A rundown of the celebrity hotspots and where they live in London
Guest post by Mike James
As one of the greatest cities in the world, it’s no surprise that London is home to a huge number of celebrity residents. Top-tier athletes brush shoulders with supermodels and music icons, while A-list actors hang out across the room from media moguls, international entrepreneurs and TV personalities.
One of the small joys of living in London as a Regular Person™ is that there’s every chance you might bump into a famous face at any moment. A quick glimpse seems to elevate your social status for a day, while discovering that a celebrity hangs out at your local or lives at the end of your road can make it feel like you’re getting just that little bit more value from your extortionate rent.
The difficulty is in finding these elusive characters in the first place. For some reason, A-listers are rarely seen catching the Northern line or checking in to a local café on Facebook, so working out where to live for the best chance of a celebrity neighbour can be tricky. Of course, the West End is well-known for its notable residents, but no sensible person can afford to rent in Kensington and Chelsea (not even the stars of ‘Made in Chelsea’, most of whom live in Fulham).
The answer lies in North London, where the most exclusive neighbourhoods may still be pricey, but the surrounding areas are much more affordable (at least for London). If you’re keen to sniff out a property with notable neighbours, here are your best options.
#1 | Primrose Hill
Known for being home to a wave of trendy young celebrities in the 90s (known as the ‘Primrose Hill Set’), this area of London still enjoys a cool reputation with contemporary icons. Kate Moss and the Gallagher brothers might have moved out, but Primrose Hill 2.0 residents like Georgia May Jagger and Suki Waterhouse ensure that the star-quality neighbourhood continues.
Needless to say, a house in Primrose Hill can rack up some serious social points, making it a highly desirable area to buy or rent. If you’re thinking of investing in a property and renting it out, it’s highly recommended that you consult with a professional property management firm, like local estate agents Peter Barry to help you maximise its value.
#2 | St John’s Wood
Just around the corner from Primrose Hill is St John’s Wood, which is even more saturated with celebrities. Vintage rockers like Keith Richards and Sir Paul McCartney have homes nearby, as do Lily Allen and Bill Nighy. Ewan McGregor also lived there until very recently, although he was spotted moving into a new bachelor pad in LA at the end of last year, suggesting that moving to St John’s Wood is the next best thing to running off to California.
If this sounds like your kind of neighbourhood, you’ll need about £500,000 for a 2-bed flat, though small 1-beds and studios are available from £350,000.
#3 | Highgate
While the original Primrose Hill Set may have moved on, many of them haven’t moved far. Kate Moss, Liam Gallagher and Jude Law all have homes in nearby Highgate, one of the most desirable spots in London. Not only are its leafy streets much-loved by contemporary celebrities, Highgate has housed an impressive list of historical famous figures, including TS Eliot and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The village is built up of stunning Georgian properties and heritage estates, including London’s second-largest private residence (Witanhurst, second in size only to Buckingham Palace). Over the centuries, Highgate has benefited from a constant influx of affluent residents looking to escape the spotlight of central London, helping it to maintain a prestigious reputation and one of the most expensive postcodes in the city.
#4 | Muswell Hill
Venture just a little further north and you’ll reach Muswell Hill, another city village with a self-contained feel that makes it appeal to celebrities (and plenty of normal folks), who are done with the noise and fuss of more central locations. Wander around Ally Pally or dip into the Art Deco-styled Everyman cinema and you might just spot some famous faces in person, like Peter Capaldi or James McAvoy. You can also spot radio presenter Lauren Laverne or writer Caitlin Moran if you keep your eyes peeled.
Transport to Muswell Hill is limited (there’s no train lines) which means traffic is high, but prices are relatively low. Decent 1-bedroom flats start at around £300,000.
#5 | Barnet
Barnet is another popular area for celebrities of all ages, offering an escape from central London while still feeling close to the action. You might be able to spot a former Spice Girl, as Emma Bunton now lives with her fiancé and their children not far from where she grew up in Finchley. Football fans should keep their eyes peeled for Arsene Wenger who has owned his Totteridge home for over 20 years, and One Direction fans might be lucky enough to bump into Zayn Malik near his home in central Barnet – although it seems he spends a lot of his time across the pond, too.
Barnet is also home to Princess Park Manor, possibly one of the most concentrated celebrity residences in North London. A former psychiatric hospital, the building was renovated in 1995 and is now contains luxury flats which have previously been home to the collective members of One Direction and Girls Aloud, amongst other up-and-coming popstars and footballers. If you fancy having these guys as your neighbours, 2-bed properties are currently available in the region of £500,000.
A quick look online will tell you that none of these neighbourhoods are cheap but searching one or two postcodes over should help you find a bargain. If you’re not sure about paying the premium price tag, don’t forget that there are plenty of rising starts making a name for themselves south of the river and in East London, which are more affordable for the average budget!