The London Borough of Hillingdon
“…one of the most famous landmarks in the borough is Heathrow Airport – one of the busiest airports in the world – which has introduced a huge number of jobs to the area since it opened in 1946”
Moving to Hillingdon
Sitting 14 miles outside the city centre, Hillingdon is the westernmost and second largest borough in London. Perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in the borough is Heathrow Airport – one of the busiest airports in the world – which has introduced a huge number of jobs to the area since it opened in 1946 and significantly contributed to the growth and economic success of Hillingdon. However, the borough does suffer from some flight noise issues, particularly in the areas surrounding Heathrow Airport, despite the noise restrictions between 11.30pm and 6am. With the merits of a third runway currently being debated, this could be set to increase significantly in the coming years.
Aside from Heathrow, Hillingdon nurtures various lively town centres in urban spots such as Uxbridge, and is home to the key European offices of major brands including Cadburys, Canon, Apple and PWC which brings many commuters into the borough as well as out. As a result, there are excellent transport links here, both via public transport and good arterial routes via the M4 and M25. As well as offering a thriving business centre, Hillingdon is also a family borough, with a large population of young people, vast swathes of green space, and a selection of good schools for both primary and secondary aged children.
House Prices in Hillington
Hillingdon is among the 10 cheapest boroughs in London, with house prices around £450,000 on average as of 2017, significantly cheaper than the London average, making the area a great choice for young professionals getting on the property ladder or families on a budget. Properties here are a mix of Victorian and Edwardian detached family homes, terraced houses, maisonettes and commuter-friendly apartments, so there’s something for all tastes. Ickenham, Ruislip and Northwood are particularly popular areas with many smart apartments for high-income city workers, while for those seeking a bit more peace and quiet, northern Uxbridge is filled with leafy, suburban streets. Meanwhile, the impending arrival of Crossrail in areas such as West Drayton will lead to much regeneration and could make them ideal investment opportunities.
“Being a culturally diverse area with a large Indian and Pakistani population, there are a wide array of options for international dining here”
With so many employment opportunities in the area, many people commute into the London Borough of Hillingdon as well as leave the borough for jobs in more central areas in London. As a result, there are excellent transport links here, both into London and to surrounding parts of the country. Via the National Rail, for example, it is possible to travel from West Drayton to London Paddington in just over 25 minutes or in the other direction to commuter town Maidenhead, in Berkshire, in under 20 minutes.
Alternatively, the Piccadilly and Metropolitan Line on the London Underground both serve a number of stations in the borough and quickly transport locals into the heart of central London. Furthermore, with Crossrail stations planned at West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport, travel between these points and beyond is set to become even speedier.
As an outer London borough, Hillingdon doesn’t have the same range of dining and retail options as more central areas, although there are some great restaurant options to be found. Being a culturally diverse area with a large Indian and Pakistani population, there are a wide array of options for international dining here. Sipson Tandoori, Lumbini Restaurant and Nonna Rosa III serve Indian, Nepalese and Italian food respectively, and all come highly recommended. Branches of popular high-street chains such as Bella Italia and Ask Italian can also be found in Hillingdon, as well as some lovely cosy gastropubs.
For all your retail needs, there a number of shopping centres in the borough, particularly in Uxbridge where you’ll find both the intu Shopping Centre and The Pavilions. Between them, an assortment of high-street favourites can be found such as H&M, ALDO, New Look, and Pandora. Meanwhile, in the more southern end of the borough, Lombardy Retail Park in Hayes is home to the likes of TK Maxx, Next, and JD Sports
Most major supermarkets can be found in Hillingdon, including a large ASDA in Hayes, a branch of Waitrose in Ruislip, and a Tesco Superstore in West Drayton. The borough is also home to some great markets, such as the monthly Duck Pond Market in Ruislip which is packed with produce from a range of producers, and quality independent food stores can also be found in various neighbourhoods, such as Byron’s Urban Farm Shop in Uxbridge.
Health & Sport
Hillingdon offers a number of fitness facilities, including branches of gym chains such as PureGym and Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, and good council services such as LeisureLink, Botwell Green Sports and Leisure centre, and Hillingdon Sports and Leisure centre. There are also various golf clubs in the borough, including Heathpark Golf Course and Hillingdon Golf Course.
A selection of reasonably cultural venues can be found in Hillingdon if you know where to look – particularly highlights include the Compass Theatre in Ickenham, which hosts a range of performances and events from stand-up comedy to theatre productions, and the compact Winston Churchill Theatre in Ruislip.
For petrol heads and budding motor historians, the borough is home to the London Motor Museum, a large site in Hayes that’s packed with classic cars and the odd famous vehicle such as Herbie the Volkswagen Beetle. Meanwhile, film fans can enjoy all the latest blockbusters at the Odeon in Uxbridge.
“…the borough is also home to some great markets, such as the monthly Duck Pond Market in Ruislip which is packed with produce from a range of producers”
Schools and Education
A major factor in the borough’s popularity with families, Hillingdon has a good selection of schools, with 81% of pupils attending an Ofsted ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ school as of 2013. Among primary-aged children, the best primary schools in Hillingdon include the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Heathrow Primary School and St Swithun Wells Catholic Primary School. For older children, St Helens School is an excellent independent option, while Bishop Ramsey CofE School and Queensmead School are among the best secondary schools in Hillingdon.
The borough is also home to the Uxbridge campus of Buckinghamshire New University and Brunel University for those considering further education.
Hillingdon is considered to be a relatively safe borough, with crime rates falling by 15% since 2004. An unexpectedly swift rise in crime levels occurred in 2015, but was largely considered to be due to police recording crimes that had previously gone unrecorded, rather than an increase in crimes committed.
As well as covering part of the huge Colne Valley Regional Park, Hillingdon also boasts 800 acres of woodland and 200 green spaces, so you’ll have no trouble getting back to nature. Cranford Park, one of the finest in the borough, can be found close to Heathrow Airport and has been a Green Flag award winner every year since 20o2. Originally part of the grounds of Cranford House, this pretty open space covers 144 acres, has the River Crane running through it and includes features such as a walled garden, the medieval church and a children’s playground. For those who prefer a waterside walk, The Grand Union Canal, a 137-mile canal running from London to Birmingham, also runs through the borough.
Many settlements in the ancient borough of Hillingdon date back more than 1000 years, with a number already established parishes by the time the Domesday Book of 1086 was written. However, the borough did not become unified as a London Borough until 1965, and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.