Airy Victorian house with garden in central London

Airy Victorian house with garden in central London

Joined

Mar 2020

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4 Bedrooms
Sleeps 6
2 Bathrooms

About our home

We love our home and our little patch of South London. Our short row of redbrick Victorian houses leads into a pretty garden 'square' (it's oval - and we have a key so you can play hide and seek there!). And we also have our own small 38ft town garden. Stockwell is unashamedly urban, with gritty tower blocks next to pretty old streets. There is air and light and sky all around so it never feels hemmed in. For visitors, getting from here to lots of things on your London hitlist is also super-easy - by bus, Tube, train, bike or boat!

Our home has four bedrooms, sleeping 6/8. Two rooms have proper big double beds; one is ours (the bed also splits into 2x singles) and the other a spare room. Our daughter has a 4ft 6ins double bed and so does the second spare room. There are two bathrooms, an upstairs sitting room and a big open-plan kitchen/dining room/playroom.

We came here in 2007 and have now renovated the whole house. First job was to replace all the windows; the new ones look just like the originals because this is a conservation area. Then we redid our guest bathroom - the one with the patchwork of glass tiles. And in 2016 we moved out for six months and changed the whole way we live in the house. It still has a lot of the original features; in fact, we put decorative cornicing back on the ground floor. But it now feels bright and contemporary. Cosy too. And really comfortable. Our kitchen has been in magazines and even on TV - at least the terrazzo worktop has, for a nanosecond.

Will looks after our garden - a scruffy lawn surrounded by informal flowerbeds that are very pretty in summer. On one side is a raspberry patch, which you are welcome to pillage. We usually grow cherry tomatoes. And there's mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay and oregano. We eat outside whenever we can. There's also an outdoor ping pong table.

We are not a very high-tech family. There is wifi. And we do have a radio/CD player in the playroom and a prehistoric TV in the sitting room upstairs. You will find a cupboard full of board games though, and lots of books.

This is a family house but our daughter is 12 so I'm afraid we don't have baby kit anymore. One bathroom is on the top floor (2nd in the UK, 3rd in the US!; the other is up the first half flight of stairs. There is no loo on the ground floor. Also, there are two steps down from the kitchen/dining room to the playroom, in case you have toddlers.

Parking is easy in our street and temporary parking permits cost £5 a day (free at weekends). We're just outside the congestion zone, which now operates 24/7. But inside the ULEZ, in case you have an older car.

Features

Harriot's reviews

As a host (4)

More about us

  1. We're a family of three with an 12-year-old daughter (going on 18). Our swaps have to tie in with school holidays: a week in February; 3 weeks at Easter; a week in late May/early June; mid-July to the end of August; last two weeks of October. Coronavirus really mucked up our first year on LHS but we've broken our duck and had our two UK swaps now. And we have another swap planned.

  2. Will is a professional sheepdog (if he says 'project manager', people's eyes tend to glaze over) and Harriot is a copywriter. We absolutely love living in London but love escaping the city too. Our best holidays, at home and abroad, have involved exploring somewhere new, where there's a feast for our eyes (great architecture, fabulous landscapes, whatevs), fresh local food and, ideally, swimming. Will and the kid will do front crawl across a puddle. Harriot likes warmer water.

  3. We love books, practical studio ceramics, pictures and other things that tickle the eye, woodburners and squishy velvet sofas, and home-grown raspberries. And that's what you'll find at our house.

Swap availability

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Where is it?

Neighbourhood

Stockwell is sometimes called Little Portugal and you can see that in the local shops and cafes. Tree-lined streets of smart Georgian and Victorian houses sit next to an old converted printworks and tower blocks, old and new. Local landmarks include:
• Van Gogh’s house just round the corner in Hackford Road, now restored and someone's home, but they hold openings and events
• Stockwell bus garage – “one of the finest examples of post war modernist architecture” with a huge unsupported, vaulted concrete roof, hence Grade II*
• Prince Albert’s Model Cottage for the Poor, moved from the Great Exhibition to Kennington Park
• Kia Oval, home of Surrey Cricket and the T20. Also a venue for The Hundred, a new fast-play competition for men and women, with eight city-based teams

Our main road follows the route of a Roman road so it's very straight, with the Shard and other landmark skyscrapers framed at the end of it. The South Bank feels very local. We used to take our daughter to the fabulous children's music, theatre and literary events, lots of them free. She was at school near Battersea Power Station, also quite nearby, so we have watched the redevelopment with huge interest.

We are on the opposite side of the Thames from Victoria, which is a brisk half-hour walk or three Tube stops away. There you'll find the main train station for trips south out of London (including to Gatwick airport), as well as the capital's main coach station.

Slightly closer, south of us, is Brixton. This is a buzzy multi-cultural hub with music venues, semi-permanent pop-up restaurants and a lovely local cinema. Just beyond that is Brockwell Park, which has amazing views across London, as well as an art deco open-air pool or lido. We love an early-morning swim there in the summer, followed by a bumper breakfast at the cafe.

Our local Tube station is Stockwell, which is on the Victoria and Northern lines. Vauxhall Overground train station is 15 minutes walk (for an easy ride out to Kew Gardens, Wimbledon or Hampton Court). The nearest pier for regular river services (to the Tower of London, for example) is at Vauxhall too. We are also on lots of bus routes. National Express coaches stop nearby on the way to Victoria - a cheap service to Gatwick airport that runs all night. And there is a Santander Cycle docking station two minutes away.

Buzzy restaurants
Canton Arms, Arepa & Co, Oval 24, Booma, Sugarcane, Pop Brixton, Canova Hall, Market Halls (Victoria)
Cool bars
Canton Arms, Crown & Anchor, Fentiman Arms, Pop Brixton
Cozy cafés
Coffee Studio, Serana, Di Lieto, Cafe Parco, Cable
Retail therapy
Borough Market, Oxford Street and King's Road are all within easy reach. Meanwhile, there's a small Tesco supermarket at the end of our road and a larger Lidl between here and the Tube station. And we buy most of our fresh food at Oval Farmers Market on a Saturday (10 minutes walk).
Bit of culture
Maybe 25-minute walk to Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery. Direct bus or Tube ride to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, Imperial War Museum, the South Bank arts centre, Somerset House, Trafalgar Square where you'll find the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery,London's major museums at South Kensington, the British Museum
Walks in the park
Kennington Park, Vauxhall Park, Brockwell Park (by bus), Battersea Park with its recumbant bikes, Go Ape and mini golf (by bus)
Spot of exercise
A gym 5 mins walk away; a pool, a cross fit gym, and a bouldering centre 15 mins walk; another cross fit gym and a boxing gym 20 mins walk
Day tripping
Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, Brighton - all in easy reach by train

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