Location, Location, Location: Spotlight on Woolwich

Situated in south-east London, the unassuming area of Woolwich has been subject to increasing interest over the last few months. With a new Elizabeth Line station set to open at the end of this year, it’s quite understandable that Woolwich has been featured on a lot of lists naming it one of the best areas to invest in London property.

Aside from the redevelopment in anticipation for Crossrail, what’s going on in Woolwich that makes it such an appealing place to live?

Housing

Once one of the more affordable areas in London, this label is quickly being shrugged away as the launch of Crossrail approaches. Discerning investors have been buying up property over the last few years, and even as the rest of London’s property values have ground to a halt, prices in Woolwich continue to climb.

Thanks to its military history and recent regeneration efforts, Woolwich has a wide selection of property types to appease any buyer. From stately Victorian terraces to crisp, contemporary apartments, with a little shopping around you can easily find a home to suit your family.

Average values are currently around £300,000, although according to Zoopla, this is over 53% higher than 2012 prices. Still, this is set to grow another 39% by 2020, so it’s worth taking the plunge sooner rather than later.

Transport

Overall, Woolwich is situated in an excellent part of London, with great links into the centre of the city.

As you may have gathered, the Woolwich transport system is set to benefit hugely from Crossrail. The new Woolwich station is set to open in December, taking passengers west to Paddington, or east to Abbey Wood. Trains are expected to be fully functional by December 2019, when commuters will be able to reach Canary Wharf is just 8 minutes, Liverpool Street in less than 15 and Bond Street in 22 minutes – considerably less than the current alternatives.

Until then, Woolwich Arsenal and Woolwich Docklands make use of the DLR and Southeastern North Kent rail line to connect the area to Charing Cross, London Bridge, Greenwich, Stratford and Bank. There is also an excellent bus service and a free ferry which takes passengers across the river every 5-10 minutes.

If you prefer to drive, the South Circular Road will connect you to the A2 and A20 (ideal for reaching Dartford and Kent), while you will most likely need to head west to the Blackwall Tunnel if you’re heading north and don’t fancy the ferry.

Amenities

Living in Woolwich, you can benefit from a wide range of local amenities, as well as the convenience of being so close to the cultural city centre.

Locally, The Royal Woolwich Arsenal offers a fascinating insight into the military history of the area, while families can enjoy the Waterfront Leisure Centre and the Royal Artillery Museum. The Dial Arch pub is a favourite, and the Beresford Square Market offers a lively opportunity to purchase foods and goods every morning Mon-Sat.

Outside of the immediate area, it’s only a fifteen-minute cab ride to the O2 arena (which hosts an impressive line-up of events and acts all year round) or Meantime Brewing Company’s Tasting Rooms. The Thames Barrier Park across the river offers a pleasant afternoon escape for the whole family, while those inclined towards the odd round of golf may prefer the lawns at the nearby Shooter’s Hill course.

Schools

Easy links into the commercial district might create the initial appeal for young professionals, but the calibre of local schools is what makes them stay through to the next stage of their lives.

If you’re looking to place primary-aged children, Bannockburn in Plumstead (‘outstanding’), and Conway (‘good’), have long been considered excellent schools in the area. Closer to the heart of Woolwich is Eglington (‘good’) and Foxfield, which has undergone significant work and achieved an ‘outstanding’ certification in 2015.

Secondary schools are harder to come by, and the only ‘outstanding’ comprehensive is Woolwich Polytechnic (boys only) in Thamesmead. Greenwich Free School and St Paul’s Academy (RC) both offer co-ed education deemed to be ‘good’ by OFSTED.
In short, Woolwich has a lot to offer driven professionals and young families that aren’t ready to leave the bustle of the city centre, but can’t afford to stay. Combined with the imminent arrival of Crossrail driving up housing prices, now is an ideal time to seize an opportunity to move to Woolwich.

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