Just a few years ago buyers rejected Bayswater on the grounds of it being on the ‘wrong side of the road’. Back in the day, simply because Bayswater was technically in London W2, many buyers were put off because of it having the wrong postcode.
I recall a great architect designed house on Hereford Road in W2 which was cool, modern and occupying a great plot. It was a fantastic buying opportunity, but buyers wouldn’t even consider viewing it because it was in W2. Eventually, the house was bought by a developer and has since sold for serious money. At the time the architect designed another house in Notting Hill, a stone’s throw away in W11 which attracted serious interest, illustrating that the postcode was the key driver.
Fast forward 15 years and Hereford Road is one of the most sought-after roads in W2.
Slowly over the past 10 to 15 years, this postcode snobbery has fallen away. Buyers have realised that they can get good houses and better value for money if they stop focusing on postcodes and look at what the actual property offers,
- where it lies in which street,
- what the locality has to offer,
- local amenities, green spaces and transport links.
Having spent most of the 20th century drifting into decline, known as ‘bedsit land’ and without a clear identity, the 21st century has witnessed Bayswater gradually getting noticed by wealthy overseas investors and buyers from the USA, The Middle East and Brazil as well as government investment, all of which has helped to lead the cosmopolitan revival across W2.
Property in Bayswater
Today most of the housing stock in Bayswater consists of impressive white stucco four or five storeys buildings. Many are now divided into luxury apartments offering excellent lateral space and generous proportions. Some enjoy a lovely green aspect looking across garden squares. Bayswater is now home to contemporary high-spec apartment blocks. Tucked away one can also find some attractive mews properties and five/six bedroom family houses in and around Connaught Square – home to Tony and Cherie Blair.
Architecturally Bayswater still boasts some lovely white stucco crescents and terraces and a few rather fine beautiful Georgian garden squares. The lesser known Cleveland Square, Craven Hill Gardens, is home to architect Kenneth Frampton’s residential block the Corringham, formerly the home of the Hempel Hotel. Leinster Square was the chosen site for luxury developers Alchemi, who in collaboration with architects and designers, took on the project of converting a stucco fronted Grade II Listed Victorian terrace which included a dilapidated hostel and converted them into six luxurious lateral apartments and five wonderful townhouses. The project completed in June 2016; the developers worked with local residents and the garden committee to rejuvenate and revitalise Leinster garden square, with residents of numbers 7 to 12 benefiting from private access and membership.
Pockets of Bayswater continue to be sold off to developers, including commercial spaces and hotel buildings. Both Whiteleys shopping centre and Queensway have been acquired by an international investor planning to create a ‘destination village’ offering shopping and eating and give this area of W2 a welcome facelift. Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line is scheduled to open later this year at Paddington Station, reducing journey times to Canary Wharf to 17 minutes trip and just 10 minutes to Liverpool Street Station.
Eating Out in Bayswater
Bayswater today is an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary, with a more edgy vibe than its more reserved neighbouring postcodes. However, like Notting Hill it manages to be both cool and cosmopolitan. Eating and shopping choices reflect this with a North African restaurant, Morrocan Sahara in Hereford Road and Hafez offering delicious Persian cuisine. Richard Branson enjoys going Greek at Halepi and locals flock to the Aphrodite Taverna for traditional Cypriot food.
There are many upmarket pubs to choose from including the The Leinster Arms, The Swan over the road from Hyde Park and for cocktails visit Old Mary’s at The Mitre Townhouse.
London has pretty much exhausted new prime postcodes it makes sense to listen to the likes of us; those who have seen it all before. My advice is to cast your eye to the wider prime locations. This is why Bayswater still offers investment potential and long term gain; the houses are pretty much identical with good solid architecture (with a few one-offs tucked away). Bayswater also benefited from investment and now has great infrastructure and transport links. For those in search of more space for your money, a cooler vibe and all the perks of a prime postcode but offering greater value than more conservative Kensington & Chelsea, then ditch the postcode etiquette and head to Bayswater.