Dowanhill

This page provides a comprehensive Guide to the Dowanhill Area of Glasgow. Information and Free Advice on Renting in Dowanhill is provided in table form. If you are interested in renting a property in the Dowanhill area and the information is not listed in this Guide or in any of our other Glasgow Guides then please contact us and we will aim to include it in our next review.

Summary

Dowanhill is a world class place to live and is recognized both nationally and internationally as such. It is an established neighborhood with a unique and vibrant identity which cannot be matched anywhere else in the city.

As a result demand for accommodation is very high particularly during August an September when University based renters start their annual accommodation hunt.

Location

Dowanhill was designated as a Conservation Area in 1972 and is an area in the heart of the West End of Glasgow bounded by Great Western Road to its northern boundary, Highburgh Road to the South, Hyndland to its West and Byres Road to the East.

Many Glaswegians (particularly those who live in the area itself) consider Dowanhill to be the West End.

Dowanhill is without question a fabulous location. Whilst it is predominately residential in nature, Byres Road itself is the main retail and social hub of the area with its vibrant mix of boutiques, bars, coffee houses and shops.

The character of the area itself is a result of the manner in which the buildings have been carefully maintained by their owners through the years.

Whilst other areas have suffered from widespread destruction in the 1960’s and 1970’s by a local council overly eager for modernization at the expense of heritage and culture, this was more readily achievable in the other inner city areas where the original buildings had been neglected and were poorly maintained.

Stability of many local residents and the cache of the area have always been such that there was minimal migration away from Dowanhill in the mid 20th Century unlike many other areas where the increased mobility of the population encouraged them to seek the suburbs to the west and to the south.

The introduction of Repair Grants funded by Glasgow City Council from the mid 1970’s encouraged improvement in any lower quality housing stock and ensured that the architectural heritage of the area would be preserved in to the 21st Century.

As a consequence today the area is in great demand which is reflected in both purchase and letting prices.

Amenities

The amenities and attractions of the Dowanhill area are obvious and varied. Byres Road and Ashton Lane provide a rich mix of pubs, clubs and restaurants which attract visitors worldwide.

The Botanic Gardens is another feature of this area as it lies to the immediate North of Great Western Road and is well used by the local residents.

There are fantastic transportation links into the City Centre either by bus or by Underground which is accessed from Hillhead Underground station on Byres Road.

The city centre is within walking distance as is Glasgow University on University Avenue, Western Hospital on Dumbarton Road and the BBC on Queen Margaret Drive.

The Ubiquitous Chip is a restaurant of international repute and is normally booked up months in advance as is Room at One Devonshire Gardens which lies to the immediate west of Dowanhill on Great Western Road.

Schools are good and are well above the national average. There are also a large number of Independent Schools in the area which provide education of an international standard.

Accommodation

The Dowanhill area is characterized by a high proportion of period townhouses, terraces and tenement buildings predominately from the late 19th Century originally built to cater for Glasgow’s middle classes.

Dowanhill is still a home for many of the richest and most influential in West End society, many families having stayed in the area for several generations.

The buildings are predominately between 2 to 4 stories in height treated externally in buff colour sandstone obtained from local quarries and are often constructed around private residents’ gardens or other resident facilities such as bowling greens or tennis courts.

The tenement style apartment blocks tend to be 4 or 5 stories in height which reflect the speculative nature of their construction and the fact that their development began in the late 19th Century when the area was already established with the correspondent increase in land values.

The buildings facades are generally in the restrained Classical Roman or Greek Style prevalent in the late 19th Century. The tenements are even more restrained with the majority of detailing externally restricted to the entrances, ornate bay windows or the railings which front the properties.

Today the majority of residential property is apartments, usually in a purpose built tenement block but occasionally in a converted townhouse or villa. The quality of accommodation is generally very high which is reflective of the high property prices and rental values being obtained in this area.

Some of the earlier conversions which were carried out in the 1950’s and 60’s are of a poorer standard as they were converted to accommodate the rapidly expanding student and staff population of Glasgow University and the Western Infirmary when purchase costs were lower.

This stock is now dwindling as they are frequently reconverted or refurbished. The area is in very high demand particularly with young single professionals and professional couples.

Letting Hints and Tips

Streets:
Belhaven Terrace
Huntly Gardens
Athole Gardens
Grosvenor Crescent
Dowanhill Street
Crown Terrace
Roxburgh Street
Princes Terrace

Tips:
Dowanhill is a fantastic place to rent a flat. Points to watch out for are as follows:

Limited wheelchair access / provision: As in the Park Area many of the streets are on inclines. This coupled with the steps to the raised ground floors of many properties mean that the area is less suitable for wheelchair users or anyone with physical impairment.

Flat Hunting: Try to avoid the peak periods of August and September if possible. November and December is quieter. If possible try to look for property in May or June when there is a downturn in demand from students and lecturers in particular.

Byres Road: Flats above retail premises on Byres Road can offer great value accommodation however the area is very busy and noisy particularly at the weekends so if you like peace and quiet opt for the quieter streets which run off Byres Road itself. If you are determined to let in Byres Road then try to opt for a flat with a bedroom to the rear of the property which will be slightly quieter.

Great Western Road: We particularly like the accommodation located to the southern side of the Great Western Road within the Dowanhill boundary. Unlike the blocks in neighboring Hillhead they are well set back from the main thoroughfare and also offer northerly views of the Botanic Gardens. Accommodation is also generally of a particularly fine standard.

Studio Flats: Whilst there are many studios in Dowanhill which offer fantastic spaces created from Drawing Rooms or public rooms of period Townhouses there are still several studio flats which are in poor condition and offer rear views of back garden areas in dimly lit poor quality conversions. Please be sure that your landlord can provide an HIMO Certificate where necessary or alternatively that the Building complies with the relevant Building Regulations and Fire and Safety requirements.

Best Buy: Look at properties to rent in Roxburgh Street if your budget cannot stretch to the pricier Garden properties of Athole or Huntly Gardens. In our view they offer better quality traditional tenement accommodation than the perfectly adequate equivalents on Ruthven Street and even Dowanside Road. As well as offering the true flavour of West End tenement living they are also perfectly located for Byres Road without the bustle associated with the West End’s main thoroughfare.

Family Homes: The high purchase cost of family homes in the area and huge demand means that townhouses available to rent are in very short supply and great demand. If you do not wish to wait for such a property then consider the Kelvinside area where property is slightly more affordable and more readily available. Kelvinside itself is also generally more suburban and family orientated.