The hidden neighbourhood: High life and heritage at Woodleigh

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

The hidden neighbourhood: High life and heritage at Woodleigh

Located close to town, Woodleigh and its vicinity have much to offer to discerning homehunters

BI 150
May 28, 2018

History shapes the way we view the present. In a short 53 years, Singapore has evolved from a developing nation to a first-world country. As we look forward to the future, we embrace our past.

And within the rich heritage of our little red dot, Woodleigh is a well-kept secret, an exciting neighbourhood with gourmet food options, fun recreational activities, as well as exciting new development plans. 

Yet, it remains off the radar for most, ensuring that only those who live in the area – or are in the know – get to enjoy all that this wonderful estate has to offer.

Hidden heritage

Unknown to many, Woodleigh is home to some 100 colonial era black and white houses that are hidden behind dense foliage on Woodleigh Park. These charming homes sit like mysteries in their quiet, off-the-beaten track positions; reclusive yet dignified, with – one imagines – a multitude of heritage stories yet to be told. 

Park Colonial Nicole Waring black and white colonial houses

In 2016, British social worker Nicola Waring opened up her colonial bungalow in Woodleigh Park for visitors during the 6th OH! Open House art walkabout. PHOTO: ZB

 

Given that the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival – and the founding of modern Singapore – is to be a community effort, you and your family can commemorate the occasion in your own special way, by taking a walk up serene Woodleigh Park. As you walk by some of these old colonial houses, reflect on where Singapore has been and how far it has come.

Never go hungry

Food matters. A lot. And the Woodleigh region has a plethora of eateries to suit every taste bud and budget.

For starters, take your pick of dining options – from Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese to Indian, Western and Thai at NEX Shopping Centre,to local eats at Chomp Chomp Food Centre or somewhere in between at myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens.

Feel like having some tea? Then head on to quirky little finds like Wimbly Lu, tucked away along a café stretch at Jalan Riang. This whimsical eatery is popular amongst the area’s affluent residents for its desserts – particularly its chocolates, ice cream and waffles.

Those in the know will also tell of fragrant rice and tender meat at Yeo Keng Nam Chicken Rice, as well as delicious dinners at Hong Chang Frog Porridge and BBQ Fish – where the barbecue sambal stingray is a must-try.

But if you are football crazy, then tuck into tasty grub at Café Football while catching ‘live’ football matches during the weekends at The Arena at Woodleigh Park. Part-owned by Manchester United football legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, the restaurant serves mostly family-friendly western fare like burgers, sandwiches and pasta.

Exercise and recreation

Speaking of The Arena, it is a stylish new sports park created from a revamp of the old PUB Recreation Club. This is the place to go for a wide variety of sporting activities. Apart from football – on top-quality pitches, no less – it also offers Muay Thai, aerial yoga, rock climbing, dance, functional fitness, archery and tennis.

Park Colonial development history giant Angsana

This giant Angsana took root in Upper Serangoon Road between Woodleigh Close and Woodleigh Park about 60 years ago. It is one of the biggest roadside trees here at 21m tall and 7.7m in girth. It was nearly felled in 2001, when it was threatened by the widening of a nearby drainage channel. The latter was realigned under the road surface and the tree was saved. PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

 

If all you want to do is be outdoors, then check out the Kallang Park Connector that stretches along the Kallang River, linking Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to Kallang Riverside Park. Nature-lovers can look out for squirrels and foraging birds along the river bank while enjoying lush greenery along the route.

Rest and relax

We all need our downtimes, and Woodleigh residents frequent NEX Shopping Centre – the largest mall in the northeast and one of the biggest in Singapore – to get their shopping and entertainment fix.

Everything a family needs is here, from NTUC FairpriceXtra supermarket, Courts electronics and furniture retailer and Popular Bookstore, to two food courts, a multiplex cinema and a large range of shops.It even houses the Serangoon Public Library and is integrated with the air-conditioned Serangoon Bus Interchange and Serangoon MRT Station.

A gem of a precinct… with more to come

Woodleigh is adjacent to the Bidadari estate, whose masterplan capitalises on the site’s distinctive character to create a thriving regional park with a lake and a local recreational, social and commercial hub.

Park Colonial Woodleigh MRT

The interior of Woodleigh MRT station, located between Serangoon and Potong Pasir stations on the North East Line. It reopened in 2011 after being closed for 8 years. PHOTO: MY

 

A tree-lined, 700-metre pedestrianised Bidadari Heritage Walk featuring the estate’s rich history will link the future Alkaff Lake with Bidadari Park to the north and provide a conducive parkland for walking and cycling.

Touted as the “future Bishan” and envisioned as a tranquil urban oasis, Bidadari is set to transform the whole region, bringing not just new amenities but also a paradigm shift in public housing where residents will live within a garden-like setting. No wonder then, that new HDB flats launched in the area have seen overwhelming reception, with home buyers also recognising its convenient location and proximity to the city centre.

Another attraction is the many prestigious schools within the vicinity, including St. Andrew’s Village with its primary school, secondary school and junior college, Maris Stella High School, Cedar Girls’ Secondary School and Stamford American International School.

There truly is something for everyone at Woodleigh.

It just won’t be a secret for much longer.

 

Park Colonial

At up-and-coming Park Colonial, enjoy a relaxed, modern colonial-inspired lifestyle at the city fringe, minutes away from the Central Business District and just five stops from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. The best connectivity is available here, with Woodleigh MRT station on the North East Line (NEL) – soon to be a new integrated transport hub – conveniently at your doorstep, and Serangoon MRT interchange station on the NEL and Circle Line only one stop away.