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From Batman’s lair and a Tardis-like chalet to an old factory and a boat, you needn’t settle for an ex-council flat or a crumbling houseshare in London ...

The dream

The setting for a scene in Batman Begins, the base for a live episode of TV ghost-hunting show Most Haunted and the set for the video of Spice Girls’ Wannabe, the iconic St Pancras Chambers certainly has a varied history.

The frontispiece to St Pancras Station originally opened as the Midland Grand Hotel in 1873, becoming railway offices in 1935, and then re-opening as The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and apartments in 2011. 

The gothic style means it’s rich with vaults, archways, beams, buttresses and other features that lead you to imagine Dracula himself could be lurking behind the curtains. 

If you are brave enough to rest your head here you’ll be rewarded with a seriously stunning apartment, with the pictured one-bed currently up for rent.

Claire O’Donnell, lettings manager at Foxtons Camden, tells us that a DJ was the previous tenant and points out: “Whoever occupies it can take advantage of the room service from the hotel, as well as access the leisure facilities.” Batman, Dracula and room service – it’s the perfect bachelor bad.

The damage: One-bed, £725 per week.

Contact: Foxtons Camden, tel. 020 7424 6000.


The serious stretch

This two-bed apartment is housed in southeast London’s Alaska Building – so named because it was opened in 1869 as an Alaskan seal fur factory (boo). With a tower and extension added in 1930 by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners, who also designed London’s Art Deco Hoover buildings, the Grange Road structure holds plenty of architectural quirks. 

Inside, original features have been gorgeously retained, with exposed brickwork, rustic wood-slatted double-height ceilings and industrial metal beams creating a space that looks modern but has its roots firmly placed in history. 

Frank Xavier, lettings manager at Urban Spaces, who has actually lived in the property himself, says: “This development has a real community feel – throughout the summer months the communal gardens and lake serve as a popular social scene, with barbecues and beers to be had. Plus the area is so quiet, it’s like an oasis in the city.”

The damage: Two-bed, £600 per week.

Contact: Urban Spaces, tel. 020 7251 4000.


The ‘save your pennies’

This property (above) in East Barnet looks as if it belongs in the hills of a ski resort thanks to its shape and cedar-clad exterior.

It’s also deceptive in that it’s a hell of a lot bigger than it looks from the outside: due to planning permission restrictions, the owner, Dr Chas Church, had to excavate downwards to create a floor below ground level, and it now contains four three-bed apartments, all available to rent.

Employing Iranian architect, Parham Bakhtar, Dr Chas converted what was once a garage he inherited from his father into this state-of-the-art, spacious and modern property. With quartz and porcelain surfaces and lighting by George Nelson – known for his modernist bubble lamps – as Dr Chas puts it: “Folk ask, ‘Where is Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud?’”

The damage: Three-bed, £540 per week.

Contact: Grange Homes, tel. 020 8360 9890.


The ‘when can we move in?

’Who wants to live by the Thames when you can live on it? There’s something quintessentially English about living on a houseboat, so why not embrace the culture while you’re here? This boat contains five apartments and a communal terrace, and is moored near the pretty Kew Bridge.

You will find all your creature comforts on board, plus under-floor heating. And it’s a serious money saver. As lettings agent Laura Hockey from Martin & Co points out: “Advantages are in abundance with bills included, council tax exemption, and all the mod-cons.” Tax dodging and guaranteed views of the water? We think the poms might be onto something...

The damage: Two-bed, £300 per week.

Contact: Martin & Co, Ealing, tel. 020 8579 9191.


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