Moving to St. James’s, Victoria and Pimlico
Lying south of Piccadilly and to the south and west of Buckingham Palace, the three districts of St James’s, Victoria and Pimlico make up one of central London’s most diverse areas. Certainly it’s home to the country’s richest woman – and no, that’s not JK Rowling, although she does have a house here – but it’s also a thriving commercial and transport hub, home to culture and the arts, and its residential enclaves range from London’s most exclusive to large tracts of social housing.
Our free, in-depth Moving to St. James’s, Victoria and Pimlico report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting St. James', Victoria and Pimlico on the map
Think of Buckingham Palace and its enormous garden as the central axis. St James’s lies to the north east of the Palace and is bounded by Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus to the north, Haymarket to the east, the Mall to the south and Green Park and Buckingham Palace to the west. Green Park, St James’s Park and Buckingham Palace effectively separate St James’s from Victoria and Pimlico to the south west.
Victoria and Pimlico are not so easy to delineate as St James’s; the two areas overlap, and are bounded very obviously by Buckingham Palace Road, Ebury Bridge Road and Grosvenor Waterside to the west and by the Thames to the south. However, to the east it is not quite so clear where Victoria ends and Westminster begins, though Pimlico‘s eastern border is taken to be Vauxhall Bridge Road.
Victoria itself is dominated by Victoria railway station and the adjacent Victorian coach station, forming together one of London’s main transport hubs. Here you can catch trains to the South and the West of England and pick up coaches to destinations all over the country and to continental Europe. The area as a whole is served by a multitude of underground stations, including Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, St James’s Park, Westminster and Pimlico, giving access to the Victoria, Circle, District, Piccadilly, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines.
Even within these three areas, rental prices can vary widely, depending upon the style and state of the property and the particular street. Apartments are more numerous and, obviously, more affordable than houses but even the most expensive white stucco villas will be far cheaper in Victoria and Pimlico than in neighbouring Belgravia and Knightsbridge.
St James's: Prestige and Royal Patronage
This small rectangle of London has long been one of its wealthiest and most prestigious enclaves.
- It has been associated with royalty for centuries and is home to Buckingham Palace, the residence of the ruling monarch, as well as Clarence House, the home of the Prince of Wales and formerly the Queen Mother, and St James’s Palace, where Princes William and Harry had bachelor pads and still maintain their offices.
- The area has numerous other grand houses including Marlborough House, Lancaster House, Spencer House and Schomburg House, most of which have now been converted into commercial premises.
- Both residential and commercial rents in the area are among the highest in London.
- St James’s is also associated with fine art galleries, including the White Cube Gallery in Mason’s Yard and the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall.
- Christie’s, the auctioneers, is located in King Street and there are multitude of art and antique dealers based in the area.
- St James’s was originally developed by Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans; hence Jermyn Street, now famous as home to London’s best bespoke tailors.
- In fact, the whole retail character of St James’s is distinctly masculine, with historic wine merchants Berry Bros and Rudd on St James’s Street and three notable cigar shops, Davidoff, JJ Fox and Dunhill, within walking distance.
It will hardly come as a surprise to learn that renting property in St James’s requires deep pockets. The average rental value of a home in St James is 147% higher than the national average and on the whole there is a trend for residential properties to be converted to commercial use.
Victoria: Where everyone's on the move
The hustle and bustle of Victoria couldn’t be more different from the rarefied quiet of St James’s. Major transport hubs attract a transient population and there’s plenty of coming and going around here.
- The main thoroughfare of the area is Victoria Street which runs east from Victoria Station towards Westminster Abbey.
- Victoria Street is home to Westminster Cathedral, London’s Roman Catholic cathedral. Designed by architect John Francis Bentley, it was consecrated in 1903. It’s notable for its Arts and Crafts mosaics, though the interior has yet to be completed.
- From the early 17th century the area was associated with brewing and the Stag Brewery owned by Watney and Co was one of the largest in London. Sadly, it closed in 1959.
- More than 70 million travellers pass through Victoria railway station each year and the area around it has numerous small hotels and guesthouses, particularly in Belgrave Road to the south of the station.
- There are two large theatres in the area, the Victoria Palace and the Apollo Theatre, both of which play host to top West End shows.
- The predominant architecture is Victorian terraced houses and around the station these tend to be a little shabby. However, closer to Belgravia and Ebury Street the area becomes smarter and is popular with foreign embassies and diplomats.
- There’s something about this corner of London that attracts strong women; close neighbours of the Queen include JK Rowling and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher before her death.
Pimlico: Faded Grandeur Regenerated for a New Generation
Lying directly south of Belgravia, Pimlico was similarly developed as a genteel residential area by Thomas Cubitt on behalf of Lord Grosvenor.
- Prior to this the area was known as the Five Fields of Ebury Manor; the land became the property of the Grosvenors through marriage.
- Cubitt’s glorious white stucco terraces are still in evidence on St George’s Drive, Belgrave Road, Eccleston Square, Lupus Street, Warwick Square and St George’s Square. However, living standards deteriorated and by the turn of the 20th century, Pimlico was known as an area of deprivation. The Peabody Estate had several charitable housing projects in the area.
- The area has long had political associations due to its proximity with the Palace of Westminster. The Dolphin Square apartment complex, built in the late 30s, has always been popular with MPs and was the headquarters of the Free French during the Second World War.
- On Eccleston Square, the Labour Party and the Trades Union Congress shared offices, from which they organized the General Strike of 1926.
- Other famous residents have included Winston Churchill, novelist Joseph Conrad, Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, clothes designer Laura Ashley, Charles de Gaule, William Hague, Oswald Mosley, Laurence Olivier and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
- Art links include the original Tate Gallery, now known as Tate Britain, and the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
As a place to live, compared with Belgravia, Pimlico offers excellent value for money. Proximity to Westminster and Whitehall make the area popular with government workers, while good transport links make for an easy commute to the West End or the City. The rental market is strong, however, and apartment complexes such as Dolphin Square with its gym, restaurant and swimming pool, and the brand-new Grosvenor Waterside development are very popular. Most of the grand Victorian terraced houses have been divided into apartments, although there are still some large family homes in the area. Gardens, however, come at a premium; for many, access to a private garden square is just as good.
For the particularly budget conscious who are keen to live in this part of Central London, there is always the option of renting a former council flat, though this won’t appeal to everyone. Rental values vary widely, with a big difference in the price asked between the grand Victorian villas and smart new developments compared with the charitable housing projects and council estates.
Bringing the Kids
As a whole, these three areas are not particularly family orientated but they do still offer a reasonable choice of schools.
- The London Borough of Westminster runs numerous state funded primary schools; St Peter’s Eaton Square and St Gabriel’s Church of England Primary were awarded an ‘outstanding’ accolade by the school inspectors Ofsted.
- The Grey Coat Hospital is a girls’ state secondary school which has also been identified as outstanding.
- One of the area’s best prep schools is the Westminster Cathedral Choir School which takes boys from 7 to 13, some of which will be selected to be choirboys in the Roman Catholic cathedral.
- Additionally, Roman Catholic expats may wish to consider the St Vincent de Paul RC Primary School in Morpeth Terrace.
- Westminster, one of the country’s leading public schools, is within easy reach for boys between 13 and 18, and girls aged 16 to 18.
Relocating to St. Jame's, Victoria and Pimlico
There’s no denying that renting property in St James’s is expensive but Victoria and Pimlico offer better value for money. All three of these districts offer the convenience of a central location with good transport links within the capital and further afield, so if Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia are beyond your budget, looking here might be the answer. Of the three, St James’s is certainly the smartest; but it’s a small area which has mainly been given over to commercial interests, so there is perhaps less choice. Victoria is busy, with a multitude of guest houses to accommodate the transient population around the transport hub.
Pimlico, on the other hand, is quieter and more settled, and this makes it possibly the most appealing to families who wish for a good value, central position. Individual gardens are somewhat scarce, but if you’re lucky you could find a property with access to a garden square – and London’s royal parks are just a stone’s throw away. There’s a good range of schools, both fee-paying and state funded, and older children will be able to commute by tube to an even wider choice of schools, including London’s international and American schools. However, if you don’t know the area, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for a property, and access to someone with good knowledge of the local rental market is virtually essential. Add to that further considerations such as convenience for work, access to suitable schools, transport links for trips back home… This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know London property inside out, we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Located to the south of Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace, St James’s, Victoria and Pimlico are 3 residential areas of central London that are very popular with our clients’ Assignees. Renting a home in St James’s is relatively expensive, but Victoria and Pimlico offer great value for money. If Mayfair, Knightsbridge & Belgravia are beyond your budget, looking here might be the answer.
Average monthly rental values in St James's
Average monthly rental values in Victoria
Average monthly rental values in Pimlico