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Area Guide: Mill Hill

By on January 20, 2014

A Village in the Heart of London

It’s many years since Mill Hill was a village, yet its charm has remained despite bordering some of London’s most built-up suburbs. Just 20 minutes from Central London on the train, Mill Hill is a popular yet desirable place to live. Local residents have it all: proximity to work, yet far enough out to be able to relax. It has more than its fair share of green spaces, great shops, good local schools and a quality of life which suits all tastes. It’s an affluent area and offers a good range of options for people who are looking to find a new home. The area is popular with families looking for a pleasant and safe place to bring up children and has an impressive array of quality housing to both buy and rent, particularly in the mid-price ranges.

Mill Hill is part of the London Borough of Barnet. When it was still a village, it was part of the ancient county of Middlesex. As time has passed it has been absorbed into the city as London has expanded. The old centre is still referred as Mill Hill Village. Sitting on a ridge along an old medieval route known as ‘the Ridgeway’, it affords great views of London and the Green Belt. Mill Hill gets its name from the existence of a mill on the Ridgeway. Originally called ‘Myllehill’, the first records of the village are from as early as 1547 and the old mill’s working are still in existence.

It’s the village feel that makes the area so popular. Mill Hill Village has a choice of Georgian properties and weather-boarded cottages. The old village is now primarily a residential area with only one or two shops. The modern-day centre has moved to Mill Hill Broadway. This sprung into life in the 1890s, helped by the arrival of the railway. A new station built in 1868 put Lawrence Street, as it was then known, on the map. Today it’s bustling with life, with great shops, cafes, the library, transport links and other important services for modern life. It takes just 20 minutes to reach St Pancras from Mill Hill Broadway station using First Connect Rail.

The area close to the Broadway is much sought after, though there is plenty of great property further away. One of the coming areas is Mill Hill East, which has seen some exciting new developments, including the opening of a new Waitrose supermarket on the site of an old gasworks, close to Mill Hill East tube station. A local retail centre has sprung up and the area is proving popular with families.

Who Lives in Mill Hill
The area has attracted famous names, both past and present. The racing driver father-and-son pair of Graham and Damon Hill spent many years in the district and Poldark actress Angharad Rees spent the first two years of her life in Engel Park. The second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton, was born there. Names from history include anti-slavery campaigner Sir William Wilberforce, the founder of Singapore Sir Stamford Raffle, botanist Peter Collinson and former Mill Hill School teacher and lexicographer James Murray, who created the first ever Oxford English Dictionary. In 2010, the contestants of the hit TV show ‘The X Factor’ set up home during the series at a prestigious home in Mill Hill.

The district has a higher than average number of professional residents and one of the lowest proportions of people claiming benefits in London. Nearly 60% of the population have professional, managerial, technical or senior roles, in stark contrast to some other areas of London. Average earnings in the London Borough of Barnet are £33,935, higher than the national average. Mill Hill district is the wealthiest suburb in the borough, with almost two-thirds of the population in work and under 3% of working-age people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance.

Despite the healthy economic profile, the area itself doesn’t provide the bulk of the employment opportunities. Most people travel between 6 and 12 miles to work, invariably into Central London. Professional people staying in Mill Hill during the day are usually involved in business-related activities or work in health and social care or education. The district is home to a number of research facilities.

Mill Hill’s transport links are excellent. Having both a tube and mainline railway station, access not just to Central London but also to the rest of the UK is easy. The A1 to the North of England and the A41 join at Fiveways Corner. To the west is the M1 motorway and access to the M25 is also straightforward. Even driving into the centre of London isn’t too hard. The district is well served by London’s buses, connecting to bigger retail centres in Finchley, Barnet and Edgware. West London’s Brent Cross Shopping Centre is only five miles away.

Sought-After Schools
Mill Hill’s educational reputation continues to draw people into the area. Nearly half the population is aged between 30 and 64 and a quarter of households have at least one child. Finding a primary school place is difficult because they’re usually oversubscribed. However, there is a great choice, including a Church of England, Roman Catholic and a Jewish school. As such a wide section of the population is catered for, it’s not surprising that families want to move into the area.

At secondary level the schools are equally sought after. Although there are a number of popular independent schools, including a boarding school, state schools such as Mill Hill School and Copthall have excellent reputations. Some parents who could afford to send their children to an independent school choose not to. As an added bonus all the area’s secondary schools have sixth forms, allowing youngsters to stay in the same place for the whole of their education. For pre-schoolers there is widespread provision, with several quality nurseries for working parents.

Families, of course, need suitable homes and Mill Hill has an abundance of them. The most popular type of housing is the 1930s semi. In fact, 37% of the area’s housing stock is made up of them. Three-bedroom semis or semi-detached bungalows start from £350,000. Detached properties start at £450,000. In Mill Hill location is everything and the price will always reflect this and the style of the property. Popular areas include homes around the Broadway and Holders Hill Circus. Property for sale in Mill Hill starts from around £185,000 for a one-bedroom flat, stretching into the millions for luxury homes with a pool. There’s a great variety of styles to suit every taste and budget.

Property for sale in Mill Hill also includes an impressive selection of apartments. The area has very few converted houses, with the majority of apartments and flats in purpose-built blocks. There are several new developments within Millbrook in Mill Hill East. Since it was identified by London Mayor Boris Johnson as a key area for development, Mill Hill East has attracted considerable investment. These include retail developments, including a new Waitrose supermarket, and there are plans to build 2000 new homes on the site of the former Inglish Barracks. A new GP surgery and primary school are also planned for the area. The property for sale in Mill Hill East has been designed sensitively so that the area maintains the village feel. Leafy, quiet streets sit close to great amenities and transport links. New family three-bedroom, four-bathroom semi-detached properties in Millbrook Park are being priced around £650,000.

For those with a bigger budget looking for property to rent in Mill Hill, there are a number of exciting options, including a converted historic barracks and gated communities. St Joseph’s Gate is a former college in its own grounds. It comprises seven acres of mature parkland, including formal gardens, lawns, woodland, hedgerows and magnificent views across London. 38 luxurious and spacious apartments have been created to the highest specifications. Each apartment comes with a bespoke kitchen with the latest gadgetry and stone worktops. Just 0.8 miles from the station, it’s a popular choice for City workers who want to get away from the hustle of central London.

Mill Hill’s most exclusive address is Uphill Road, close to the A1, where a large, improved 1920s detached family home will sell for between £1.5 and £3 million. A development of new-build high-spec luxury homes with up to eight bedrooms apiece is being created within the conservation area. The top price for one of these exclusive properties is £3.5 million.

There’s also no shortage of property to rent in Mill Hill. Studio flats start at £925 per calendar month. A two-bedroom flat in a 1930s block will cost around £1200. After that, property to rent in Mill Hill is generally priced per week. Rents for a 1930s three-bedroom semi near Mill Hill Broadway start from £360 per week, rising to £1650 per week for a modern, luxury three-bedroom home on the exclusive Engel Park development. A family five-bedroom detached home rents out at around £800 per week, whereas a character property such as a converted chapel would cost around £875 per week. For those with unlimited means, how about an exclusive eight-bedroom home with an indoor pool£ Yours for just £7,000 per week!

Whatever your budget, Mill Hill has much to offer not just in terms of homes or transport, but also quality of life. Local sports provision is excellent, with a choice of swimming pools and sports facilities run by the London Borough of Barnet as well as several private health clubs. Mill Hill Park has free tennis courts as well as provision for cricket, football and basketball and a multi-sports area. It has beautiful gardens and three well-equipped play areas for children of different ages. On the edge of the park sits the University of London Observatory. This historic facility runs tours for the public.

Mill Hill has other less well-known public spaces. Bittacy Hill Park is a hidden gem, tucked away the behind houses only accessible via a footpath. Once you are there, a magnificent hilly open space awaits you with more free tennis courts and a children’s playground. You don’t have to venture far from Mill Hill and you’re on the world-famous Hampstead Heath.

As a London location, Mill Hill is hard to beat. It has all the convenience of the city but all the attractions and benefits of being out of town. While house prices and rents aren’t the cheapest in London, it’s possible to find great value for money in a wonderful location.

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