My new place in West London
05.07.2010 - 08.07.2010 24 °C
It has been about a month since I moved into my new flat, and I’ve finally settled in. All the boxes are unpacked and necessities for the house have been purchased. Minor repairs have been undertaken, and all my mailing addresses have been changed to reflect my new digs.
The place is on a leafy, quiet street in West London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Neighbourhood boundaries are quite fuzzy around here, so I could say I live in Shepherd’s Bush or West Kensington, but I have settled on saying I live in Holland Park.
Holland Park (the area) is named after Holland Park (the park), a 22 hectare green space smack-bang in the middle of the area, and a few blocks from my house. The northern part of the park is wild and forested, while the southern section is more open green space for sports and manicured gardens to walk through.
The park was named after Holland House, a Jacobean mansion that was partially destroyed during World War II. The remaining parts of the house now serve as the backdrop for an outdoor amphitheatre hosting opera performances, as well as providing a youth hostel.
Outside the park is some of the most expensive real estate in all of London, though not on the street I live on. Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of the world’s largest steel firm ArcelorMittal, owns three houses worth a combined £500 million on Kensington Palace Gardens, the most expensive street in London, though technically that street is just outside the accepted boundaries of Holland Park. Living in the area defined as Holland Park are Paul McCartney, Simon Cowell , Brian May and Richard Branson. On Tuesdays, the pub down the street from me offers free curry, and I have to say I was surprised that none of those folks showed up last Tuesday for the free nosh. I would have thought Cowell was a curry fan.
The one thing I can be sure of in the new area is that I won’t be short of shopping opportunities. Just to the south of me is Kensington High Street, and to the north is Westfield Shopping centre, the largest urban mall in Europe. Westfield also plays hosts to cinema premiers, so there is a chance for some star gazing, though I haven’t seen any stars yet.
The new place is like a mash-up of my three previous homes here in London. It has the typical row-house architecture of my first place in Brent, though the flat is much nicer than the one I had up there. It’s well connected like King’s Cross was, with four tube stations serving the District, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Central lines all within a 10 minute walk. The new place is much quieter than King’s Cross though. I can sleep with my window open at nights, unperturbed by traffic noise or screaming drunks as I was in King’s Cross. That is a feature that the new place shares with my house on the Isle of Dogs in east London.
All in all, a move I am happy to have made, almost making the pain and stress of moving worth it. Though, hopefully, it’ll be a while before I have to go through that again.