be another London success?  The cable car certainly didn’t come cheap costing around £60million. UK tax payers will be pleased to hear however that the Dubai owned airline – Emirates, provided some £36million for a ten year sponsorship of this attraction, hence this new cable car service is appropriately named the ‘Emirates Air line’.

Emirates Cable Car London

London Cable car Transport

The service is said to be able to transport 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction which is quite impressive to say the least.  Users of this cable car get to experience a unique view of London from a  height of 90 metres whilst transiting across the Thames in one of the 34 cars.




As I have mentioned in previous posts, the effect of new stations, undergrounds, bus links, airports and vessel jetty’s has always had a substantial effect on those properties situated within these linked areas.  We shall be monitoring rental websites such as London2let to see if prices really do reflect this additional passenger service over the months ahead.

It will be interesting to see how London’s latest transport idea affects local property prices, local development and also if it results in a reduction of congestion on alternative services.

Passengers will be able to purchase a single ticket for £4.30, but for those us who are frequent city travellers; the Oystercard is also accepted and will cost £3.20.


Emirates Air Line in London

Many believe that this service is more of an attraction than a realistic method of transiting across the river and prices would certainly suggest as such.  However, we will watch this new addition to London’s transport system very closely and hope it will provide a fun, unique and effective means of travel.



Londons Property BloggerGUEST BLOGGER :

James Cunliffe

London’s Property Blogger






Life’s a beach.......Hut!Lizzie Greenway, 29 Jun 2012 15:34:47 GMTThe sound of crashing waves, seagulls over-head and sand beneath your toes has always held appeal but would you pay £175,000 for the privilege? Last week it was reported that a beach hut in Bournemouth sold for just that.

Denisons estate agents sold the wooden beach hut, built on the Mudeford sand spit, the beach hut measures roughly 5.6m and 3.2m and is equipped with a fitted kitchen including a fridge, oven and hob. A look at Denisons website though and its apparent this isn’t the only expensive British beach get-away, currently on the market are three huts ranging from £126,00 to £145,000, all the huts include permission for overnight stays and Mudeford Sands offers uninterrupted views of Christchurch Harbour and the Isle of Wight, which may explain the price tag.

However the record for the most expensive beach hut is yet to be beaten, with a wooden chalet on Chesil Beach at West Bexington, Dorset, thought to hold the UK record, sold for £216,000 in 2006 beating the previous record of a beach hut at Eype, Dorset that was bought for £164,00 in 2004.

Beach huts were invented by the British and have long since been associated with our summertime, originally for Victorian bathers, the oldest beach hut in Britain is thought to have been built in 1909 on the West Cliff Sands in Bournemouth, one of the now 1,900 beach huts on the coast of Bournemouth, but if you can’t afford the cost of the beach hut recently sold you can rent out one of a similar kind from a mere £12 per day, a perfect shelter from the rain this summertime.

If your after a more practial property has thousands of properties to rent in Central London.

Proposed development at the Battersea Power Station site!James Cunliffe, 21 Jun 2012 19:25:38 GMT
Already investors and estate agents operating in this area are excited about the potential effect this may have on the local area.

Two Malaysian property developers outbid the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who had plans to utilise the site for a new Chelsea football stadium.  The power stations site has been a landmark in London for many years and it is hoped that the main structure and its very recognisable four chimneys can be maintained as part of any proposed property development.

Already, substantial regeneration is ongoing and planned for the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas and with this latest proposed development, there is sure to be a huge influx of property investors buying into these upcoming areas. The Nine Elms area is said to be the last major area of development on the South Bank, seeing not just thousands of new residential and commercial spaces, but also the new home of the  Embassy of the United States of America, (Construction anticipated 2013).

Vauxhall has seen developments such as St. George Wharf take the limelight, soon to be followed by the new Vauxhall Tower building.  This new residential complex overlooks the River Thames and will, once completed, be one of the biggest residential buildings in Europe.

Nine Elms London

In addition to new building developments, TFL, (Transport for London), are proposing to extend the Northern Line, (Charing Cross Branch), to the Battersea area.  This in addition to the current rail service in the locality will push buyers and renters alike to look into these developing areas more closely.

There is certainly a lot going on in the Nine Elms area and we expect demand for property in this area to continue to be sought after for many years to come.

For rental prices, area information and a good selection of houses, flats and apartments to rent in Battersea, visit our featured London website .


London's Property Blogger


James Cunliffe

London's Property Blogger]]>
Short Lets and the London Olympic Games 2012James Cunliffe, 21 Jun 2012 02:32:41 GMT 

With the Olympic Games 2012 just a few weeks away, London letting agents are seeing a substantial rise in the number of enquiries for short let rentals over the Olympic period. Premium prices for hotel accommodation have resulted in those visiting London seeking alternative living arrangements.


Many Olympic spectators may be fortunate to have friends or family already living in or near the capital, but for those who do not, the effect of high living prices is sure to hit home.


The recent Diamond Jubilee saw an influx of those visiting London to be part of this very special and rare event. London letting agents experienced a large increase in enquiries for those seeking short lets during this long bank holiday weekend, and the same demand is already becoming apparent for the 2012 Olympic Games period.


We spoke to a family who recently travelled up from Wales and rented a London riverside apartment to be part of the Diamond jubilee celebrations; "Despite the unpredictable weather, we had a fantastic few days and certainly made the right decision in renting as opposed to our normal hotel stay"

The family located a short let apartment in the area of Vauxhall right alongside the river; and thereby took full advantage of the Queen’s River Thames Pageant of over 1,000 vessels. "We had a first class view of the flotilla and sheltered on the apartment’s balcony, we managed to avoid the wet British weather!"

London2let Jubilee - Short Lets in LondonSt. George Wharf, Vauxhall, London. SW8

I asked the family what helped them decide on the apartment and location. They explained that they wanted good transport links, a comfortable and secure living standard and if possible a river view! This family certainly found what they needed with an underground station, national rail services, extensive bus terminal and the recently introduced Thames Clipper service right on their doorstep, getting around would not have been a problem. In addition, this particular development 'St. George Wharf' is renowned as one of the more impressive riverside development with many onsite features for its residents.

St George Wharf London London2let.comSt. George Wharf, Vauxhall, London

On paper, a short let may appear more expensive. However, when you consider the cost of a family stay at a comparable London hotel, there is no doubt that this option should be seriously considered.In many ways letting a London property gives you more flexibility than that at a city hotel. There is almost certainly an additional element of enjoyment especially if you are fortunate to book some of the finest short rental apartments that London has to offer.

Short let in London courtesy of London2let.comShort Let Property image courtesy of


Families and couples are advised to consider booking together and sharing a large apartment, this is by far the most affordable option. London has a good selection of this kind of property where in many cases the standard of accommodation will far outweigh some of the most luxurious London hotels. (a rental property website for the London region) has a good selection of short lets ranging from ideal family apartments to those seeking something a little more extravagant with rent exceeding £35,000 per week!


Whatever your accommodation budget may be, we certainly believe that short letting is worth considering for those staying in London during this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games.

London's Property Blogger


James Cunliffe - London's Property Blogger


Versace's £80,000,000 former house for saleLizzie Greenway, 19 Jun 2012 09:49:44 GMT







If like me you have a spare £80,000,000 in the bank you might also want to consider the Miami Beach home of late fashion designer Gianni Versace.









The property was purchased by Versace for only £1.8 million in 1992. He then spent £21,000,000 on a revamp which included a 54ft-long mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-carat gold.

Only in Singapore!Lizzie Greenway, 08 May 2012 15:43:29 GMTCUZDRNT6BH5K

Swimming in the Sky..............only in Singapore!













If this does not help you 'go' nothing will !Lizzie Greenway, 02 May 2012 17:04:36 GMTpenthouse must be the scariest place to have a wee in the world?]]>Is this the most expensive property rental in London?Lizzie Greenway, 03 Apr 2012 09:28:44 GMTSee the rest of the property here:

For more resonably priced property to rent in central london visit]]>
A sneek peek at the new L2L home pageLizzie Greenway, 06 Mar 2012 16:18:26 GMT
"The new look website should go live in 2/3 weeks, And hopefully users will find it even easier to search for a new Properties to rent in London and shared houses in London" Said Will Thomas -]]>
Your Own Cornish kingdom!Lizzie Greenway, 27 Feb 2012 12:09:04 GMTIf like me you have dreamed of your own island since you were a kid then maybe this is the house for you! The house and island is advertised by Lillicrap Chilcott estate agents for a price of £995,000....................Bargain if you ask me!

"A remarkable Cornish landmark with beautifully restored coastal residence commanding some of the most spectacular sea, beach and coastal vistas in Cornwal"


Find property to rent in Clapham, Wimbledon, Croydon, Ealing and the rest of London on



London councils crack down on sublettingLizzie Greenway, 21 Feb 2012 12:53:20 GMT

Buying a property is most likely for many of us to be the biggest financial investment of our lives. Some people who will never be able to afford their own property rely on local housing associations for accommodation but there is a shortage of housing which means everlasting waiting lists.

While the lists get longer, also adding to the problem are the people who exploit the system! Standard behaviour these days!!!

When given a housing association home, it states clearly, like with any tenancy agreement that you are legally bound to inform the landlord/association of any change in circumstances and of course sub letting is forbidden.

The recent financial situation and the change in Government has brought this to attention in the UK, together with the shortage of houses to rent in London, making the Government review many a strategy and principle, along the way findings have shown that an estimated 160,000 tenants sub-let their homes.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has voiced his opinion on this matter and states: "For too long this country has turned a blind eye on the multi-billion pound problem of housing tenancy fraud and abuse. This year the coalition is determined to end that scandal. Why should someone on a six-figure income enjoy a fantastically subsidised council rent, whilst those in real need languish on the waiting list?  And why is it so easy to get away with sub-letting your council house at market rent and simply pocketing up to £1,000 a week at taxpayers' expense?"

Being high on the Governments agenda, to make this a criminal offence has certainly started with a bang of the door, the prison door slamming as we have now seen the first case and what a case it is considering the person who has been charged to 16 weeks in jail happens to be an East London Councillor.

The Government has made an example of Shelina Akhtar, a Tower Hamlets Councillor sub-let her housing association home, while still claiming benefits for the property.

And so they should!!!

Complete outrage, what a good example she has set?!

But at least she has been sentenced and it has been brought to light the exact extent of the problem. Supposedly being a member of the community means nothing to Shelina, but she certainly isn’t the only one. Some people argue that there should be new council housing being built to accommodate the ever expanding waiting list, my views on this are clear, the housing issue needs to be addressed and fast, before these waiting lists get even more out of control.

Another example used by the Conservatives is Frank Dobson, the Labour MP, who was living in a council home when he was earning a six-figure income as a cabinet minister under Tony Blair.

The contrasting opinion is that a prison sentence is only going to cost us the tax payer more and with overcrowded prisons as it is, this some say is not the best option, making them pay back the total gained and more in court charges could start to regain some of the money that the Government has lost.  There are talks to give the money back to landlords instead of the Government and also to people who are in temporary accommodation, seems fair but the fundamental failures in the system for this to be happening and for so long are totally unacceptable from a tax payer’s point of view.

2012 should pull strings tighter and turn this publicity into action, but will it? We will just have to wait and see!


If this doesnt get you up in the morning nothing will!Lizzie Greenway, 13 Feb 2012 11:43:17 GMT[/caption]

If you struggle to get up in the morning then maybe a waterslide in your bedroom would help! lol.

Rent London -


January PropertiesLizzie Greenway, 25 Jan 2012 12:32:10 GMT
Here is a little taster of what's about;
3 bed flat to rent in Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, £1,900 pw

Ready for anything...including zombie's!Will Thomas, 09 Dec 2011 13:17:03 GMTPolish designers KWK Promes have made the first 'zombie safe house' complete with drawbridge and concrete shutters for windows!

With walls that close up on themselves, sealing the complex completely, one would most definately feel safe from anything!

Focus: Notting HillLizzie Greenway, 24 Nov 2011 12:16:28 GMTThe borough of Notting Hill in North West London has always been associated with the celebrity set, popular with artists, musicians and actors and it seems today's younger generation of actors share that love. It appears the hottest 'are they, aren't they' couple of the moment Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have chosen to settle temporarily in Notting Hill's neighbourhood, renting a spectacular apartment as their base whilst in the capital.

[caption id="attachment_132" align="alignright" width="259" caption="property to rent in Notting Hill"]property to rent in Notting Hill[/caption]

The allure of Notting Hill lies in events such as Portobello Market, which runs every day, apart from Sundays and the Notting Hill carnival, which is held every year during the last weekend in August. Day to day the area is abuzz with numerous cafes and restaurants, it's market and boutique shops, not to mention its many pubs and bars.

There is an abundance of accomodation options also, whatever your budget, check out London2let's comprehensive area page for further information and for flats to rent in Notting Hill.

Like us on FacebookLizzie Greenway, 16 Nov 2011 14:46:58 GMTAll you have to do to keep up-to-date with all London2let news is keep reading our blog and 'Like' us on Facebook!

Click on the icon to visit our Facebook page and see what's going on...


And now for something different...Lizzie Greenway, 04 Nov 2011 12:45:08 GMTLooking for something a little more interesting than your standard 2 bedroom flat? Then take a look at this unique classic motor yacht that's currently available for short and long term lets on London2let.This out of the ordinary motor home has recently been refurbished to the highest standards with 'exotic timbers, black granites and cherry walnut furniture', throw in a tailored leather and timber bridge, five VIP bedrooms all ensuite and what more could you ask for!

Most Expensive Properties to Rent on - October 2011Lizzie Greenway, 19 Oct 2011 15:00:31 GMTHere are the most expensive rental properties currently to view on London2let this month...

property to rent in Knightsbridge

This unfurnished 6 bed penthouse flat  situated opposited Hyde Park, Knightsbridge is available to rent with Foxtons for £40,000 per week.
If that's not to your liking then there's always this beautiful 6 bed flat to rent in The Buckingham Apartments, Westminster which boasts 'attentive butlers' and a spa, for just £32,ooo per week!

The Buckingham Apartments 6 bed flat to rent

Follow London2let on TwitterLondon2let, 13 Oct 2011 12:05:03 GMT

London2let are now on Twitter and you can follow them @london2let. You'll get daily updates on properties of interest and you can even tweet to ask them for tips when looking for your ideal rental home.

As London2let continue to expand, part of their success lies in developing their social media market. With the addition of Twitter you can also keep up-to-date with developments via their Facebook page, where you can read up on the latest news, which agents have joined and how many properties are live on London2let, currently an amazing 18,859!]]>
Foxtons join London2letLizzie Greenway, 27 Sep 2011 10:43:50 GMTMomentum continues to grow at London2let.

Joining a long line of established and renowed London letting agents, amongst them Douglas & Gordon, Barnard Marcus and KFH, Foxtons are the newest addition to the ever growing and expanding London2let property portal. Founded in 1981, Foxtons started as a two man office in Notting Hill, it has since become one of London's leading estate agents.

London2let welcomes Kinleigh Folkard & HaywardLondon2let, 20 Sep 2011 12:38:07 GMT
Most Expensive Properties to Rent on - September 2011Lizzie Greenway, 02 Sep 2011 15:57:47 GMTrent on in September;


This stunning £40,000 per week, 6 bedroom flat to rent in Wellington Court, London on with Hobart Slater
an equally beautiful, but slightly smaller £20,000 per week, 3 bed flat to rent in Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 on with Douglas&Gordon (Chelsea)

Easyroommate & London2let announce new working partnershipLondon2let, 26 Aug 2011 14:11:54 GMT

London2let have announced a new deal with Easyroommate, agreeing to advertise all flatshare London properties that Easyroommate have to offer.  Not only does this new business relationship provide additional exposure for Easyroommate, but once again demonstrates London2let’s ‘outside the box’ approach and their strong passion to succeed.  “We aim to be London’s no. 1 one search tool for rental property and have a positive attitude towards working with and other affiliates to provide a comprehensive portfolio for those seeking properties locally!” says James Anthony – London2let.

The deal struck with ‘Easyroommate’ has resulted in London2let having over 13,500 properties to rent in London.  Increasing daily, it would not be unreasonable to predict that London2let may, in the not so distant future, becomeLondon’s most successful rental portal. An increasing number of London letting agents are continuing to sign up to London2let’s very generous 12 month introductory period, with new agents joining daily.  “We are very pleased with the website results and have recently increased the number of agents that can take up our free offer. Higher search engine ranking and consequent increased website traffic, continue to outpace our projections. We remain increasingly confident therefore that London2let will be a huge success!” says William George – London2let. confirm that they will continue to make upgrades and improvements to their online service.  Their strong belief in providing a truly efficient search tool for those seeking properties and an effective advertising strategy for letting agents, could be the making of this new website service.


Angelina and Brad rent in LondonLizzie Greenway, 10 Aug 2011 17:00:35 GMT
The house also favoured by other high profile celebrities, will be home to the brood for the next three months.  The Pitt-Jolie family are in the UK whilst Pitt films World War Z, a zombie movie, in London and Cornwall.

However with a wopping £15,000 per week price tag it's a tad out of the reach for many of us looking for property to rent in London. It's just as well they can demand multi-million pound contracts per movie!]]>
London2let extend 12 month free uploadLizzie Greenway, 02 Aug 2011 16:00:47 GMT
“The uptake has been fantastic! The website has grown at a much faster rate than any of us here at could have hoped for. So we have decided to offer a further 250 agents a free 12 month upload to the site”. is a property portal specific to London and its surrounding areas. Letting agents within the M25 are now able to upload free of charge to this website.

Potential tenants can dramatically reduce their time and energy looking for a new property by finding thousands of properties to rent in London from hundreds of letting agents on one website. London2let is updated twice per day giving home hunters a true reflection of the property available to rent in the capital.

“The complex nature of the capital and the high demand for rental property convinced us that a London-specific website was needed” said William Thomas - Compass Digital Media.

As the website is focused on London the website provides a lot more local information than some other portals. For example if a person was searching for flats to rent in Clapham they could read area, transport and even historical information about the area.

As a customer letting agents can enjoy 12 months free upload to No charges, no contracts, no agreements whatsoever, its 100% Free. Guaranteed!

To take advantage of this genuine offer, please email The free offer is for a limited period only, so interested agents should contact as soon as possible. You wouldn't want to miss out!]]>