Before we start, let’s define what ‘W1’ is. London’s W postcode area consists of two distinct postcode districts: W1 (Western) and W2 (Paddington). The Western district, otherwise known as the W1 postal district, is further subdivided into smaller postal areas, such as W1G, which denotes Harley Street.
The W1 area includes Marylebone, Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia, Soho, Mayfair and the main shopping and entertainment areas around Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Regent Street. In other words, live in this area, and life need never be dull. Everything is on your doorstep.
The Crossrail effect
It’s hard to separate the rise in local property values with the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road, set to open in 2018-19. Tottenham Court Road is undergoing major regeneration, and the station will eventually provide an interchange between the Northern, Central and Elizabeth Lines. When the Elizabeth Line is up and running, during peak commuter hours a train will run every two and a half minutes, connecting passengers directly to Paddington, Reading, and Heathrow.
In addition to the transport improvements taking place, Centre Point will be transformed, providing a high-end shopping complex, cinema and theatre which will create another attraction to the extensive variety of lifestyle options the West End has to offer.
The culture/entertainment factor
If you’re a self-confessed culture vulture and you fancy living in the faster lane, W1 is for you. The area contains some of the capital’s most popular and revered cultural institutions. For art in Marylebone there is The Wallace Collection, but if live music is more your thing, head to Ronnie Scott’s in Soho for jazz, or the Wigmore Hall for classical concerts. For light entertainment there are the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue.
The sheer variety of shops on offer also seems better than ever before. A pleasing mix of much-loved independents can typically be found down the quieter back streets, while the established brands line the main thoroughfares.
The food factor
Arguably, there’s never been a better time to live in central London when you look at it from a food/dining out perspective. Restaurants and eateries have upped their game in recent years, and competition within the hospitality industry is fierce. Myriad options are available, and every cuisine is catered for, be it tapas, Japanese, French, Italian, Lebanese, and many more. Think Soho’s Chinatown. Marylebone boasts many excellent restaurants, while not far away is the long-established local Fish Bone in Fitzrovia, where the fish and chips are enduringly popular and the portions are anything but small.
Combine excellent quality restaurants with top independent coffee shops (Workshop Coffee serves up a superb blend) and endless places in which to grab a light lunch, W1 is certainly the spot for foodies and restaurant regulars.
A desirable residential hotspot
From the architectural grandeur of Marylebone and Mayfair, to the bohemian buzz of Soho and the commercial vibe of Fitzrovia, W1 is delightful because each defined area within the larger postal district is different to the one adjacent to it. Each area is unique and boasts a distinct atmosphere. Buildings, by and large, are in a good condition, while new shops, businesses and restaurants are opening up all the time.
Being the main central area of the capital, there’s a buzz about W1. Brexit and stamp duty hikes have put a dampener on property price rises in prime central areas, but the W1 area simply has too much going for it to suffer any long-lasting impact.