Being perched on the Thames is a major lifestyle choice, from the ever-changing views to the sporting, leisure, and health opportunities available to you. A home on the Thames can offer iconic views and tranquillity or a platform for sports and hobbies in either the Capital or the countryside.
The potential opportunities are vast, with private mooring opportunities, fishing and even paddleboards, literally, on your doorstep. What is the premium you can expect to pay for a life by the river?
According to Knight Frank’s Waterfront Index Q2 2022 the average premium for riverside property is 23% compared to non-waterfront property. It is no surprise that this premium comes with a plethora of opportunity for pastimes, but there is also a mental health benefit to being on the waterfront. According to a study of 26,000 people conducted by the University of Exeter published in the journal Health & Place, those who live less than a mile away from the ocean are 22% less likely to report issues such as depression and anxiety compared to those who live approximately 30 miles away from the water.
Something else for buyers to consider is their future property’s proximity to water from a privacy point of view. Living directly on a waterfront provides the best views, however privacy can be an issue depending on how popular the stretch of water is. Some city riverside properties may also provide direct access to the water and a private mooring, but with separation via a road or walkway.
An element of pragmatism must be taken when buying a river site, particularly with the changing weather systems and the recent increase in floods and extreme weather conditions in the UK. If you are building a property from scratch, working with specialist architects/project management teams to identify high-water marks and design/future proof homes is essential.
We asked our experts to share their insight on riverside living:
Jemma Scott, our north Home Counties expert, explains: “This time of year, riverside living is particularly at its peak from a demand point of view – messing about on the river is an important part of the Chilterns appeal, and there’s no better time to do this than the summer!
“In the home counties, we see demand for both second homes – which can often be more ‘fun’ – i.e., very modern contemporary with an emphasis on lifestyle and convenience, and then also the more long-term family-home type of properties.”
“There are also a number of highlights in the social calendar that become even more important when you’re living on the river. For example, Henley Royal Regatta and Festival, and a number of more local events focussed around the river, in Marlow, ‘Pub in the Park’ is a fun event, and the Gap Festival in Goring is also big.”
James Burridge, discusses the merits of riverside living from a London perspective: “Living on the Thames in London can mean far-reaching views, in some cases overlooking the Capital’s skyline, and often offer privacy in a way that can be hard to come by in a big city.
“Living on the Thames in London can also open up a world of opportunities when it comes to water sports – from more informal pursuits such as paddle boarding to organised team sports such as rowing and sailing. Commuting can also become a lot more enjoyable for those heading to Canary Wharf thanks to the Thames Clippers.”
Our top Thameside locations:
Cheyne Walk – houses will typically start from £5m and can easily exceed £20m+ for some of the road’s largest homes
Cheyne Walk is one of the most well-known and sought-after addresses if wanting to overlook the River Thames in central London. James attributes the appeal to ‘having housed several famous residents over the years – George Eliot, Ian Fleming, and Mick Jagger to name a few. It also features numerous Blue Plaques. The majority of houses are famed for having good gardens to the rear, listed by English Heritage, and having a very traditional and period feel to them.’
Richmond – average house price for a 4-bed detached property is £2-10 million
This relaxed and leafy borough is one of the most attractive locations in the UK with numerous Royal Parks, a stunning stretch of the River Thames and features some of London’s finest eatery’s, including Scott’s of Mayfair opening this Autumn. It’s particularly popular with families moving out of the centre looking for a little more space, greenery and riverside living. There is a short boat ride from Richmond to Teddington Lock where you can enjoy a spot of fishing or even a dip.
Fulham – average house price for a 4-bed detached property is £2-6 million
Just outside of the prime central London region, Fulham is an affluent area with a strong sense of community, benefiting from a prime location for access to the delights of Chelsea, Kensington and the West End. Fulham is not only home to its own riverside football club, but it features Michelin Starred London institution, The River Café and the exclusive private members club, The Hurlingham Club, all along the Thameside.
Putney – average house price for a 4-bed detached property is £1.5-5 million
Putney presents itself with a village feel and is a picturesque area of SW London, popularly known as the starting point of the annual university Boat Race, the Duke’s Head Pub being a prime spot to catch the start. It’s got plenty of trendy eateries, including Putney Pie’s, a pie-shop turned nightclub, bars and boutiques and a bustling High Street.
The Chilterns – Cookham, Marlow, Henley-on-Thames & Pangbourne
These popular Thameside communities, within the unspoiled Chiltern Hills, are popular with those wanting easy access to The City and Heathrow Airport and offer some of the most prime riverside locations outside of London. This stretch of the Thames has numerous boating and recreational activities, with its selection of marinas, rowing clubs, regattas, Thames path and riverside pubs. Cookham was thought to have inspired Kenneth Grahame to write The Wind in the Willows as he grew up in Cookham Dean and returned to the village to write the book. Marlow is a buzzing, cosmopolitan town with a really good high street and lots of excellent places to eat, including Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin-starred pub, the Hand and Flowers. Henley is home to the world-famous Leander Club, Henley Regatta and Festival. Some of the area’s most popular schools also border the river and include Shiplake and Pangbourne Colleges, Moulsford Prep & Queen Anne’s Caversham. Architecture is completely varied, from the Georgian stately home (£20m+), period manor houses and rectories (£5-10m), contemporary architecture and plenty of knockdown rebuild opportunities (£2m+).
Contact us to find out more information about purchasing a property on the river Thames:
South West London, contact James Burridge
North Home Counties, contact Jemma Scott
Find the rest of the teams here.