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Town & Country: With £850,000 to spend, would you choose Canonbury or Aspley Guise?

In demand: Leafy Canonbury


■ LYING east of Upper Street and Essex Road, Canonbury is rather special, even by the area’s high architectural standards. ‘Canonbury is the most leafy and attractive part of Islington, a delightful location of mostly Georgian squares and Victorian terraces. It has a sense of tranquillity and a way of transporting you away from London’s hustle and bustle,’ says Will Cracknell of Dexters. ‘Properties are the epitome of elegance and you see actors, actresses, theatre directors, city bankers and lawyers,’ adds Saul Empson of Haringtons Buying Agency. ‘You could expect to pay £3-4million for a really good, 3,000sq ft five-bed house; around £1.25m for a two or three-bed cottage and £600,000-£1.5m for a great flat.’


3-bed flat, £850,000

Desirable duplex: A light-filled ground and first-floor maisonette with a streamlined contemporary décor, a private entrance and immaculate garden, with 124 years on the lease. Savills

Commute time: 10 mins from Canonbury to King’s Cross, changing at Highbury & Islington

Commute cost: Annual Travelcard £1,404

Price per sq ft: £898


Thatch amazing: Aspley Guise is a hidden gem

■ BEDFORDSHIRE’S rural villages are often described as hidden gems, and Aspley Guise is one of the brightest of the bunch. Located next to the Woburn Estate — home to Woburn Abbey and Safari Park — it has more than 30 listed buildings; during World War II, it housed top-secret intelligence facilities. Today it’s thriving, with a primary school rated outstanding, restaurant and golf club. Commuting is easy; it’s close to the M1 and has its own station, though some commute from Flitwick. ‘Aspley Guise is a community-minded village and a micro-market,’ says Richard Banks of Michael Graham. ‘A period cottage is £350,000-plus, and five-bed houses go up to £2million.’

Aspley Guise

4-bed house, £845,000

Central setting: This Victorian detached house has three reception rooms, a modern kitchen and separate utility room and a sunny, wraparound garden. Michael Graham

Commute time: 41 mins from Flitwick to St Pancras International

Commute cost: Season ticket £5,680

Price per sq ft: £523

…or why not get 2 for the price of 1?


One-bed flat, £525,000, Cluttons

THIS beautifully maintained flat is on the first floor of a classic, red-brick mansion block, a short stroll from the shops and bars on Essex Road and Upper Street. It has high ceilings, large windows and generously-sized rooms, with a tastefully decorated living room, a separate, recently refurbished kitchen opening on to a small balcony, a fully tiled bathroom and a bedroom with built-in wardrobes. There’s also a communal garden and residents’ parking.

Aspley Guise

Two-bed house £315,000, Beasley & Partners

SASH windows and exposed timber floorboards are among the original features of this double-fronted cottage, convenient for the village school and the station. The front door opens into the living/dining room, which spans the full width of the property and has an open fireplace and staircase up to the first-floor bedrooms, The bathroom and kitchen are off an inner hallway, and a courtyard at the back accesses off-road parking for two cars.

TOTAL SPEND £840,000