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Town & Country: With £850,000 to spend, would you choose St John’s Wood or Barkway?

Hey Jude: The zebra crossing in St John’s Wood was made famous by The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover PICTURE: ALAMY


FOR those who can afford to live in NW8, there’s no reason to ever move out. Sir Paul McCartney is a case in point, as his London base is the house he bought here in 1965 (before The Beatles embarked on their last tour). The area nudges Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, has a useful and boutique-filled high street, while the central setting makes getting around a cinch. ‘St John’s Wood has always been very cosmopolitan and there are a lot of City workers,’ says David Brand of Chestertons. ‘It mainly comprises large apartment buildings and the relatively small amount of houses tend to be from the mid-to-late 19th century. One-bed flats start at circa £500,000, with some houses on Avenue Road achieving up to £50million.’

St John’s Wood

Two-bed flat, £850,000

Contemporary: An architecturally designed home in a modern apartment building, featuring a refurbished kitchen/reception room with bi-fold doors leading out to a roof terrace. Hamptons International,

Commute time: 5 minutes to Bond Street

Commute cost: Annual Travelcard £1,404

Price per sq ft: £1,084


Pretty in pink, green and yellow: Thatched roof cottages in Barkway PICTURE: ALAMY

ORIGINALLY a coach stop on the London to Cambridge road, this North Herts village offers easy access to the A10 and surrounding countryside. Its history is evident in the mix of period properties — thatched, flint, half-timbered and brick cottages and larger Georgian houses. The church dates back 800 years. There’s a primary school and cosy pub with restaurant. Barley, the next village, has a shop, while Royston is four miles away. ‘We see a lot of London buyers moving to the area. Barkway’s a nice little village and once there, people stay so there’s never very much on the market,’ says Craig Flynn of Connells. ‘The entry point for a two-bed cottage with parking and a garden is around £275,000.’


Five-bed house, £850,000

Family focus: One of the 12 brand new houses at Birch Meadow, on the edge of the village, this five-bed property hasa combined kitchen/living/ family room and three bathrooms. Storey Homes,

Commute time: 38 minutes from Royston to King’s Cross

Commute cost: Annual season ticket £6,340

Price per sq ft: £404

…or why not get 2 for the price of 1?

St John’s Wood

One-bed flat, £500,000, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward,

This bright top-floor apartment overlooks the upmarket shops and cafes on St John’s Wood high street and is only a five minute walk from the Tube station and Regent’s Park. Consists of a living/dining room with a bay window and an archway into the fitted kitchen, a double bedroom and plenty of built-in storage.


Three-bed house, £350,000, Connells,

Located in the centre of the village, virtually opposite the church, this end-of-terrace cottage is deceptively spacious and boasts exposed beams and original fireplaces. There’s also a traditional kitchen with solid wood worktops and a butler’s sink, a cloakroom, a cellar and a loft room (currently used as a workshop), plus lots of storage and a patio area with a shed.

Total spend: £850,000