The north-west London suburb of Kingsbury has historical roots from before Saxon times. Meaning ‘the king’s manor’, Kingsbury sat on an important route north. While the district’s transport routes established the original settlement, it was a more modern mode of transport, the train, which established it as a firm favourite with commuters. Its location means it’s easily accessible from the whole of London and is close to some stunning open spaces and the beauty of the Buckinghamshire countryside beyond.
It’s not quite clear when Kingsbury was first established, but what is known is that settlers liked the site because it was on a crossroads of the Roman road Watling Street (now Edgware Road) and Honeypot Lane. Archaeologists have found Bronze Age cremation burial sites close to nearby Brent Reservoir, and Roman material was found near St Andrew’s Church on what is thought to the site of a Roman villa. The two roads brought plenty of passing traffic, giving a through route to invaders such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans.
In the Middle Ages the area was covered in forest. The two manors of Chingesberie and Harrow are mentioned in the Doomsday Book but they were subsequently broken up. Kingsbury Church provided a focus for the settlement, and Kingsbury Manor maintained close connections with the nearby parish of Edgware when it and Edgware Manor were given to All Souls College in Oxford in 1442. Life in Kingsbury was tough and the population suffered badly during the Black Death. Homes near St Andrew’s Church were abandoned and it took until the 20th century for people to return to this part of Kingsbury.
As the forest was cleared, so the number of homes grew. Coaching inns sprang up at the crossroads and a thriving farming community developed alongside some wealthy families who occupied several big villas in the countryside. By the 20th century, Kingsbury had become a focus for the aeronautical industry. 20 homes in Stag Lane were built in 1909-10 for aircraft workers and their families. The importance of the airfield led to better roads being built, followed by more light industries and eventually the railway. A thousand homes were built a year between 1931 and 1933, which meant the area was the fastest growing in London at that time.
Kingsbury was no longer a village and in 1934 it was amalgamated with nearby Wembley to form part of Wembley Borough, which is now known as the London Borough of Brent. Some important developments happened at this time for the community, including the building of a new town hall on Forty Lane. The public library was opened in 1940 and an open-air swimming pool was also built. It was a modern, exciting place to live. Immigrants from Africa and Asia kept the shops alive and have created the modern, diverse and cosmopolitan suburb that it is today.
Kingsbury grew in popularity with the arrival of the railway. In 1932, Kingsbury Station opened on the Metropolitan Railway, on the branch line to Stanmore to the north. A year later, London Transport was born and Kingsbury now found itself part of the underground and the renamed Metropolitan Line. Subsequent reorganisations then put Kingsbury on the Bakerloo Line, connecting it to Baker Street and the West End. In 1979, the line changed again and Kingsbury was on the Jubilee Line, which is still is today. This link and the work to extend the Jubilee Line in 1999 into East London mean that there is a very fast connection to London Docklands and Canary Wharf. Connection times are an important factor to consider when looking at property for sale in Kingsbury. While Londoners are used to travelling up to 90 minutes each way per day, living in Kingsbury is a good option for those who work in Central London and for those who work in the City and in Docklands. Many financial-sector workers who have viewed property for sale in Kingsbury have ended up buying because they can be at work within half an hour.
Other transport connections include close proximity to Wembley Park tube station on the Metropolitan line, which goes as far as Amersham in Buckinghamshire, and the mainline rail services to Harrow-on-the-Hill. The area is also well served by buses, with services to many North London destinations, including Brent Cross Shopping Centre, the restaurants and independent shops of Stanmore and Ealing Hospital.
For drivers, Kingsbury is close to the start of the M1. The A4006 Kenton Road provides an east-west link between Harrow and the motorway via Kingsbury. A short drive south is the A406 North Circular, which connects to the rest of north and west London and the M40 and M4 motorways.
Despite its great location, property for sale in Kingsbury provides good value for money. The average asking price of property in Kingsbury stands at £372,700. The average price of property for rent in Kingsbury is just £1401 per calendar month. Prices are increasing, with a 9.9% rise in the cost of property for sale in Kingsbury during 2013.
Flats start around £200,000 for a one-bedroom property in a converted house or purpose-built block. Even new-build properties such as Jubilee Court, which offers underground parking, are within this price range. Larger flats go for between £300,000 and £500,000, depending on the location and quality of the building. A newly refurbished apartment with two bedrooms in an older block in an area known as the Paddocks would cost around £290,000, whereas a two-bed maisonette in a converted semi-detached house on St Andrew’s Road would be slightly cheaper. Ex-local authority properties also offer good value.
Kingsbury is not short of character properties, and it’s possible to buy a substantial home in a good area for less than one million pounds. Popular roads include Salmon Street, Old Church Lane and Hayland Close, where homes with sizeable gardens, good decor and up to five or six bedrooms start from £850,000. A character family home with four bedrooms and generous living space on Salmon Street would cost around £775,000. A smaller detached or semi-detached property for sale in Kingsbury would sell for £400,000 upwards.
Some interesting properties are being developed on the site of the former airfield. Aerodrome Road offers new flats for sale at Beaufort Park for around £625,000 which include a porterage service and use of a communal swimming pool. An exciting new community is springing up here, with new public squares and shops, outdoor cafes and contemporary landscaped gardens.
Property to rent in Kingsbury also represents good value for money. A studio apartment can be rented for around £725 per calendar month. One-bedroom flats start from £910 pcm, depending on the size, facilities and location. Property to rent in Kingsbury in areas close to Aerodrome Road will be more. A one-bed flat in Beaufort Park or the Pulse Development will cost around £1235 pcm. There is plenty of choice to suit different budgets. There is also a choice of houses in the selection of property to rent in Kingsbury. A three-bed semi in the popular Roe Lane area will rent for around £1650 pcm, a four-bed house on Salmon Street would cost around £2400. The prices will vary depending on proximity to the tube and open spaces.
Kingsbury is blessed with good schools. Kingsbury Green Primary School is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and its 2013 SATS results for 11-year-olds were among the top 250 in the country. Other options include St Robert Southwell RC Primary, Roe Green Infant and Junior Schools and there’s a Jewish school at Kingsbury Synagogue.
Kingsbury High School offers education for both boys and girls up to the age of 19. The main school is rated good and the sixth form as outstanding. Former famous pupils include the jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine, Eastenders star Jasmyn Banks and two members of the Sugababes. The list of famous names doesn’t stop there. George Michael attended the school for a year and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones was educated there. Claremont High School in nearby Harrow is also popular and has an outstanding grading.
There are also a number of options for independent schools, including Gower House primary for 5 to 11 year olds and St Nicholas School on Salmon Street. At secondary level, there are several options for parents who are willing to travel, including the North London Collegiate School in Camden, the Unity High School for Girls at Hendon and the Royal School, Hampstead.
The area also has a number of well-maintained open spaces with good play and sports facilities. Roe Green Park evolved from the gardens created for the airfield workers. Today it offers football pitches, an outdoor gym, tennis courts and a multi-use games area, as well as a children’s play area. Fryent Country Park is a local gem covering 103 hectares of stunning countryside, with the highest point being Barn Hill, from where wonderful views of London to the south and Buckinghamshire to the north can be found. There are no formal sports or recreational facilities to be found here but there is plenty of space for quiet walks and relaxing bike rides, unless you run into drummer Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones — he apparently used to practise on his drums on the hill in his youth.
Another popular green space is Silver Jubilee Park on the Kingsbury Road, offering football pitches and a playground for local people. For a waterside area, the Welsh Harp Reservoir offers 170 of open water, grassland and marshes and is a site of special scientific interest. This a great place to observe wildlife and enjoy tranquil walks, but the reservoir also offers many water sports such as canoeing and sailing.
The main focus of the area is Kingsbury Road, where most of the shops and eateries can be found. Along here there are several Indian and vegetarian restaurants, coffee shops, Indian sweet stores, convenience stores, takeaways and independent grocers specialising in Asian and Middle Eastern foods. There is a good choice of Halal butchers, bakeries and green grocers. The supermarkets include Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Morrison’s on Honeypot Lane. There is also a good selection of other shops and businesses, including dry cleaners, florists, printers, a post office, clothing and shoe shops, hairdressers and barbers. Everything needed for day-to-day life can be found on Kingsbury Road. Just two miles away is the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, with a plethora of shops for every possible need.
While the area doesn’t have any theatres or cinemas, the nightlife of West Hampstead, Edgware and Stanmore is within easy reach. There are cinemas at Staples Corner Retail Park and in Willesden and nearby Hampstead offers three theatres. Great indoor sports facilities can be found at Burnt Oak Leisure Centre in Edgware, Hendon Leisure Centre and the Brent Park Centre on Harrow Road.
Kingsbury is an area of London which isn’t particularly well known but that’s part of its beauty. It’s a low-crime, desirable area and it is relatively quiet. For those looking for property for sale in Kingsbury, budgets will go much further than elsewhere in London. Whether you’re looking at buying or seeking property to rent in Kingsbury, you will have many good houses and flats to choose from.