The north west London borough of Harrow borders some of the country’s finest countryside and offers the perfect mix of city life and green space – with many new homes springing up, it’s a top choice for eager homebuyers
The London borough of Harrow, which borders the Hertfordshire countryside, is famed worldwide for its eponymous school, which sits pretty in Harrow on the Hill. The institution has schooled seven of the country’s prime ministers, prominent political and media personalities, and has also provided a distinctive architectural character for its surrounding area.
This is a large and diverse London borough, though, and is varied in its population and housing. Harrow on the Hill enjoys a village feel, which is also enjoyed in Pinner and Stanmore, but some of the other districts have been slower to bloom. Both Harrow and Wealdstone town centres, however, are currently undergoing a £1.75 billion regeneration programme that promises to deliver thousands of new homes, schools and jobs to the area. So while Harrow begins to find its feet as a suburban hotspot, what better time for first time buyers to take advantage of all the borough has to offer, including great commuting times and a perfect mix of country and city.
Homes and residents
The famous Harrow School, founded in 1572, has had a great influence on Harrow on the Hill, especially when it comes to the type of homes in the area. Close to the beautiful, sprawling school buildings, we find grand Victorian properties as well as quaint cottages. Around the rest of the borough, the property is diverse, and ranges from pretty Victorian terraces and impressive Edwardian properties to apartment blocks – with several new developments underway in the area – while a great proportion of property is made up of 1930s semi-detached homes, which line wide, tree-lined streets.
The population of the borough is culturally diverse, with a large Asian population, which gives way to many great Asian shops, restaurants and events. It is also an increasingly popular area with first time buyers, who are attracted by good commuting times as well the great mix between country and city.
Out and about
Harrow is an ideal home for those who love to get outside. A large proportion of the borough is made up of parkland and green space. Visit Stanmore Common, Woodcock Park and Headstone Manor – just a few of the good parks for running, dog walking or entertaining children in the area. For longer walks, bike rides and nature spotting, head to Colne Valley, a 27,500-acre green space that spreads into Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The parkland is just beautiful and takes in rivers and reservoirs, as well as a portion of the Grand Union canal. Playgolf, a golfing complex in Northwick Park, is also a fun way to spend a few hours. As well as a regular golf course, there’s a shorter, nautical-themed course, perfect for adults and children, as well as a driving range.
After a hard day’s walk, there is plenty by way of food, drink and evening entertainment. Harrow on the Hill has a nice collection of restaurants, delis and country pubs. Locals love the Dolls House on the Hill for cake and coffee, while Incanto is a popular choice for rustic Italian food and good wine. The Hare at Old Redding, a Georgian pub in a beautiful, green setting, is perfect for kicking back with a Sunday lunch.
Seafood lovers will be in heaven at the Fat Crab, near Rayners Lane station. This small and informal restaurant serves a very reasonably priced menu of delicious seafood including crab, clams and lobster.
The large Asian population in Harrow means there are some excellent Indian restaurants. Shree Sai Vada Pav in Rayners Park is well worth a visit. It offers an extensive menu of mouth-watering vegetarian food including Mumbai street snacks, wraps and specialties.
For theatre and arts, head to Harrow Arts Centre in Hatch End. The beautiful Grade-listed centre hosts a range of events including film, comedy, plays and classes and workshops. You can also explore the rich history of the area at the Headstone Manor Museum, which offers guided tours, talks and events.
The buzzing town centre in Harrow is served by two very good shopping centres – St Ann’s and St George’s. At St Anne’s you’ll find a wide range of high street brands, from Primark to Marks & Spencer, while at St George’s, as well as the retail, there are salons, plenty of restaurants as well as a gym and 12-screen cinema.
There are some very good markets popping up in the area, which reflect the local appetite for quality, locally sourced products. The Village Market in Harrow on the Hill is a popular choice with local foodies and shoppers. Held every other Sunday, products range from fresh fruit and veg, cheese, bread and meat to art and vinyl. The founder’s aim is to bring a village market feel back to the area. Harrow on the Hill is also home to some interesting independent shops.
Duck Pond Market in Ruislip is also well worth a visit. With live music and face painting – as well as the many stalls selling local products and crafts, it’s a must for all the family.
Harrow, which straddles both travel Zones 4 and 5, has no fewer than 15 Tube stations, serving commuters on the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. The area is also served by Overground as well as regular train services. Travel into central London from Harrow on the Hill takes just 26 minutes, while from Harrow and Wealdstone, the Overground whizzes into Euston in just 14 minutes. Trains also connect the area to south London as far as East Croydon (taking just over an hour), as well as north to Watford (in just eight minutes) and further to the West Midlands and beyond.