Close up on Eaton Square

Written on 2 April 2019 by Giles Cook in Property News

With immaculate white stucco houses, impressive pillars and tidy black railings, Eaton Square is possibly London’s most exclusive address – it frequently tops the list of its most expensive too.

Not only is it bang in the middle of desirable Belgravia, residents can benefit (by separate arrangement) from access to its beautiful private gardens with tennis courts.

Built almost 200 years ago, Eaton Square is the centrepiece of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate, with a fascinating history that has seen it house Prime Ministers and nobility, film stars and the occasional oligarch.

It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of the square that the influencers of every age have chosen to live here – and its terraces have the blue plaques to prove it.

Technically an oblong, Eaton Square was built around its six private gardens. Its elegant terraces are classical in style – often with hidden mews behind the houses. While the properties were all originally townhouses, most are now divided into individual apartments – and it’s worth noting some have short and mid-term leases.

Eaton Square is the ultimate prestigious address, so despite the price tag, demand for property here is consistently high.

So, if you can see yourself following in the footsteps of Nigella Lawson, Baroness Thatcher, Laurence Olivier and even James Bond, read on for everything you need to know about Eaton Square.

A bit of history

Eaton Square is one of three squares built by the Grosvenor family. It is named after Eaton Hall, a Grosvenor country house in Cheshire.

Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, commissioned Georgian London’s legendary master builder, Thomas Cubitt to develop the square, along with swathes of Belgravia and Pimlico.

It was the perfect location. King George IV had decided to make Buckingham Palace his home and would travel along the private Kings Road towards Kew or Hampton Court. Eaton Square was a convenient stopping-off point, highly advantageous to anyone who wanted the ear of the monarch.

Eaton Square was always home to the upper classes, but pre-World War II it didn’t have quite the cache of Mayfair and Belgravia’s grand areas such as Belgrave Square, Grosvenor Square or Park Lane.

During the Second World War it housed the headquarters of the Belgian government-in-exile and after 1945, Eaton Square stood out for remaining almost completely residential, while similar streets would be turned into international embassies and office buildings.

Some houses are still undivided, however, much of the square was converted into flats and maisonettes by the Grosvenor Estate, while ensuring that the exterior appearance of the square remained unaffected. Most of the freeholds still belong to the Grosvenor Group, and the present Duke of Westminster has his own London home in the square.

Famous residents

Eaton Square has been home to its share of politicians, including British Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. Baroness Thatcher also resided in the square in the years before her death.

Celebrity power couple of their day, actors Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh lived here for a time and there is also a strong connection with 007 – the fictional James Bond had a home in the square, as did the actors who played him; Roger Moore and Sean Connery.

More recent well-known residents include Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, Roman Abramovich, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Petra Ecclestone.

The garden

Eaton Square’s Grade II-listed private garden is divided into six main enclosures. With lofty plane trees, ornamental shrubs, formal lawns and quiet seating areas, the garden is a tranquil retreat available for use by residents. There is also a tennis court – and dogs are allowed, subject to obtaining a licence.

St Peter’s church

At the east end of the square is St Peter’s church. Classical in style, it was designed by the architect Henry Hakewill during the first phase of Eaton Square’s development in the 1820s. It features a six-columned portico and clock tower.

Eaton Square School

Independent Eaton Square School, Belgravia is a co-educational pre-prep and prep school for ages four to 11. According to the Independent Schools Inspectorate, “the quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent.”

Places to eat

There are numerous world-class dining opportunities within easy reach of Eaton Square – with Michelin stars aplenty.

  • Zafferano, has been serving sophisticated Italian cuisine for more than two decades.
  • Try the Dining Room, in luxurious five-star hotel, The Goring, for classic British food and effortless service.
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus promises flawless modern interpretations of classic flavours.
  • Contemporary Indian restaurant, Amaya serves bite-sized taste sensations straight from its gourmet grill.
  • Celebrity hang-out, Motcombs specialises in carefully-sourced seasonal game, meat and fish and has a downstairs bar with live jazz.
  • For more relaxed gastropub fare, try the Thomas Cubitt pub – named after the master builder himself.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about property for sale in Eaton Square, as well what you need to know about leasehold enfranchisement, please contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable team who will be happy to help you.

Giles Cook

Giles recently joined Best Gapp in 2017 as Partner Designate and Head of Residential Agency, bringing over 20 years’ experience to the firm. Following a three-year stint as an Area Director for Foxtons, he went on to head up Chestertons’ sales and lettings operations in central London, before becoming a Partner at top Knightsbridge boutique WA Ellis.

All articles by Giles Cook


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