Pimlico must be pretty quiet at the weekends. It’s been London’s pied a terre hotspot since the mid-Noughties, meaning many of its inhabitants escape the area for their country retreats every Friday night.
“A third of homes sold in SW1V so far this year have been bought by a second home owner, more than anywhere else in London,” says David Fell, research analyst at estate agent Hamptons International.
Like most places, Pimlico’s story and development is very much to do with transport. Its grand, white stucco terraces and garden squares were developed by Thomas Cubitt, the same architect behind the same pretty architecture found in neighbouring Chelsea and Belgravia.
In fact, it was branded as “South Belgravia” when it was first built, but it was cut off from its richer counterparts by new railway lines. It was only plugged back into the public transport system when it received its own Tube stop on the Victoria Line more than a century later.
By then, the damage had been done. Despite having the same architecture, house prices are still relatively reasonable today.
“Pimlico is a hidden jewel, priced well below adjacent Kensington and Belgravia, but with the same access to amenities,” says David Adams, director for Humberts’ London Division. Land Registry figures suggest 38 per cent of properties sold for over £1.1m this year, with a year-on-year increase of 9.1 per cent.
The most expensive property sold in Pimlico went for £5.6m on Eccleston Square, which is only £1m over the average asking price in Belgravia. “Prices are about 20 per cent lower than Chelsea and Belgravia,” says Raphael Fitoussi, sales manager at KFH South Kensington.
Fans of contemporary flats might want to look elsewhere, as there are practically no builds. Instead, expect family houses and period conversions, with a high street curated for locals rather than tourists.
The most sought after properties are in the Pimlico Grid, a collection of criss-crossing roads that are typical of the housing stock. “The buildings are white stucco and it’s very pretty,” says Oli Russell, head of search & acquisition at SP Property Group. “The only downfall is that there are many ‘infill’ buildings as the area was badly bombed during the war, so the outlook from some properties can be unattractive.”
For a good investment, Robert Oatley from Knight Frank says St George’s Square is a good lookout. “Prices there over the last couple of years have really begun to look very attractive so if you can pick up something on St George’s Square at the moment, it’s a pretty good buy.”
The Other Palace Theatre
The demographic is getting younger, too, according to Sigita Ranger from Foxtons’ Pimlico office, who says young professionals now “make up a third of Pimlico residents.” This new influx, coupled with the billion-pound regeneration of nearby Victoria means the area is buzzing like never before.
Merlin Dormer, partner at buying agents Heaton & Partners, says Pimlico’s restaurants are now one of its best features, namechecking “Boisdale with a very impressive cigar terrace and whisky bar, The Thomas Cubitt and Queens Arms gastropubs as well as local favourites O’Sole Mio and La Poule au Pot.”
A Cask gourmet burger
The Other Palace, formerly St James’ Theatre, was acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group last year – a coup for a venue that only opened in 2012. A musical version of Big Fish, based on the 2003 film of the same name, will be playing over the Christmas period. Pimlico Road Farmers Market is a firm local favourite, running every Saturday under the gaze of Mozart’s statue on Orange Square. Pick up a bargain at the Capital Carboot Sale, a favourite on daytime TV shows. It runs every Sunday with a particular emphasis on vintage and retro clothing. Cask Pub & Kitchen is a great local boozer on Charlwood Street, serving up a global selection of craft beers and ales, as the name suggests, and gourmet burgers. A Wong is a local modern Chinese restaurant serving up an eight course tasting menu for around £40. Cambridge Street Kitchen, in boutique hotel Artist Residence is a popular, casual cafe to hang out in or grab a pastry from during the day.
House pricesSource: Zoopla
Transport Source: TfL
Time to King’s Cross: 10 mins
Time to Liverpool Street: 20 mins
Nearest train station: Pimlico
Best Roads Source: Hamptons International
Most Expensive – Westmoreland Place – £2,287,500
Best Value – Moreton Street – £471,000