Perhaps most famous for its BBC recording studio, Maida Vale, an almost wholly residental district, lies to the west of Marylebone and St. John’s Wood. The southern part of Maida Vale around Paddington Basin, a junction of two canals, is known as Little Venice. The canals and their colourful houseboats have made the area hugely attractive to buyers.
Largely undamaged by the Blitz, most of the properties here date from the 1840s and 1850s. White stucco fronted villas situated around well-tended communal gardens, wide avenues, large terraced houses and mansion flats – some with large shared gardens behind – are all characteristic of the area.
Blomfield Road and Maida Avenue homes are made more attractive (not to mention more expensive) by their proximity to the willow-lined canal, which runs between the two.
Drawn by the appeal of waterside living, Maida Vale has had its fair share of celebrity residents. Most recently, Paul Weller, Jarvis Cocker and Jennifer Saunders have all lived in the area.
Smart shops line Maida Vale side streets and the famous Portobello Road market is nearby with a wealth of antiques, memorabilia and other collectibles. There are a number of good restaurants, and nearby Westbourne Grove and Notting Hill give residents even more options where going out is concerned.
Essedine Primary School and Naima Jewish Preparatory School are just two of the excellent schools in this area.
Just moments from central London, Maida Vale is served by its own Bakerloo Line Underground station, and a number of useful bus routes. Paddington Station is close by, offering overground services to the west.
General John Stuart, commander of the British forces, was ennobled Count of Maida after an impressive military campaign against the French in 1806. Three years later, a tavern on Edgware Road was named the Hero of Maida Tavern, and by 1810 maps designated the area surrounding the tavern as Maida.
What the agents say
“The unassuming elegance appeals to families who can afford more imposing homes but desire discretion and an element of anonymity,” Marc Schneiderman, Arlington Residential
Eating and drinking:
The Waterway – the large decked area by the canal really comes into its own when the weather warms up, and is the perfect spot for lazy summer evenings. 54 Formosa Street (020 7266 3557; www.thewaterway.co.uk)
Vicki’s – the perfect spot for a good old bacon sarnie… 28 Clifton Road (020 7289 6399)
The Paradise – this place is seriously cool. The roasts are delicious and they even have a Bloody Mary Club, serving quite simply the best Bloody Marys in town. 19 Kilburn Lane (020 8969 0098; www.theparadise.co.uk)
Sheepdrove Organic Family Butchers – a real gem. It’s very traditional: charmingly old-fashioned. Pop in for a nice joint of lamb or a corn-fed chicken. 5 Clifton Road (020 7266 3838; www.sheepdrove.com)
The Nail Spa – Stop by this place for a cheeky fake tan or a pamper. 7 Clifton Road (020 7266 5588)
Little Venice is one of the best places to find tranquillity, waterfront cafés and pubs, and beautiful homes in central London. The prime location, with easy travel to the West End, combined with its calming atmosphere make it a very sought after and attractive residential area.
Kate Moss, Kelly Osbourne, and Earl Spencer are all reportedly residents of the local area. And, pre-split, Jude Law and Sienna Miller have been seen enjoying lunch at The Summerhouse in Little Venice.
The combination of access to the canal and great shops and restaurants means that there is a variety of activities in Little Venice both on land and water. For those who enjoy being on water, there is great boat trip to Camden Lock. And for those who prefer land, a leisurely stroll along the canal, or a visit to The Clifton nursery, the oldest garden centre in London, are both enjoyable options. At the Canal Café Theatre, you can take in a variety of performances. We recommend NewsRevue, the world’s longest running live comedy show. There are also some great restaurant, bars and cafés in the area, including the Warwick Castle, a traditional pub that is a popular destination for residents and celebrities. Little Venice also hosts the Canalway Cavalcade Waterways Festival every year. This vibrant event features hundreds of boats congregated in the water, bands, kids activities, an ale bar, delicious food and much more!
Blomfield Road and Maida Avenue are where the majority of the luxurious white 17th century stucco mansions are located. Also of note is Warwick Avenue, which is home to some very grand properties, and is conveniently close to the tube station.
The Little Sweethearts Montessori School is a popular nursery choice in the area. For primaries, two popular choices are St. Saviour’s Church of England Primary School and St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, which are both coeducational state schools that cater to children aged 3 to11 years, and both had very impressive 2010 performance reports. The King Solomon academy nearby shools children aged three to 18, and has been given excellent reviews.
With its central location, travel to and from Little Venice is convenient. There is the Warwick Avenue Underground station, and nearby Maida Vale station, both on the Bakerloo line, and a good bus service in the area. There is also the exciting option of the Waterbus service that operates from Little Venice to Regent’s Park and London Zoo.
Although Little Venice currently refers to the entire area south of the Maida Vale, Robert Browning originally used the term Little Venice to describe the point where Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal meets the Regents Canal.