Maida Vale overview
What’s it all about?
To many outsiders, the image of Maida Vale is one dominated by popular culture; the famous Abbey Road studios which also borders along St John’s Wood. However, if you sidestep the hordes of tourists posing for photos on the zebra crossing made famous by that Beatles cover, you’ll soon discover just what it is that has lured well heeled Londoners to this leafy pocket of the city for decades. First on a very long list of attractions is surely the stunning array of properties in the area. The wide winding streets of Little Venice are full of stucco fronted homes set back from the pavements and boasting views over the canals and – although you’d never know on first glance – wonderfully secret communal gardens, while Maida Vale’s beautiful leafy avenues are lined with impressive period homes and mansion flats. The proximity of the BBC’s Maida Vale studios means that many people living here are bigwigs in the music and creative industries. So desirable are these iconic London homes that once people move in they often stay put.
- On its opening in the midst of World War I on 6 June 1915, Maida Vale Tube station was entirely staffed by women.
- Maida Vale takes its name from a pub, the Hero of Maida, which was named for General Sir John Stuart who triumphed in battle at Maida, Italy in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.
- The pioneer of modern computing, Alan Turing, was born at what is now the Colonnade Hotel in Warrington Crescent.
Architecture and property
Most recognisable for the large mansion blocks and stuccoed terraces that line its main thoroughfares, Maida Vale is home to some of London’s most sought after properties. The area owes its high proportion of mansion houses to the Church Commissioners who owned the land and resisted development until the 1890s, by which time the fashion was for blocks, rather than houses.
Since then Maida Vale’s property market has diversified significantly and house hunters can now choose from these mansion flats, mews houses, period conversions and 1930s flats on Maida Vale itself. The most desirable properties are the grand stucco houses in Little Venice, on streets such as Clarendon Gardens, Blomfield Road, Maida Avenue and Elgin Avenue. Adding to desirability is access to massive communal gardens to rival any in Kensington or Notting Hill.
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Eating and drinking: Tucked away in the nooks and crannies of Maida Vale’s winding streets, its pubs and restaurants are some of London’s best kept secrets. The outdoor terrace at The Waterway overlooks the Grand Union Canal and is the perfect summer spot for enjoying a jug of Pimm’s while watching the canal boats go by. Several of Maida Vale’s establishments have a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Both The Prince Alfred and Warwick Castle have been serving locals since the 1860s and show no signs of stopping any time soon. For great pizza and pasta The Red Pepper, or for something different try award winning Persian restaurant Kateh, set in a beautiful street off Warwick Avenue.
Culture: Maida Vale may only be a short Tube journey from the West End, but there’s enough going on in this trendy pocket of London that locals don’t need to venture far. The Canal Cafe Theatre puts on a wide variety of performances. Throughout summer Jason’s Trip runs boat trips along Regent’s Canal to Camden Town on a 108 year old canal boat. For kids, try the Puppet Theatre Barge, which puts on a summer programme.
- Maida Vale locals have access to branches of Tesco Express, but are more likely to be found stocking up on organic produce from the area’s many specialist food shops. Look out for the golden sheep that hangs outside the Sheepdrove Organic Farm butchers on Clifton Road, where locals go for the excellent range of meat and poultry.
- Housed in a lovely period shop with working fireplace, The Winery is one of London’s best independent wine merchants.
- Health conscious residents make use of Maida Vale’s gyms and exercise studios. Bannatyne Health Club is a popular choice for its airy cafe, sauna, steam room and heated swimming pool, while the Training House Gym places a focus on personal, one on one training. For relaxation, the Treat & Revive Spa is handily located within the Bannatyne Health Club, or go to Tillie's for its friendly therapists and nail bar.
- Maida Vale Library is a focal point of the community, offering children’s reading groups and homework clubs as well as employment advice sessions for adults.
- Relax at the Maida Vale Everyman Cinema, where staff will serve drinks and snacks to your comfy sofa seat.
- The award winning Clifton Nurseries was created in 1851 and has grown into one of London’s best garden nurseries, supplying locals with all sorts of garden accessories. To brighten up your home, head to Absolute Flowers & Home for its exotic blooms and eye catching bouquets.
Just beyond Maida Vale Tube station lies Paddington Recreation Ground, which is both a park and a Better leisure centre. The gym in the park is open daily and runs several group exercise classes and coached activities, including tennis on the park’s courts. Sports fans need look no further than nearby Lord’s Cricket Ground, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2014. Part of the Ashes Test series between Australia and England is held here, making it something of a mecca for cricket fans. There's a museum attached and tours are available. Just a 20 minute walk away, Regent’s Park is so much more than an outdoor space, boasting cafes, an open air theatre, wildlife gardens and of course London Zoo.
The BBC is planning a £40 million redevelopment of its Maida Vale studios. Announced in 2013, there has been speculation that these plans are likely to include selling off some of the studios for development as residential homes.
Tube: Maida Vale and Warwick Avenue Tube stations are in Zone 2 on the Bakerloo Line. It takes a few minutes to reach Paddington, just over ten minutes to get to Oxford Circus and 16 minutes to get to Waterloo.
Rail: The Bakerloo Line provides quick access to two busy national rail stations. Paddington and Marylebone are just two and four stops away respectively, making train travel out of London easy.
Bus: Local buses include the 6 (to Willesden), 16 (to Victoria), 46 (to St Bartholomew’s Hospital), 98 (to Holborn), 187 (to Finchley Road), 332 (to Paddington) and 414 (to Putney Bridge). The number 6 runs a 24 hour service, and there are two night buses, the N16 and the N98, to Victoria and Stanmore.
Road: A straight journey up Kilburn High Road and Edgware Road lead Maida Vale locals to the M1 in just 15 minutes. It’s also only a five minute drive to the Westway, providing access to the A40 and M25.
Cycle: The area’s proximity to Regent’s Park affords plenty of opportunities for family bike rides, and it’s only a half hour’s picturesque cycle alongside the canal to reach Angel.
Maida Vale has two Montessori schools within walking distance of the station, Windmill Montessori and Little Sweethearts Montessori School. Other primary schools include St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and St Saviour’s C of E Primary School. Secondary options include two academies, Westminster Academy and Paddington Academy, as well as several independent and faith schools.
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