London’s top homes 2019: most-viewed houses are four mansions and a modest Hackney terrace with a hidden surprise
The most popular property among Rightmove addicts either in or near London this year was a 10-bedroom mansion in Surrey, built in mock-Georgian style in 2016 by a multimillionaire developer.
Called Sydenhurst, the palatial residence is in the commuter village of Chiddingfold 1.8 miles from Witley station, about an hour by train from London Waterloo.
It was built by Gerard Ayrton-Grime, a tycoon who reportedly angered neighbours of two villages by building huge “Disney” mansions on land nearby, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
One villager told the paper: “It is a giant rich man’s folly and has no place in this village. It is too ostentatious and far, far too big and should never have been built on this land.
“The developer has tried to create a Georgian replica but really it is more like a Disney impersonation of a country estate and is grotesque and completely out of character in this village. But because this village is so polite and genteel no one will dare rock the boat.”
Of the five most-viewed homes of 2019, four were multimillion-pound mansions in high-value parts of central London and the commuter belt, suggesting that plenty of us are browsing Rightmove out of curiosity rather than intending to buy.
Of the most popular homes, only one is marked as sold on the property portal – a Hackney terrace that was on the market for £800,000.
Read on to see which properties made the cut.
1. Chiddingfold, Surrey, GU8, £30 million
A ten-bedroom country estate in the Surrey commuter belt
Described by the selling agent as an “outstanding modern classical mansion” set in parkland in “an historic archetypal English village” by the selling agent, Sydenhurst is on the market for offers in excess of £30 million.
This includes the main house with its six reception rooms and wine cellars, bowling alley, swimming pool with spa, gym and treatment room, home cinema, ballroom, chef’s kitchen, staff flat and tennis court as well as two self-contained cottages set in more than 30 acres of grounds.
Owner Gerard Ayrton-Grime’s company, Ayrton Construction, built another faux-historic mega-mansion, which he named Millicent, in 2009 in the West Sussex village of Lurgashall just five miles away from Chiddingfold.
2. Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, NW3, £28.5 million
A Thirties Primrose Hill house where Edward VIII seduced Wallis Simpson
The capital’s second most-viewed home on Rightmove this year is a north London mansion with interiors designed by The Apprentice judge Linda Plant, who runs property and interior design business, Homerun.
This eight-bedroom residence was originally home to Thelma, Viscountess Furness, a mistress — when he was still Prince of Wales — of Edward VIII. It’s believed by some historians that Edward’s affair with American divorcee Wallis Simpson began at the house.
The property has been on the market for a few years following a 16-month overhaul by the acid-tongued TV star, who added a cinema room, salon/treatment room with two massage beds and separate staff quarters.
Plant also included Art Deco-inspired touches in a nod to the original period of the building and its glamorous history.
3. Roding Road, Clapton, E5, £800,000
Hackney terrace with its own pub
Now sold, this Victorian terrace house hides an intriguing secret.
While Hackney has a range of popular pubs, the owners of this house don’t have to stray from their own home to visit one because there’s a bar currently installed in one of the reception rooms.
The room is fitted out like a traditional pub with Tiffany-style glass windows, ceiling and panels and bar stools, as well as beer pumps, an optic for spirits, floral carpet and an ornate wooden fireplace.
Described by the agent selling it as requiring “modernisation throughout”, the four-bedroom house is close to popular Chatsworth Road beloved of families keen to put their own stamp on a home.
4. Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, W8, £29,950,000
2017’s most-viewed London home
This 10-bedroom detached house with a lift and garage was the most-viewed house in London in 2017 and has been refurbished with a basement cinema, a 1,250 bottle temperature-controlled wine vault and a spa complex.
The enviable property, though, remains unsold. This year sales of prime London mega mansions rose, with those homes that found buyers tending to be heavily discounted.
However, the owners of this grand house are reported to have turned down offers because they are set on achieving the full asking price.
5. Eaton Square, Belgravia, SW1W, price on application
A spectacular internal garden on one of London’s most prestigious squares
On one of London’s most prestigious garden squares, the seven-bedroom, white stuccoed townhouse boasts an indoor jungle that rises up through a central light well.
It also has a basement cinema and staff quarters, a gym, lift, terrace and double garage alongside copious entertaining space.