Let's move to Clarendon Park and Stoneygate, Leicester
Its cultural life may not boil but at least, these days, it simmers
Article from the Guardian by Tom Dyckhoff
Friday 12 August 2011
What's going for it? Nobody understands my love for Leicester. No matter how many times I say, "Look ye at the splendid train links, the sturdy, underrated civic architecture, the marvellous subcontinental Asian cuisine," nobody is convinced. So I take doubting Thomases to Clarendon Park and Stoneygate. "Where else," I ask them, slightly starry-eyed, "can you buy a large, four-bedroom Edwardian semi in such lush, louche environs for £275,000?" Their silence seals my victory. These paired neighbourhoods are in the university part of town. House-hunt wisely. It's redbrick uni nirvana: tree-lined streets of bulbous Victorian semis, corduroyed lecturers in cafes, dusty bookshops and curry houses, interspersed with cute gentrified spots such as Allandale Road and Francis Street, plus Victoria Park, with its Lutyens war memorial. Once upon a time the area's most famous son, Joe Orton, had to escape to London to find his fleshpots. No more. Leicester has had a little renaissance of late. Its cultural life may not boil but at least, these days, it simmers. The case against The neighbourhood used to be in part ruled by Quakers, hence a lack of old boozers. Well connected? You can walk to the city centre and train station. Several trains an hour to London St Pancras (half-hourly for the fast service, 69 mins), to Birmingham (50-58 mins) and to Nottingham (30 mins). The M1 and M69 are on your doorstep. Schools "Good" primaries include St John the Baptist CofE, Overdale and Coleman, Ofsted says, and St Thomas More Catholic is "outstanding". Secondaries: independents such as Leicester High School for Girls gobble a lot of the intake but Crown Hills Community and Moat Community are both "good". Hang out at… A latte at Mason & Brooke on Allandale Road for the lecturers. For the student, to London Road: cocktails at the Lansdowne, followed by a curry at the Curry House. Where to buy It's dense Victorian terraces to the north abutting the park. Huge, pricier late-Victorian and Edwardian villas and semis straddle London Road. South Knighton is almost villagey. Market values Huge detacheds, £450,000-£800,000. Detacheds, £190,000-£450,000. Semis and town houses, £175,000-£500,000. Terraces, £125,000-£285,000. Flats, £75,000-£200,000. Bargain of the week Four-bedroom Edwardian semi in the thick of the neighbourhood, £275,000, with Barkers.