SPOTLIGHT ON: A modern blend of industrial cool and chic riverside living, this district has plenty to write home about
battersea – industrial cool meets chic urban living
What’s the scoop? this south-west london neighbourhood was once famed for its fruit and vegetable gardens. industry arrived in the 19th century with the power station and gasworks transforming the landscape. these days, a mixture of creatives, artisans, professionals and families occupy smart Victorian terraces, parkside apartments and new builds on the banks of the thames.
Is this south-west London’s answer to Notting hill?
Battersea Park, some industrial housing stock and proximity to the river make this area unique, though you will find a smattering of pastel-coloured homes and some artfully renovated Victorian cottages on the shaftesbury estate. Can I tube it? the district is served by three train stations: clapham Junction, Battersea Park and Queenstown road. But look out for Battersea tube station, a proposed northern line extension set to open in 2020. What about schools? near the park, newton Prep and thomas’s Battersea are popular private options, while the highly regarded Belleville Primary and honeywell Primary state schools are off northcote road. the harris academy on Battersea Park road has recently been recognised as outstanding by ofsted.
If I want to go traditional, where do I start? ‘Prince of wales drive and albert Bridge road offer upscale, lateral mansion flats overlooking the park,’ says John d wood’s Fred Ponsonby. ‘the terraced homes of a small enclave called little india are a popular choice for families due to their proximity to clapham Junction and Battersea Park road.’ and if I want to be a city slicker? there’s no shortage of cool, urban riverside developments here, not least the apartments, restaurants and shops on offer at the newly renovated Battersea Power station. going east, a new district has mushroomed in nine elms, particularly following the relocation of the Us embassy. For something a little more low-key, look out for the upcoming residential conversion of the former royal academy of dance close to Battersea square, while its new home, coda at avanton, promises a number of new-build luxury apartments. how much cash must I splash? it varies from street to street. you can snap up a two-bed flat on sheepcote lane and Battersea Park road for under £500,000, but expect to spend northwards of £1,000,000 for an apartment overlooking the park. Prices for a four-bed house start at around £900,000.
I need a hipster coffee. that won’t be a problem. the ’hood is heaving with artisan coffee makers. Flour to the People! offers excellent sourdough along with a morning injection of caffeine, while social Pantry café provides hit-the-spot brunches. and for a side of green, head to Pear tree café in the middle of Battersea Park.
and eating out? Queenswood on Battersea square is a laid-back neighbourhood spot where the tables spill outside – ideal for casual dining, sharing plates and late-evening cocktails. on vibrant Battersea Park road, the Farmer’s Mistress serves colourful, nutrient-balanced dishes, while close to the river at ransome’s dock, the brothers behind chelsea’s rabbit have opened nutbourne, whose menus are populated with ingredients from the family’s sussex farm. homeware, please! head to Queenstown road for under-theradar offerings such as angie Pinkney’s decara home, which sells elegant furniture and accessories, or unearth antiques, textiles and French-inspired pieces at les sardines. on Battersea Park road, circa is great for original mid-century pieces. and the park itself hosts a thrice-yearly decorative antiques & textiles Fair. after all that shopping, where can I let my hair down?
it might not be party-central, but the area still has a hip vibe. check out tongue-in-cheek pizzeria, bar and late-night karaoke haunt Bunga Bunga, a stone’s throw away from the royal college of art on Battersea Bridge road.
[ In the know ]
Battersea resident, stylist, food blogger and cook Alice Wrobel (thelondonpantry.wordpress.com; @thelondonpantry) opens her secret address book
* Battersea Flower Station is a pocket of tamed wilderness carved out of an unused space beside the rail tracks. Great for gardening essentials and Sunday browsing. I also love
Rocco Flowers, run by über-creative Becky Taylor.
* Pump House Gallery, next to the lake in Battersea Park, is a beautiful Victorian building that is home to a contemporary visual arts space, which runs a year-round programme of events.
* Don’t miss the weekly Farmers’ Market at Ransome’s Dock every Saturday, laden with free-range poultry, organic eggs, cheese, herbs, flowers and jams.
* Battersea Yoga is a great independent studio tucked away in a mews on the corner of Battersea Park, offering a host of restorative classes and retreats.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOPThe iconic Battersea Power Station has been newly renovated; the beautiful Overstrand Mansions on Prince of Wales Drive, which overlooks Battersea Park; and Albert Bridge, linking Chelsea and Battersea
CLOCKWISE FROM THIS PICTURE Nutbourne restaurant champions local and wild British seasonal produce on its menu; the spacious Battersea Park, complete with picturesque boating lake; and Battersea’s legendary Bunga Bunga, famous for its weekend Party Brunch and Metro pizzas