This weekend the Oxbridge boat race crews will thrash past some of west London’s finest real estate. Whoever wins, the star every year is the Thames itself. On its current course since the last ice age, the cleansing tidal river is London’s centrepiece both physically and metaphorically.
Of course, there can be negatives to riverside living – such as higher insurance and flood risk – but the delights of being beside a wide body of moving water almost always outweigh them. Here are five riverside properties on sale around the world.
▲ Putney Wharf Tower, London, £3.95m
Where: Putney, west London.
What: A four-bedroom penthouse over three floors, with big terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Why: Perched above Bazalgette’s elegant Putney Bridge, this flat provides an excellent spot for watching the start of the boat race. Views are spectacular year round – westward over leafy Bishops Park and London Wetlands Centre, northward over west London’s sprawl and eastward into the thriving riverside heart of the city. Nearby Putney High Street may be the dreariest shopping parade in London but there are some excellent restaurants and pubs within stumbling distance.
Who: Hamptons Putney, www.hamptons.co.uk, tel: +44 (0)20 8780 0077
▲ 15 Queen Anne Court, Australia, A$3.95m (£2.4m)
Where: Coomera River, Sovereign Islands, Queensland.
What: A five-bedroom modern house surrounded by water.
Why: The Sovereign Islands, linked by bridge to Queensland’s Gold Coast, comprise one of Australia’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, yet are a handy hop from the brasher charms of Surfers Paradise. This newly rebuilt house has modern design features such as LED lighting and Alucobond panelling, which morphs though different shades of metallic gold as the sun moves. Facilities include cinema, library, huge aquarium, indoor pond, sauna, pool, entertainment deck with barbecue, multiple zoned A/C and pontoon.
Who: Lewis Land, www.lewisland.com.au, tel: +61 2 9223 3555
▲ Quai d’Orsay, France, €19m
Where: Quai d’Orsay, 7th arrondissement, Paris.
What: A three-bedroom penthouse with library and terraces overlooking some of Paris’s finest buildings.
Why: Somehow Paris manages to feel both more stylish and more laid-back than its rival capital across the channel. Most of the macro-monuments – the Grand Palais, Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur – are on display from the four terraces at this Seine-side duplex, with elegant shopping streets and excellent restaurants a short walk away.
Who: Daniel Feau, www.feau-immobilier.fr, tel: +44 (0)20 7389 2551 (London) or +33 (0)1 53 23 81 81 (Paris)
▲ Maanskijnkop, South Africa, R26.5m (approx £2.4m)
Where: Klein River Lagoon, Hermanus, Western Cape.
What: A six-bedroom house plus two-bedroom cottage.
Why: 72 miles (115km) south-east of Cape Town, Hermanus is famous for its visiting southern right whales, who mate every year at a convenient viewing distance from the town’s cliffs. As well as cetacean attractions, there is a yacht club and a world heritage beach nearby. This house – with gym, two heated swimming pools, jetty, tennis court and views over mountains and lagoon – makes a great base for commuting to Cape Town.
Who: Savills, www.savills.co.uk/abroad, tel: +44 (0)20 7016 3740
▲ 6606 Riverview Boulevard, US, $4.3m
Where: Manatee River, Bradenton, Florida.
What: An estate with four bedrooms and 31ft (9.5m) ceilings.
Why: This is the house that Tony Soprano or Don Corleone might retire to. Various faux finishes give an “old world charm” and there’s marble everywhere. The drive, bath in the master suite (which leads to a terrace, infinity pool and 10-seater hot tub) are all made of marble. The cinema doubles as a panic room, so besieged residents can enjoy some distracting entertainment. A private 430ft (131m) pier with three boat lifts facilitates viewing of the local wildlife, which includes manatees, alligators and bull sharks.
Who: Michael Saunders & Company, www.michaelsaunders.com, tel: +1 941 552 5212