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Area guide for Barnes

Barnes overview

What's it all about? 

With its own cricket green and duck pond, as well as a range of independent shops, farmers’ markets and cosy pubs, Barnes has all the qualities of a quintessential English country village. The village is listed in the Domesday Book, and it’s easy to imagine people living the good life here for a thousand years and more. Surrounded on three sides by a particularly picturesque stretch of the Thames and with 120 acres of green space enclosing it, it's no surprise that Barnes is one of London's greenest areas. A sense of peace and quiet prevails here, with strong community ties that bind its residents, but despite this almost rural atmosphere it also enjoys fine restaurants, contemporary design shops and even a fringe theatre. A train link takes residents to Waterloo in a mere 20 minutes, hence Barnes’s popularity with City professionals, and the major transport hub of Hammersmith is also easily accessible. In recent years Barnes has attracted a new demographic of international families, especially Swedish, and young professionals. 

Fact file

  • The desirable ‘lion houses’ in Barnes only exist because of an administrative error. In 1896 an architect intended to build one house with three statues of lions, but accidentally ordered 300. The surplus was used up on surrounding houses and the distinctive feature now lends extra grandeur to their gateposts and gables. 
  • The ‘Boot houses’ in Barnes (so called because they were constructed by the Henry Boot Company) were built quickly to satisfy housing demand in the inter war years. Tests in the 1980s revealed these properties to be no longer structurally sound and they are now being rebuilt to meet current safety standards.
  • Some estimates suggest that Barnes has the highest proportion of independent shops of any area in Britain, at 96.6 per cent.
  • Twilight Star Robert Pattinson grew up in Barnes.

Architecture and property 

The opening of Hammersmith Bridge in 1827 prompted a swathe of new development in Barnes, particularly along Castelnau (A306). The impressive villa like homes here often have enclosed parking areas and large outdoor spaces, a legacy from the age of carriage drives and coach houses. Barnes is a location of historical importance and its Georgian riverside properties along The Terrace are the oldest of their kind in London. St Mary’s Church is a Grade II listed building dating originally from the 12th century and is part of the Barnes Green Conservation Area.

Property in Barnes ranges from multi million pound mansions along Castelnau and iconic redbrick lion houses to riverside flats and reconstructed ‘Boot houses’.

For house price information please visit the sold data tab.

Going out

Outdoors: For picturesque walks, it’s best to stick to the river’s south bank, safely removed from the busy roads north of Hammersmith Bridge. The bridge itself is a landmark in the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race, and Barnes locals with a riverfront property can enjoy the annual spectacle from the comfort of home. The wildlife spotting opportunities at the London Wetland Centre are sure to delight all animal lovers.

Eating: Sonny’s Kitchen is co owned by Michelin starred chef Phil Howard and his influence can be seen throughout the menu. In summer it’s worth braving the queues at Dolce Crema for a creamy and rich Italian gelato, while on colder days riverside pubs like The White Hart and The Bull’s Head are filled with locals enjoying a hearty roast.

Culture: The Riverside Gallery showcases a broad selection of contemporary art of every genre, including sculpture, ceramics and glass. The Old Sorting Office Art Centre hosts art exhibitions as well as putting on professional and amateur plays and musicals all year round.

Community: The Barnes Community Association organises social activities and events, fundraising to support the local community, and campaigns to expand the Barnes Conservation Area. Annual events include the Easter Duck Race, the Barnes Fair in July and a Grand Jumble Sale in October. The Barnes Charity Fashion Show takes place every September, and pulls the community together over fashion and fizz. 

Local amenities

  • Taking place every Saturday, the Barnes Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in London. It's held opposite the Duck Pond at Essex House.
  • Those seeking delicious homemade dishes, a fine charcuterie selection or freshly baked sweet treats can take their pick of Barnes’s delicatessens. Old favourite Gusto & Relish is award winning and stocks locally sourced produce.  
  • The Barnes coffee scene favours quirky independents including Spoonful and Fresh Cafe.
  • To keep in shape, locals need look no further than the gym at Barn Elms Sports Centre. With football and cricket pitches, netball courts and tennis courts, it’s also a favourite spot for local children during the holidays.
  • For something a bit different head to the Educogym, an unusual gym with a focus on nutrition and short, intense workouts. Great post workout treats can be found at the area’s many spas, like the acclaimed Kate Anderson.
  • Castelnau Library runs storytelling sessions for children, as well as hosting regular reading groups for people of all ages. 

Green spaces 

This corner of the Capital offers access to many picturesque green spaces. Barnes Common has been designated a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Nature Conservation Importance because of its rare wildlife. At the heart of the community lies Barnes Green, where the pond attracts waterfowl and other wildlife. The largest enclosed space in London, Richmond Park, is just a short walk away, while nearby Wimbledon Common offers a venue for rugby, golf, and horse riding.

Barnes on the river

Barnes is the perfect location to enjoy the River Thames. Whether you like to indulge in relaxing strolls down the south bank, drink in the views at the riverside restaurants and pubs, or want to stay active and row with the Barnes ladies club, every interest is catered for.

Find out more about the perks of living on the river here

Changing times

The redevelopment of the area’s 'Boot houses' and the conversion of old Harrods warehouses into exclusive gated apartments have provided a wider variety of residential opportunities for house hunters.

Transport

Tube: Many Barnes residents live within walking distance of Hammersmith Tube. From this Zone 2 station, Piccadilly Line trains to Leicester Square take 20 minutes, and it’s also 20 minutes to Embankment on the District Line. 

Rail: South West Trains services run every eight minutes on weekdays from Barnes station to Waterloo, taking 25 minutes.

Bus: Buses from Barnes connect with a variety of south west London locations. The 33 (to Fulwell), 72 (to Roehampton) and 485 (to Wandsworth) are particularly useful, and several others connect through Hammersmith station. The 33 and 72 are 24 hour services.

Road: It’s a 15 minute drive from Barnes to the M4, and from there the M25 is just half an hour away. 

Education

Lowther Primary School, Barnes Primary, East Sheen Primary School and St Mary Magdalen's Catholic Primary School are all options for younger children, and a range of state secondaries are available too. Barnes’s independent choices include The Harrodian School and the well known St Paul’s School for boys. The Swedish School caters to the area’s Scandinavian residents.

Please see our schools tab for more information on schools in this area.

 

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Did we miss something? If you have any local expertise to improve our area guide, then please email us at areaguides@kfh.co.uk

 

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