Streets of London: Blythe Road, W14
An affordable conservation area with a 'Kensington' address? Blythe Road must be worth checking out
Snaking its way from Shepherd’s Bush Road to the back of Olympia, this charming, old-fashioned street has a distinctly villagey feel and is one of the few places in Zone 2’s patch of west London where you can find affordable Victorian houses, conversions and ex-local authority flats.
Located discreetly between Shepherd’s Bush and Brook Green (home to upmarket St Paul’s Girls’ School), it’s got great transport links – it’s near Heathrow Airport and within easy reach of the M4 and the west of England; a quick hop on the tube and you’re in the West End; Kensington (Olympia) rail is handy for trains to Gatwick (cheaper and quicker than the Gatwick Express) and Brighton.
(click to enlarge) A Old Parr's Head B Masbro community centre C Popeseye Steak House D Blythe Road
In Blythe Road, house prices vary according to their position on the street: the Hammersmith Road end is generally the more salubrious, and it’s here you’ll find both an eight-storey, luxury 1989 apartment complex complete with gym, and the 1930s Latymer Court mansion block, with porterage and old-fashioned cage lift, where a one-bed flat is around £235,000. Further down the road towards Olympia is where you get some very presentable split-level Victorian conversion flats and ex-local authority flats that won’t break the bank.
Blythe Road’s W14 postcode means it’s officially in West Kensington, which, rather confusingly, isn’t in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea but in the slightly more down-at-heel Hammersmith and Fulham. This is excellent news for address snobs, who can boast about living in ‘Kensington’ without paying for the privilege.
While the heaving Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre is a 15-minute walk, there are plenty of smaller, friendly shops, bars and restaurants on Blythe Road itself and in the immediate surroundings. The Blythe Road Restaurant at No 71 (020 7371 3635) does delicious Chinese food and Popeseye Steak House (No 108, 020 8788 7733) focuses on quality, classic steak and chips. Prime cuts can be found at the traditional Olympia Butchers (No 70, 020 7602 4843) and there’s a great choice of locals: The Havelock Tavern (57 Masbro Rd, W14, 020 7603 5374), which also serves fantastic Modern European food and a good pint of Flowers IPA (note: it only takes cash), the Old Parr’s Head (No 120, 020 7371 4561) and the Bird in Hand (88 Masbro Rd, 020 7603 2417).
For those wanting to take part in community activities, there’s the Masbro Centre (87 Masbro Rd, 020 7605 0800/
www.masbro.org.uk), a thriving community centre where you can practise a spot of yoga or get your kids hooked up on a play scheme.
Blythe Road is also home to Blythe House (No 23, 0870 870 4868) where the Science Museum keeps thousands of the items it can’t fit inside its South Ken space and offers tours to the public on Wednesday afternoons for a tenner (you need to book). Nearby, the Victoria & Albert Museum Archives (1 Blythe House, 32 Blythe Rd, 020 7602 5886) operates an appointments-only service.
The main advantages of buying or renting a property here are that it’s safeish, sociable and relatively quiet; it’s also cheaper to live in than neighbouring Brook Green, and a lot less stuffy than Kensington proper.
Can you afford it?
£280 per week
One-bedroom period conversion flat.
Three-bedroom split-level flat.
Estate agentsBective Leslie Marsh
(020 7603 5181/ ww.lesliemarsh.co.uk).
(020 8563 0123/ ww.bushells.com).
Colet Estate Agents
(020 7603 5959/ ww.coletestates.com).
(020 7602 6020/ www.tatesestates.co.uk).
TransportBlythe Road is located conveniently near four tube stations: Shepherd’s Bush, Goldhawk Road, Hammersmith and Kensington (Olympia) – the latter also has an overland service. It’s served by the C1 bus, which runs through Blythe Road from Fulham to Clapham Junction.
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