24 September 2020/ Area guides

Office leasing guide: London – Fringe

If you love the City of London’s culture, but don’t want to work in the heart of the fast-paced hub, the London fringe is a happy compromise. Located in the band between the city centre and its outskirts, the fringe combines city life with more open-space suburban living.

On average, fringe towns require a 45-minute commute into the city. There are many around London, from Romford in the east to Hounslow in the west. Each is full of rich history, especially in agriculture and railway. Some towns are also the birthplace of famous sites and people, including the world’s largest rugby stadium in Twickenham and the Reverend William Derham from Upminster, who was the first man to accurately calculate the speed of sound.

In this guide, we focus on three of the most up-and-coming outer London areas for business activity: Uxbridge, Hayes and Croydon.

Uxbridge

Offices to rent in Uxbridge

Located in west London in the Borough of Hillingdon, Uxbridge has grown into a significant retail and commercial centre. It experienced its first big boom in 1955 when the suburban growth of London saw its area size and population expand. Today, roughly 70,000 people live here.

Uxbridge offers lots of contemporary office space, but it’s not all business and shopping. The town also offers expansive parkland, including the Uxbridge Alderglade 2.9-hectare nature reserve and a portion of the Colne Valley Regional Park. If the mid-week grind is getting to you, these green spaces offer a welcome relief from the meeting room.

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Key business areas in Uxbridge

Many businesses large and small are located in and around the Uxbridge town centre. It’s home to the UK and European headquarters of big-name international brands, including Cadbury, Xerox, Coca-Cola European Partners, General Mills, Monster Energy, Herbalife Europe and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Cadbury’s HQ sits in the Uxbridge Business Park – a modern development that offers 50 acres of parkland, making it one of the greenest business parks around. Most businesses are a short walk to the town centre, which offers two shopping centres, branded high street stores and banks, and smaller roads filled with older shops.

It’s estimated that over half of Hillingdon’s residents commute into Uxbridge daily for work.

Getting around Uxbridge

Uxbridge boasts an extensive local bus network, which is helpful for getting into town. The town centre itself is largely pedestrianised, so it’s worth wearing comfy shoes.

An underground tube line
Uxbridge has its own London Underground station in the heart of town, which is the terminus of both the Metropolitan line and the Piccadilly line.

If you need to use the Chiltern Line or Central Line, it’s only a 30-minute bus ride from Uxbridge to the West Ruislip station. And if you want to use the Great Western Main Line, the closest station is West Drayton, easily accessible by bus or car.

Quick access to the M40/A40 and M25 motorways
Good news: the major motorways are just a five- and an eight-minute drive from Uxbridge town centre.

Short drive to London HeathrowWith just five miles between London Heathrow Airport and Uxbridge, the town centre is an ideal base for any business that requires regular international travel.

Business amenities in Uxbridge

Lots of choice for your tastebuds
When it comes to dining, Uxbridge has lots on offer – from local British cuisine to international flavours. There are hidden gems to look out for, like Ottimmo Bao Bao – a small restaurant that carries a five-star rating for Japanese cuisine.

Looking to take clients out for lunch? Take your pick of classy Italian restaurants from Nonna Rosa to La Palma and Bella Italia. If you’re craving a bit more spice, try some of the best Indian curries in town at Javitri.

For a more casual team outing, enjoy good old pub food at Martin’s Place or The Three Tuns. And if it’s a warm sunny day, you can have a bite on the terrace at The Old Orchard, which overlooks a nearby lake.

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There are lots of hotel options in Uxbridge
For a quick trip, Uxbridge has the usual affordable and convenient options, from Travelodge to Premier Inn. But if you’re hosting clients or looking for a more upmarket stay, explore The Red Lion boutique hotel, or the Denham Grove, which sits in the more rural part of Uxbridge and offers 42 acres of tranquil countryside.

You can shop ‘til you drop
Uxbridge has built a name for itself as a retail centre, thanks to its two large shopping malls. The intu Uxbridge Shopping Centre offers an ODEON cinema and 52 stores from Boots to Waterstones. It also offers a suite of meeting rooms, which you can hire out for between eight and 20 people.

On the other side of town is The Pavilions, an indoor mall offering coffee outlets and shops from Marks & Spencer to Primark.

Built-in facilities at Uxbridge Office ParkIf you work alongside Cadbury in the Uxbridge Office Park, you can enjoy an on-premise clubhouse, fitness studio, football pitch, basketball court and riverside picnic area. In short, all the perfect amenities for facilitating some of that prized work/life balance.

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Notable office tenants

  • Cadbury
  • Coca-Cola European Partners
  • Xerox
  • General Mills
  • Monster Energy
  • Herbalife Europe
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb

Key agents

  • TELSAR
  • Colliers International Uxbridge
  • Cushman & Wakefield

Interesting facts

The London Borough of Hillingdon’s Hillingdon Civic Centre was built in Uxbridge High Street. It opened in 1973 as part of efforts to unite the services of the council.

John Steers and Big Jim Sullivan both lived in Uxbridge. Steers was the Academy Award-winning creator of the Star Wars robots and James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Sullivan was an English musician and session guitarist with 54 UK number one hits.

St Margaret’s Church is one of the oldest buildings in town. It has existed since 1245 and was the original parish church of Uxbridge.

Hayes

Offices to rent in Hayes

Also located in the London Borough of Hillingdon, near Uxbridge, is Hayes. It has a long history in agriculture and brickmaking – and private boarding schools for the wealthy. Today, however, Hayes’ proximity to London Heathrow Airport has made it a budding business district, especially for the retail, manufacturing, and distribution sectors. An estimated 83,000 people call it home.

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Key business areas in Hayes

Hayes offers a lot of large and contemporary offices. It’s home to the headquarters of brands including Heinz, United Biscuits (makers of the moreish McVitie’s), Fujitsu and Rackspace UK.

Just outside of town is perhaps the most famous business area: Stockley Park. Located between Hayes, Yiewsley and West Drayton, Stockley Park is a prominent business estate and public country park. Inside the estate, you’ll find tech and telecommunications brands including Apple Inc., Canon, Toshiba, Sharp Corporation and Verifone. Taking advantage of the airport, you’ll also find Samsonite and Marks & Spencer.

Venture 2.5 miles north of Stockley Park and you’ll find Brunel University London, which is well-known for the work it does with businesses. The university currently works with over 1,700 businesses locally and internationally, offering talent recruitment, research and development, and access to health and safety courses. They’re always looking to support businesses, so get in touch if you’re in the area.

Getting around Hayes

Hayes has new trains on their way
Hayes doesn’t have its own underground line, but the Heathrow stations are all nearby. If you’re using the Great Western Railway, you can get on or off at the Hayes & Harlington railway station. The station is currently undergoing a major renovation as part of the new Elizabeth lines services. When complete, you’ll be able to enjoy a fleet of new trains, a redeveloped station entrance, 200-metre long platforms and a spacious new ticket hall.

There are lots of road options too
Hayes offers an extensive bus network and quick access to junctions 3 and 4 on the M4 motorway. It’s also just a 10 – 12-minute drive to London Heathrow Airport, making air travel more convenient for you.

Business amenities in Hayes

Hayes is perfect for lovers of Indian food
If you love authentic curries, rich tikka masala and buttery chicken, you’ll love Hayes. It boasts a large number of Indian restaurants. There’s Madhu’s Heathrow, which calls itself gourmet Punjabi cuisine with a Kenyan twist, Annayu’s and – moving a little further into neighbouring West Drayton – the Sipson Tandoori Indian Restaurant full of traditional, spicy flavours.

Hayes also has one of the top-rated steakhouses around: The Steak and Lobster Heathrow, where you can enjoy a flame-grilled steak and the freshest red lobster. If it’s traditional British food you’re after, you can tuck into Shepherd’s Pie, a rack of lamb, or bangers and mash at The Pheasant Restaurant & Pheasant Inn.

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Spoilt for choice of hotels
Being close to an airport means enjoying an abundance of hotels, from the affordable and convenient to the more luxurious. One of Hayes’ most popular hotels is Hyatt Place West London, which offers spacious rooms and facilities from restaurants to gyms.

You can grab a quick one-night stay at the Travelodge or Premier Inn. Or, you can host international guests close to Heathrow at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel, the Sheraton Skyline Hotel (which features in a number of Hollywood films, thanks to its glorious tropical-themed pool and bar area), or the sophisticated London Heathrow Marriott Hotel.

Lots to enjoy from Stockley Business Park
If you venture into Stockley Business Park, you’ll benefit from on-site dog sitters, fitness and wellbeing gym, golf club and childcare. There are also lots of walking and running routes, where you can set your difficulty level from easy to challenging.

Notable office tenants

  • Heinz
  • United Biscuits
  • Fujitsu
  • Apple Inc
  • Canon
  • Toshiba                                                  
  • Sharp Corporation
  • Verifone
  • Samsonite
  • Marks & Spencer

Key agents

  • Colliers International Property Consultants Ltd
  • CBRE
  • IW Group Services (UK) Ltd
  • Cushman & Wakefield

Interesting facts

Hayes is home to The Old Vinyl Factory, a complex of buildings formerly owned by the British music company EMI.

Hayes used to be home to the Nestlé However, it transformed the grounds into a new 1,386-home neighbourhood with over seven acres of green space.

Famous people from Hayes include the author George Orwell, who actually adopted his pen name while in Hayes. Jane Seymour, better known as Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, is another.

Hayes is a popular location for films. Scenes from Chocolat, Bend it like Beckham, Thor and World War Z were all filmed in Hayes.

Rowan Atkinson filmed his famous Mr Bean swimming-pool episode in Hayes, at the old swimming baths on Central Avenue (since relocated).

Croydon

Offices to rent in Croydon

For our last stop in this exploration of the London Fringe, we head to Croydon – a larger area in south London. It’s the main settlement in the London Borough of Croydon and was once a centre for charcoal production, leather tanning and brewing.

Today, Croydon has a diverse economy, dominated by the service and retail sectors. For those looking to open up shop here, you can look forward to a lot of foot traffic. Croydon is, in fact, one of the largest commercial districts outside of Central London, with a thriving shopping and night-time economy.

But it’s not just shopping that brings people here. Throughout the ages, Croydon has benefitted from good transport links. It was once home to the world’s first public railway, the horse-drawn Surrey Iron Railway, which opened in 1803 and ran from Croydon to Wandsworth. These links have been a major contributing factor to Croydon’s business growth – and Croydon is also one of the largest financial centres and office areas in the south-east outside London today.

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Key business areas in Croydon

Croydon Central is the business hub. When travelling through it, you’ll see a large number of modern, towering offices and business centres including Start-Up Croydon, Capital Business Centre and Square Root, offering office space, meetings rooms and workshop studios for businesses of all sizes.

Croydon has worked hard to build an attractive business climate. In 2018, the town launched its Croydon Means Business initiative, which aims to showcase Croydon as a great place to grow a business and inspire innovation through networking and business support.

This growth mindset isn’t new either. A decade earlier, the town snapped up the award for the most enterprising place in London. And it’s currently working through a £520 million Growth Zone programme covering transport, schools, community infrastructure and support for small businesses.

While the town is dominated by retail, there’s also a good chance your neighbour will be a legal, insurance or financial services firm. Some of the biggest companies in Croydon include Goldman Sachs, Accenture, KPMG, Amazon, J.P. Morgan, Barclays and Deloitte.

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Getting around Croydon

Interestingly, Croydon is one of the five London boroughs never to have been served by the London Underground system. However, when it comes to transport, there are lots of other options – from rail to road and tramlink – making travel convenient for businesses.

It’s easy to get around by rail
Croydon is served both by East Croydon and West Croydon. West Croydon is served by the London Overground and Southern services, while the Govia Thameslink Railway serves East Croydon via the Brighton Main Line.

You can take the tram through Croydon
If you fancy taking the tram, you’ll be able to catch one in Croydon and travel to surrounding areas in south London. This tram system first started operating in 2000, known as the ‘Croydon Tramlink’ and was actually the first tram system in London since 1952. It’s about a 30-minute ride from East Croydon to Wimbledon.

Taking the road
There are lots of bus routes in and around Croydon, with the main station next to the railway station and tram stop. If you own a car, Croydon sits on the A23 corridor that connects London to the south coast. It’s also less than 10 miles from the M25, which provides links to all of the south east’s major motorways, including the M26, M23, M3 and M4.

Business amenities in Croydon

The famous Whitgift Centre (now Centrale & Whitgift)
Located in the heart of Croydon, Central & Whitgift is a large shopping centre that was first opened in 1970. It boasts over one million square feet of retail space, attracting a staggering monthly footfall of 2.08 million. It was the largest covered shopping development in Greater London until Westfield London took its crown in 2008. Offering an extensive range of shops and restaurants, the centre is also working to become a Net Positive company for carbon, resource use, water waste, and socio-economic impacts by 2030.

Flavours from around the world
There are lots of restaurants to choose from in Croydon. For a taste of Italian, you can try the Ponte Nuovo Ristorante Bar or Basil & Grape. If Vietnamese tickles your fancy, there’s Thanh’s Bistro, while Karachi Cuisine offers everything from Indian to Asian. Each is suitable for wining and dining your clients, but for something a little more quirky you can try the Little Bay restaurant. And if you’re looking to help your team unwind after a long day, Boxpark Croydon offers street food, craft beer and quiz nights.

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Croydon hotels for lazy nights or luxury treatments
There’s over 100 B&Bs and hotels to choose from in Croydon. You can host clients and colleagues in a convenient Travelodge, Premier Inn or Jurys Inn. Or, you can put them up in a sleek hotel like the Hilton, which offers quick access to Gatwick Airport, Epson racecourses and the Farleigh golf club.

Notable office tenants

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Accenture
  • KPMG
  • Amazon
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Barclays
  • Deloitte

Key agents

  • Avison Young
  • CBRE
  • Stiles Harold Williams
  • Citibase Limited

Interesting facts

Croydon was the location of London's main airport until the Second World War. Unfortunately, much of the town was damaged by bombing and, after the war, Heathrow Airport became the main airport – with Croydon Airport closing in 1959.

If you look closely in The Dark Knight Rises film, you’ll spot the Delta Point building close to West Croydon station, which appears as Gotham General Hospital.

Famous faces from Croydon include Tom Holland from the Spiderman films and singer Amy Winehouse, who were both educated at BRIT School. Model Kate Moss also attended Riddlesdown High School in Croydon.