Greater London (Middlesex) – area guide
Area size: 601.7 km2 (Figures last recorded in 1961) / 1,569 km2 (Greater London)
Population: 2,234,543 (Figures last recorded in 1961) / 8,196,700 (2011 census figures for Greater London)
Average house price: £264,550 (Source: Zoopla)
Key towns: Wembley, Staines-upon-Thames, Ashford, Edgware, Hounslow, Isleworth, Highgate, Twickenham, Hayes, Uxbridge
Although Middlesex is not formally recognised as a county anymore, many people still use Middlesex in their postal address. In fact, after a Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, almost all of the original area of Middlesex was incorporated into an enlarged Greater London in 1965, with the rest transferred to neighbouring counties.
The area stretches north of the River Thames and west of the City of London with the rivers Colne, Lea and a ridge of hills as its other boundaries.
The proximity of Middlesex to London means that it is popular with commuters who enjoy the relative peace and quiet of life in the suburbs, while being within easy reach of the City.
- Transport links: Wherever you live in Middlesex, you’re within easy commute of London and its surrounding counties. You’re also close to major motorways including the M25, M4 and M40. There are bus services throughout the region. Heading out of the UK? Heathrow, Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick are on your doorstep too.
- The best of both worlds: All of London is on your doorstep, including excellent transport links into the City, but you have the experience of life in the suburbs and access to the countryside.
- Educational opportunities: There are a number of outstanding state and independent schools in the region. Higher education is well represented in the county.
- Time out: The historic county of Middlesex has many places to visit and things to do, thanks to its proximity to London. Its attractions include museums, galleries, historic buildings, parks, gardens, theatres, concerts and events.
- Parks and spaces: Middlesex has some stunning parks and green spaces, including the world-famous Kew Gardens. There are many Green Flag parks to enjoy throughout the area.
Middlesex’s transport is largely informed by the area’s proximity to London.
These days, there are convenient rail links to and from Middlesex’s major towns. Many of Middlesex’s trains arrive in the capital at London Waterloo and there are regular services to and from Staines-upon-Thames, Wembley, Isleworth, Hayes, Uxbridge and Edgware.
Edgware Road is a London Underground station on the Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City Lines in Travelcard Zone 1.
Wembley can be reached by train via Wembley Park Station (Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines), Wembley Stadium Stations, and Wembley Central Station (Bakerloo and London overground lines). It’s worth noting that much of Wembley is residents’/permit parking only on match and event days.
By 2018, the new 118-kilometre Crossrail train line will provide a new east-west route across Greater London, covering key towns within the former county of Middlesex.
Much of Middlesex sits within the M25, giving you easy access to several of the UK’s motorways, A roads and London’s excellent public transport services.
Uxbridge, for example, gives easy access to the M4 and M40, as well as the M25, and is on the Metropolitan Line into London.
The A316 becomes the start of the M3 motorway, while the A308 takes people to Staines-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames, and the A244 heads to Hounslow and Walton-on-Thames.
Middlesex offers convenient opportunities for international travel and business, as London Heathrow, Luton, Gatwick and Stanstead are all close by.
There are comprehensive bus services throughout the region.
Points of interest
Although Middlesex isn’t formally a county anymore, many people who live in the region still use Middlesex as part of their postal address (although Middlesex is a former postal county that stopped being officially recognised as a postal subdivision back in 1996).
The historical county of Middlesex once consisted of the area from Sunbury-on-Thames in the south to Potters Bar in the North and Uxbridge in the West to Brentford in the East. The county was among the smallest in England and was home to many well connected and affluent residents with the City of London so close by.
Middlesex is still firmly embedded in the consciousness of the UK and is used in the name of various organisations and educational establishments. For example, you can still find Middlesex County Cricket Club, the Middlesex Cricket Board and Middlesex University in the region – the latter two were created after Middlesex was abolished as an administrative county!
There is also a Middlesex County Football Association and Middlesex county cup.
Famous people, past and present, associated with Middlesex include Dick Turpin (who used to ride through Hounslow Heath), George Orwell, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Diana Dors, Adam Faith, Tom Jones, David Attenborough, Keith Moon, Jane Seymour and Keira Knightley.
Living in Middlesex
People living in Middlesex essentially have all of London on their doorstep with its amenities, attractions, employment opportunities and transport. However, much of the area formerly recognised as Middlesex falls around London’s suburban outskirts, offering many of the benefits of living in a smaller town community with immediate access to the City itself.
Shopping in Middlesex
Middlesex offers an appealing mix of lively urban centres, traditional high street names and individual shops. Its proximity to the City of London also means that treasures such as London’s Oxford Street, Camden Market, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge are all just a tube, train or bus journey away.
As well as being home to Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena, Wembley Park is a busy shopping centre, which includes Wembley Retail Park and the London Designer Outlet. There are also weekly Sunday markets and specialist arts, antiques and vintage markets.
Uxbridge has two shopping centres, The Pavilions and Intu Uxbridge, as well as familiar high street names in and around the mainly pedestrianised town centre.
Working in Middlesex
Middlesex’s close proximity to London, as well as easy access to Heathrow airport and export links provided by the M25, M40 and M4 have all helped consolidate the county’s position as one of the most desirable places in the UK for business.
Stockley Park in Uxbridge, for example, is an internationally-renowed business park that is the home to the European or British headquarters of companies such as Apple (UK) Ltd., Activision, Aspect, Canon, GlaxoSmithKline, Hasbro, IBM UK, IMG Productions, Marks & Spencer, Regus, Samsonite, Sharp Electronics, Toshiba International and World Vision International, amongst others. People working at Stockley Park enjoy its range of sports and leisure facilities.
Other major international businesses elsewhere in the region include Heinz, BP and Nestle, while Heathrow Airport is one of the area’s major employers.
Of course, many people who live in the former county of Middlesex travel into the City of London for work but enjoy the draw of the suburbs outside of work time.
Education in Middlesex
Outstanding state primary schools in the region include William Tyndale Primary School, Whitchurch Junior School, Field End Infant School, West Lodge Primary School, and Pinner Park Infant and Nursery School. Greenford High School and Featherstone High School are state secondary schools currently rated outstanding by Ofsted.
Middlesex is home to a number of respected independent, boarding and prep schools, including Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood College, St. Martin’s School, Twickenham Preparatory School, The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton School, and Staines Preparatory School.
Further and higher education have a high profile in Middlesex with students coming from around the world to study at Middlesex University London and Brunel University London. The area is also home to Uxbridge College, Buckinghamshire New University’s nursing campus, West Thames College London and Stanmore College.
Sports and leisure in Middlesex
As we’ve mentioned above, Middlesex is still an important area in terms of sports. The region is famous for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) based at Lord’s cricket ground in St. John’s Wood.
Uxbridge has a non-league football team, Uxbridge FC; Uxbridge Cricket Club is a member of the Middlesex County Cricket League.
Twickenham is located in West London and is well known for Twickenham Stadium, which is the home of English rugby.
The London Borough of Hillingdon is a lovely part of the region for outdoor sports and activities. The county has a positive and sympathetic approach to horse riding, for example, and provides over 40 miles of bridleways for horse riders. There are also several skate parks and BMX facilities that are popular with children and teens. Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, athletic track and large sports complex – the South Korean Olympic Team used the centre for training during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Places to visit
The historic county of Middlesex has many places to visit and things to do, thanks to its proximity to London. Its attractions include museums, galleries, historic buildings, parks, gardens, theatres, concerts and events.
Historic houses in the area include Syon Park, with its stunning historic house, gardens and a surrounding park; Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham; Boston Manor House – one of the best kept secrets of Middlesex; and Osterley Park in Isleworth, which is set in 350 acres of gardens and parklands.
Other popular tourist destinations include the London Motor Museum, where visitors can see the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Starsky & Hutch 1075 Ford Gran Torino, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum in Collingdale.
Of course, one of the most iconic landmarks and attractions in Middlesex is Wembley Stadium, home of English football and one of the most famous football stadiums in the world. Next door to Wembley Stadium is Wembley Arena, one of the UK’s most famous multi-purpose venues for music and sports events. Tours of Wembley Stadium are available.
Alexandra Palace is another iconic multi-event venue in Middlesex. The building itself is seven acres in size and located within nearly 200 acres of parkland, which includes an ice rink, boating lake, pub, restaurant, cafes, and a pitch and putt course.
Legoland Windsor is in the neighbouring county of Berkshire but within easy reach of Middlesex.
Middlesex has some fantastic parks and green spaces. Perhaps one of the most famous and popular with tourists is the internationally-renowned Kew Gardens, where visitors find a huge variety of plants, landscapes gardens, glasshouses and historical buildings. Kew Gardens are set in over 325 acres of land.
One treasure is Ruislip Lido, which is a 60-acre lake situated on the edge of Ruislip Woods. The Lido includes a beach, woodland centre, waterside cafes and restaurants, fishing (when permitted), play areas, a mini gauge railway, public toilets and changing room facilities.
Hillingdon Council has 28 Green Flag Awards for its parks and open spaces. Hillingdon also boasts a National Nature Reserve at Ruislip Woods and over 40 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), all of which are open to the public.
Harrow is another area of the historical county of Middlesex, which also has five Green Flag parks: Roxeth Recreation Ground, Canons Park, Harrow Recreation Ground, Pinner Memorial Park, and Kenton Recreation Ground. People wanting to enjoy more outdoor living in Harrow can also apply to the council for an allotment.
Middlesex offers a good mix of property types from historic period houses and large detached properties in the more rural parts of the county, including a number of exclusive mansion houses, to terraced and semi-detached properties, flats and new builds in the suburbs.
Commercial properties in the region include a strong mix of warehouses, industrial units, converted residential developments, guest houses, hotels, high street retail properties.
The average residential property price for Middlesex is currently £264,550, a value that has risen by £12,072 over the past 12 months. The average monthly rent for a similar size property is currently £1,702 pcm (Source: Zoopla).
Again, according to Zoopla, the highest value towns in Middlesex for property are Northwood, Teddingham, Twickenham, Stanmore and Pinner.
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