London is awash with spectacular prime properties — and following the change to the UK's travel rules, it is now much easier for travellers from the UAE to come and see them.
The National's London luxury property series serves to whet the appetite, and this month's offering in the leafy London idyll of Hampstead is a quintessentially British building with a Gallic twist.
Frognal House, 99 Frognal, Hampstead NW3. Approximate market value: £15m ($20.4m)
The key details
An extended 13,147-square-foot mid-18th century Grade II listed building occupying a 0.65 acre site and situated on a tree-lined avenue between Hampstead and Finchley Road.
The property retains many internal and external period features, including brown brick elevations, sash windows, cast iron balconies, cornicing, marble inset fireplaces, wood panelling, and even a chapel.
Its sizeable extensions provide a great deal of scope for additional accommodation and reconfiguration.
It is being offered as a freehold interest with vacant possession, and bids are being accepted up until October 14.
What’s the story?
Frognal House was once the home of soldier, political reformer, general and French president Charles de Gaulle, who lived there with his family during the Second World War after fleeing to England when France fell to the Nazis.
After de Gaulle moved out, the house was converted to a convent where the Sisters of St Dorothy have lived for over half a century, and in recent years alongside international students who have been accommodated while studying in London.
“We have been incredibly happy here in our home for more than 50 years and will be sad to leave but look forward to joining our Sisters in Rome for a new and exciting future,” said Sister Paula.
What the broker says
What makes this property stand out?
The combination of old and modern. There are some parts of the property that no one would want to change, such as the beautiful fireplaces and the panelling. But other parts of property do have the scope to be personalised.
This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure an incredibly rare property with a fascinating history.
What about outside the property?
The lawn area is partly enclosed by a wall and there is a raised vegetable garden. It also has got a copious number of parking spots as well, which are quite handy!
If you go on to the roof, you can see right across London to the City. The house is in a very elevated position, and the views afforded by the house across the Heath and beyond are one of the reasons why Hampstead has always been popular.
How could the property's newer extension be used?
It is a blank canvas. It could be suitable for staff accommodation; it could also be suitable for a home spa, gym or office. It is a reasonably large chunk of space and can be used for whatever a particular buyer has in mind, subject to planning permission of course!
What sort of interest have you had in the property?
Interest has been pretty varied, from private buyers through to those are looking for more of an institutional type use, such as a school or care home. We have had interest from the Middle East, too.
Emma Cleugh, head of education and charities at Knight Frank