Once considered a poor man’s Chelsea and a little too far down the rather unreliable District Line, the streets surrounding Parsons Green in Fulham have recently rocketed in favour among successful young families and western Europeans
The White Horse pub is also known as The Sloaney Pony- but don’t be put off. ‘It’s no longer as horrifically Sloaney as it once was,’ says Guy Meacock of Prime Purchase, a long-term resident until very recently. ‘It has one of the best beer ranges in west London.’ On the south side of the green, there’s the Duke on the Green, which everyone describes as ‘decent’. Leo Florees of Sullivan Thomas also recommends The Brown Cow on Fulham Road (a favourite haunt of Prince Harry’s, who is, apparently, partial to its excellent scotch eggs).
The village Post Office is at 815, Fulham Road and the Parish church is St Dionis Church on the green (where you can also take Scottish reeling classes).
Markets and fêtes
The Parsons Green farmer’s market takes place every Sunday in the New King’s School on New King’s Road. A little further beyond the boundaries, the once unremarkable North End Road market has undergone a renaissance thanks to the support of the new French residents (about which more later), who are more accustomed to shopping in markets. ‘It now sells great cheese and bread,’ says Knight Frank’s Mark O’Neill.
Butcher, baker, coffee-maker
Yummy mummies are often to be found drinking what one local has described as ‘reassuringly expensive’ coffee in the former Elizabeth King, a large deli-cum-coffee shop that’s now operated by Wimbledon village’s Bayley & Sage. For a less fancy cafe option, try Local Hero on Fulham Road. The excellent independent bookshop, Nomad, also has a coffee shop.
Fresh French bread and pastries can be found in Le Pain Quotidien just off the green. Parson’s Nose, again on Fulham Road, is regarded as one of the best butchers in London, with the look and feel of a deli, where you can buy cold and cured meats and where, like all good London butchers nowadays, you can take a class in butchery or how to make a sausage.
Restaurant-wise, although there are many outlets of the expected chains, Fulham-only haunts to look out for include Mao Tai for Chinese and Gola, an Italian that’s run by ‘a guy who looks astonishingly like Russell Crowe’, according to a regular. Amuse Bouche (almost opposite the Tube) is known as London’s most reasonable Champagne bar and upstairs is Claude’s Kitchen-a relative newcomer that is, nevertheless, topping the charts of London’s best restaurants.
Although the opening of L’école Marie d’Orliac has dramatically changed the demographic of Fulham (see later), there are other schools that prove good draws including Kensington Prep, a girls’ school where, according to The Good Schools Guide, pupils are still allowed to have ‘dream time’-unusual amid the ruthless London dayschool environment. Lady Margaret’s is a State secondary with a nice position on the green, which used to be highly thought of, but nowadays has more of a mixed press.
Sign of the times
The new cash machine installed in Parsons Green warns users that it only dispenses pounds sterling. The perennially popular Hurlingham Club’s waiting list for full membership currently stands at 20 years.
According to Savills Research, property prices in Parsons Green rose by a punchy 20% in 2013 and houses on the desirable Peterborough Estate have, in some cases, grown by some 65% in recent years. Why? Mr Meacock says that the opening of the French primary school, L’école Marie d’Orliac on Clancarty Road (a residential street that runs off Wandsworth Bridge Road) has ‘single-handedly pushed this area of Fulham into the premier league of London property among schools-driven families’.
When a house on Clancarty Road came to the market last year, there were 12 viewings before it went under offer: 11 of the hopeful buyers were French. ‘European buyers have recognised the value gap between prices in South Kensington, their traditional stomping ground, and Parsons Green,’ adds Mr Meacock.
Mr O’Neill, who has worked in Parsons Green for 21 years, agrees. ‘The French school has made a dramatic change to the dynamic of this area, but I think this began some 15 years ago with the opening of a string of private prep schools where previously there were none. It used to be the case that you came to Fulham as a singleton, you might marry and have a baby, but then you’d leave. The improved schools factor has contributed to creating a real feeling of community.’
‘One of the most sought-after pockets in Parsons Green is the Peterborough Estate, which is characterised by the ‘Lion houses’-terraced town houses, each topped by terracotta lions, that represent the cream of the area’s property,’ believes Emma Stead of Savills Fulham. ‘Prices start at about £2.7 million.’ The houses don’t have large gardens, ‘but owners don’t mind as the Hurlingham Club is just down the road,’ adds Mr O’Neill. Watch out-parking after 6pm can be a nightmare. Other streets are catching up in value-Knight Frank just sold a house in Ashington Road, a modest street of terraces, for £1.85 million.
Bradbourne Street, £3.8 million Savills (020-7731 9400)
This five-bedroom family house has been completely rebuilt using glass, timber and stone, resulting in a modern interpretation of a traditional Peterborough Estate house. The basement has been converted into a media room and fifth bedroom/bathroom (which would make an excellent nanny’s room) and the ground floor has been opened up to create one seamless kitchen and sitting room.
Chiddingstone Street, £2.895 million Knight Frank (020-7751 2400)
This five-bedroom ‘lion house’ benefits from being at the end of the terrace, so it stands on a slightly larger than average plot. Taking a more traditional tone, the house has, nevertheless, been carefully decorated and has a smart kitchen and a master bedroom with a balcony view over the Parsons Green rooftops.
Bettridge Road, £2.2 million Winkworth (020-7731 3388)
After being given a complete overhaul, the ground floor of this fivebedroom house has been opened up to form one room incorporating a large kitchen/breakfast room and reception room. The master bedroom has a smart ensuite bathroom and views over one of Fulham’s most beautiful private gardens.
New King’s Road, £750,000 Haus Properties (020-7751 0400)
Tucked away off New King’s Road (with an entrance on Quarrendon Street) is this converted mews flat. Approached through a private garden space, the flat would make a good pied-à-terre or investment for the children. There’s an open-plan kitchen/living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom.
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