Where city meets country - 15 minutes from central London
Tue 21 Apr 2015
This pretty riverside village with a cricket pitch and pond has always been a family favourite...which is why they stay, saysAnthea Masey
With its own village green, cricket pitch, ancient church and delightful old pubs, it's hard to believe that Barnes is only 15 minutes away from Central London by train.
This attractive spot in the borough of Richmond upon Thames is almost certainly what Londoners have in mind when they say their city is made up of a series of vilages.
Barnes still feels like that isolated riverside village which for centuries was surrounded by land owned by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral.
Old maps show that a village on any major scale didnt emerge until 1827 when the first Hammersmith Bridge opened and a new road was built through the fields.
That road is Castelnau and, like so many roads in Barnes, it tells a stroy. Castelnau-le-Lez, a village on the outskirts of Montpellier in southern France.
In the late 17th Century, the 10th Baron of Castelnau and St Croix, a Huguenot, fled France for England following persecution, and his son, Charles Boileau, settled in Barnes. Descendants went on to build a row of fine regency-style villas along the road.
Further development followed the arrival of the railway in 1846, the event that eventually turned Barnes into one of the capital's most desirable commuter villages.
1926, London County Council built Castelnau estate, a cottage-style garden estate, on market gardens behind Castelnau. It named the roads - Stillingfleet, Nowell and Alderbury - after former deans of St Paul's.
Barnes occupies a large - almost island-like-loop on the south bank of the Thames, with Hammersmith across the river to the north, Putney to the south, and Mortlake and East Sheen to the west.
That loop forms part of the Championship course for the Oxford and Cambridge boat race.
Today, Barnes is home to many writers and celebrities, including Lord Patten, former chairman of the BBC Trust, television journalist Peter Snow and his son Dan, the broadcaster and former Consevative MP Gyles Brandreth, children's author, performance poet and playwright Roger McGough, and Judith Kerr, who wrote the children's storybook The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
What there is to buy
Barnes has narrow lanes that are lined with pastel-painted cottages, plus enviable Georgian houses with river views, substanial red-brick early Victorian villas along Castelnau, and large Edwardian houses in Lonsdale Road. There is also a good supply of mansion flats.
This is a wealthy area and many homeowners have invested heavily in extending their properties with striking contemporary additions.
The area attracts:
estate agent Samuel Bide, from Marsh and Parsons says Barnes is a place that attracts second and third time buyers who are looking for a family home, and eight out of 10 sales involve houses rather than flats.
"Barnes has a strong sense of community, with many familys living in the same house for 20 or 30 years," he says. However, with few houses for sale for less than 1million, most of Barnes' homebuyers today work in the financial sector.
Staying power: while families settle in Barnes, says Bide, the local market is active with people moving up and down the property ladder.
Best Roads: The Crescent, Hillersdon
Avenue and Laurel Road. Roads near the village that are highly regarded include Rectory Road, Melville Road and Nassau Road. The Regency style villas with their coach houses in Castlenau suit those who don't mind living on a main road.