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Hotspot: The grass is greener in Greenwich

Greenwich

With history, beauty, royal connections, great transport and world-class entertainment among its many qualities, it could be said that Greenwich, this south London town on the banks of the Thames has it all

The world-renowned area of Greenwich in south London is famed for its maritime and regal connections. Forming part of the Royal Borough, it is home to the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, university and Maritime Museum and is the very place that puts the G in GMT. With all this to offer, the pretty town centre has long been a popular destination for tourists, easily accessed by the Thames clipper, but there are parts of the borough that have only just begun to shine. The Greenwich Peninsula, a once barren, industrial wasteland, has been completely transformed since the arrival of the Jubilee line in the late nineties and the Millennium Dome in 2000 – which went on to become the O2 Arena, one of the country’s most popular entertainment venues. The Olympics shone an even brighter light on the area, and today the peninsula is a thriving metropolis, with thousands of new homes and many destination bars, hotels and office buildings. The Royal Borough, with its outlaying towns including Woolwich, Eltham and Blackheath, is on an upward trajectory. Well served by public transport – with Crossrail due to arrive in 2018 – and with pulling power for businesses, home buyers and tourists alike, it is a bright and bustling place to live.

Homes and residents
The population of the borough is comprised of a rich mix of diversity and multi-culturalism, with over 90 languages spoken. There are over 100,000 homes and counting across the borough, with residents living within a range of house types. Head to the towns of Eltham and Charlton, and you’ll find large areas of 1920s family homes, while in Woolwich and on the Greenwich Peninsula there are many new homes being built. The area’s location and its accessibility to Canary Wharf means it attracts a great deal of workers from the financial district. It’s also a very attractive area for families: there’s plenty of beautiful green space, easy connections around the borough, plenty of family sized homes in the outlaying towns and easy access to the Kent and Surrey countryside.

Out and about
Greenwich is an old and interesting area, steeped in history. It’s a perfect place to explore, and to impress and entertain family and friends. Once you’ve explored the centre, head on up the grassy hill in beautiful Greenwich Park to take in one of the finest views in London. Check out the sky at night at the Royal Observatory, or simply enjoy crossing the GMT line, which is marked on the floor. In the pretty, bustling town centre, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking. A favourite jaunt for locals and visitors alike is a short walk along the river to the Trafalgar Tavern. Catch the tide and you can sit in the window with the waves lapping at your side. But once you’ve trodden the tourist trails, it’s always a pleasure to step just a few minutes from the Saturday crowds and explore what the quieter back streets have to offer. For a relaxed lunch with a great wine list, try the Vanbrugh close to Maze Hill. This recently relaunched pub sits in a quiet part of Greenwich and is perfect for a relaxed treat.

For a lively evening atmosphere, head to the Plume of Feathers on the outskirts of Greenwich park. This cosy pub makes the most of the town’s maritime heritage and serves up a great-quality, hearty menu. The Greenwich Union on Royal Hill, is also good for an evening meet-up and serves a selection of beers from the borough’s famous Greenwich Meantime Brewery. The brewery itself is located a 20-minute walk from the town centre, and welcomes visitors for pre-booked tours.

However you decide to travel, be it via DLR, cable car, or on foot through the pedestrian tunnel, you’ll be able to reach Mudchute Park and Farm, on the other side of the river, in just a few minutes. A great place for visitors of all ages, the park is set within 32 acres of countryside and includes a working farm, stables and runs plenty of activities and is a welcome slice of greenery in the city.

Shopping
Hop on the tube at North Greenwich and you’re at Stratford’s huge Westfield shopping centre in 10 minutes. Head in the other direction and you’ll arrive at Bond Street in 17 minutes, where you’ll find more world-class shopping facilities. Within Greenwich itself there’s also plenty of choice when it comes to shopping. Thriving Greenwich market is arguably south London’s best undercover market and its large variety of stalls are perfect for buying handcrafted gifts, paintings, clothes, jewellery and antiques, or great fun to just peruse. The market is also home to some excellent food stalls, if you’re looking to grab a bite on the go.

Other areas within the borough, including Woolwich and Charlton, also have busy high streets with good shopping facilities. Nearby Deptford, half of which sits in the borough of Greenwich, is also famed for its lively market, where you can pick up anything from household goods and clothes to second-hand electricals.

Transport
Much of the borough, which sits across London travel zones 2, 3 and 4, is connected to central London by rail services. Mainline trains from Greenwich to London Bridge take just 11 minutes, while the journey from Woolwich takes around 20 minutes. Parts of the borough are also served by the DLR, enabling fast travel to Canary Wharf and the financial district, which sits just over the river. Of course, the Jubilee line at North Greenwich makes for fast travel to the West End, and the Thames Clipper boat services run all the way up to Putney. The Emirates Airline – the cable car that zips over the river from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria – is also a fast and fun way to travel north of the Thames. And what the borough lacks in underground transport, it makes up for in bus routes, with excellent bus connections to local areas as well as into central London.

Fact File
Average property price (January 2016) – £397,895
Property breakdown:* (Greenwich)
Detached – £722,339
Semi-detached – £464,946
Terraced – £381,164
Flat – £356,766
*According to the Land Registry House Price Index, January 2016

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