The London suburb of St Margarets brings with it a perfect balance of small community living with big city comforts.
Living in St Margarets: what to expect
St Margarets has a distinctly Victorian flavour. Streets tend to be wide and tree-lined, and most properties are stately detached houses with attractive period features. ‘Secret’ communal gardens are attached to some of the most sought-after houses.
The area feels very much like a village thanks to its regular street parties and community events. Residents can also take advantage of its lively High Street, which is filled with independent shops, cafés and bars.
Of course, if more entertainments and shops are needed, locals can make the short trip across the river into Richmond, or hop on the train to central London.
Families can take advantage of nearby parks as well as the local schools. Orleans Primary School received an ‘outstanding’ rating at its last Ofsted inspection.
Where to start your property search
If you want a period home, you have plenty to choose from. The most sought-after houses are those with private access to the St Margarets Pleasure Grounds, a hidden communal garden featuring tennis courts and a lake. Take a look at the grand residences on St Peter’s Road, St George’s Road and Ailsa Road for a chance to live in this coveted location.
More imposing Victorian properties are available on streets such as Claremont Road and Netherton Road. Look here for five- or six-bedroom double-fronted homes that boast character features such as bay windows and arched doorways.
Attractive Victorian semis and Edwardian villas can be found on streets such as Beaconsfield Road and Broadway Avenue. Look out for features such as cast iron fireplaces and ornate corniced ceilings.
If your budget is more modest, terraced Victorian homes are on offer on Ailsa Avenue and Amyand Park Road. Alternatively, opt for a decent-sized maisonette on Kenley Road, Sidney Road or Godstone Road.
Flats are also available in converted period buildings. Take a look at Cambridge Road for a spacious and luxurious four-bedroom apartment.
Purpose-built flats are around too. Snap up a contemporary apartment or penthouse in one of the new purpose-built blocks near Richmond Bridge. Apartments on Clevedon Road are up to four bedrooms and benefit from private balconies, a concierge service, river views and underground car parks.
More modest flats in gated developments can be found on Heathcote Road. The Grove also has sizeable two-bedroom flats. You can look at Crown Road for relatively roomy flats that sit above the road’s shops and cafés for something even more affordable. Some of these flats even have their own private roof terrace.
If you’d prefer a sturdy 20th-century home, there are some houses from the early part of the century scattered throughout the area. Take a look at the 1920s detached properties on streets such as leafy Ellesmere Road, many of which have generous gardens.
Getting around St Margarets
By rail: St Margarets station carries residents to Wimbledon, Chiswick and London Waterloo. A journey to Waterloo takes between 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the train. For the Tube, locals can head to Richmond station to access the District Line.
By car: The main road in the area is Chertsey Road (A316), which cuts through St Margarets and connects central London with the M3. To the far north residents can access the Great West Road (A4), which links to the M4.
By air: Heathrow Airport is just a 25-minute drive away. From here residents can access flights to 185 destinations in 84 countries, including New York, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Things to do in St Margarets
History: To the south of St Margarets is Marble Hill House, a stately home and estate built for Henrietta Howard, a mistress of King George II when he was still Prince of Wales. Explore the Palladian villa and its collection of early Georgian paintings, or enjoy a walk in the 66 acres of riverside parkland.
Kilmorey Mausoleum on St Margarets Road is a Grade II-listed structure commissioned by Francis Needham, 2nd Earl of Kilmorey, for his mistress. The striking structure is designed to emulate buildings from ancient Egypt and is cut from pink granite. You can go inside the mausoleum on certain dates throughout the year or you can explore the surrounding wildlife garden at any time.
Another famous landmark is Sandycombe Lodge, which was designed by painter J.M.W. Turner as a retirement home for his father. It’s currently undergoing restoration work and re-opens in spring 2017.
Cultural: Every July, residents gather on Moormead and Bandy Recreation Ground for the St Margarets Fair. Live music, stalls, rides and games are provided as part of the entertainment and locals can compete and perform in football competitions, dancing and other displays. Make sure you don’t miss the popular dog show.
Visitors to Richmond Theatre can enjoy a lively programme of drama, comedy, music, pantomime and dance. Guided tours are also available for those who want to see behind the scenes.
The Mary Wallace Theatre is the home of the Richmond Shakespeare Society. The company hosts eight productions a year for members, including an open-air performance in the summer that is also open for non-members. To become a member, check out their website.
Outdoors: Residents can enjoy fresh air on the village green of Moormead and Bandy Recreation Ground. The park has a children’s playground, tennis courts and football pitches.
Across the river is Richmond Park, the largest of the capital’s royal parks and the biggest enclosed space in London. Visitors can follow its paths to discover herds of red and fallow deer, or admire the exotic plants in the Isabella Plantation. For panoramic views of the Thames valley, climb to the top of King Henry’s Mound.
Shopping: Most of the area’s shops are concentrated on Crown Road and St Margarets Road. Independent shops include Armstrong’s Family Butchers as well as Real Ale, which sells the beer of British microbreweries. Locals can also shop in gift and haberdashery boutiques and an award-winning cheese shop.
For more shops, residents can make the short journey to nearby Richmond or Twickenham. In Richmond top designer stores mingle with small specialist and antiques shops, whereas on Church Street in Twickenham visitors can work their way through a trove of small shops selling quirky gifts, books and jewellery.
Food and drink: St Margarets is an area rich in traditional pubs. The Crown pub is a comfortable eating and drinking place in a grand Georgian building. This smart pub has a garden for al fresco dining in summer and has a choice selection of cask ales, guest beer and cocktails. Choose from a menu of tempting dishes such as gnocchi with wild mushrooms or a hearty gourmet burger with all the trimmings.
Other popular pubs include Ailsa Tavern and St Margarets Tavern, both of which have regular live music nights.
For French cuisine, stop by Le Salon Privé. Classic French dishes, such as boeuf bourguignon and escargots, are served and on Tuesday evening it hosts a popular steak night. Alternatively, A Cena serves classy Mediterranean food. Fill up on polenta fritters, risotto or marinated hake fillet.
Hidden St Margarets
The Turk’s Head pub on Winchester Road features in the Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. Ringo plays darts there in the pub’s bar.
6 reasons to live in St Margarets
Good selection of independent shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants
Tree-lined streets and riverside views
Attractive Victorian properties and new riverside flats
Access to shops and entertainment in Richmond and Twickenham
Good commuter routes
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Have we missed anything that makes St Margarets an attractive place to live? Let us know in the comments below.