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Neighbourhood Watch: Covent Garden

For retail therapy, eating out and all-round entertainment, this central and atmospheric quarter puts on the greatest show

Setting the scene

When its historic fruit, veg and flower market moved south of the river to Nine Elms in 1974, little did anyone imagine that Covent Garden would reinvent itself as a dynamic shopping, dining and entertainment destination, home to 6,000 people and visited by over 40 million every year. Property giant Capco has given the historic buildings in the Covent Garden estate around the Piazza a new lease of life, and the narrow streets radiating from Seven Dials are packed with quirky indie shops and high-end chains. Cobbled streets, twisty alleys and hidden courtyards enhance the area’s character and ensure there’s always something new to discover.

What’s new

Hexagon Apartments (below) is a collection of one, two and three-bed homes spread across 15 floors in a converted 1950s office block between Covent Garden and Holborn tube stations. Designed by renowned architects Squire & Partners and with interiors by Michaelis Boyd, they start from £1.079million for a one-bed, through Savills, savills.co.uk, and Strutt & Parker, struttandparker.com.

Parker Tower, part of the same building, is one of a handful of shared ownership developments in Zone 1, and consists of six one-bed apartments. Just one remains, with a spacious open-plan kitchen/living/dining room with Siemens integrated appliances, floor-to-ceiling windows and tonnes of storage. It’s priced from £232,500 for a 25 per cent share of £930,000, through Site Sales, parkertower.site-sales.co.uk.

Super-sleek: Parker Tower

Nearby, Londonewcastle’s Chapter House has 40 converted studio, one, two and three-bed apartments and penthouses. Most have outside space, and a studio starts from £995,000, chapterhouse.london.

Boutique: Great Newport Street

Only two luxury apartments are left in a boutique scheme in a recently renovated building on Great Newport Street. A three-bed, two-bath lower-ground and ground-floor home with a private patio is £1.85m, and the three-bed, two-bath penthouse with two private terraces is £2.995m, through Tavistock Bow, tavistockbow.com.

Snooping around

Grown up: Henrietta Street

Houses in the vicinity are rare beasts, so big-ticket buyers tend to splash out on large lateral apartments. Depending on budget, other options are converted warehouses, mansion blocks, ex-local authority flats and new developments. ‘Covent Garden is the grown-up Soho and commercial landowners now care a lot more about residential as they’ve have created the perfect place to work, play and live,’ says Craig Simpson of Tavistock Bow, tavistockbow.com. ‘In new developments, the average one-bed starts at £1.1-1.2million, so around £2,000 per sq ft, and resale stock averages from £1,400 to £1,600 per sq ft.’

Vital statistics

Council tax (B and D): £753.85 (Westminster) or £1,562.35 (Camden)

Commuting time: in Zone 1

Annual Travelcard: £1,444

Amenities: ★★★★★ Main shopping areas The Market Building, Long Acre, Floral Street, Neal Street and Seven Dials contain a mix of global brands, designer labels, high street names and independent boutiques; dozens of restaurants representing virtually every cuisine; Jubilee Market; Seven Dials food market opened last year; 40 theatres within walking distance; Royal Opera House; London Transport Museum; mime artists, magicians and musicians are among the kaleidoscope of the Piazza’s street performers; Oasis sports centre

Open space: ★★☆☆☆ People-watching in the Piazza; St Paul’s Church garden and the Phoenix Garden

Schools: ★★★★☆ GCSE and A level results above average; several state primaries, all judged outstanding or good by Ofsted

Crime: ★★☆☆☆ Higher than average

Who lives there? Well-off media types, downsizers, and a recent increase in tech-based workers and the super-wealthy

On location: Daniel Craig filmed here

Famous faces: Scenes from Mary Poppins Returns, Hummingbird and Spectre were shot in and around the Covent Garden area.

(Schools and profile supplied by Zoopla)

Property ladder

First rung

£625,000,Winkworth

A bijou, ground-floor one-bed off Drury Lane. Has a long lease, hardwood floors and a communal garden.

Average for Covent Garden

£1.3million, Foxtons

Set in the heart of Seven Dials, this split-level, fourth and fifth-floor flat benefits from a bright, expansive living space, a generous double bedroom and a private balcony. (The average property in Covent Garden is currently valued at £1,218,334 according to Zoopla)

Luxury

£5.5million, Knight Frank

This huge duplex includes three double bedrooms – all with en suites – a fully integrated kitchen/diner and its own 45ft-terrace.

Rent report

‘Covent Garden attracts international tenants aged 19-35, either students at UCL, Kings, LSE or professionals predominately in the finance or tech industry. Average rent for a two-bed apartment is around £2,500pcm,’ says Nancy Archer of Chestertons.