Where to live in London – Muswell Hill area guide

Muswell Hill area guide

Muswell Hill proudly stands between Alexandra Palace and Highgate Woods in the green and leafy borough of Haringey and its high position means it commands far reaching views across the capital. With a bustling Broadway, red brick Edwardian housing and superb local schools, this is one of the most sought after suburbs in north London.

Living in Muswell Hill

Popular with families, once people have found Muswell Hill they tend to stay upsizing from a flat to a house. As well as professionals, this sought after suburb attracts creative and media people – actors, artists, journalists and musicians. Smart singles and young couples often move from areas like Islington to be close to the Broadway.

Top five Muswell Hill features

  1. Great local schools – there are six outstanding primary schools and two outstanding secondary schools
  2. The lively social scene on Muswell Hill Broadway with bars, cafes and restaurants
  3. Green spaces and spectacular views
  4. Good local (and child friendly) shops and delis
  5. An all day and night bus service connecting with the West End

The best of Muswell Hill

Muswell Hill is a great place to live with its busy shopping centre along the Broadway and Fortis Green Road, but with a distinctly village feel.  A weekly farmers’ market - attracting between 30 and 50 producers - is held every Sunday. There is a good mix of chain stores, independent specialist shops and cafés including:

  • Marks & Spencer, Sainsburys and Planet Organic
  • W Martyn - a traditional specialist in tea and coffee and ‘fine foods’ since 1897 - quaint with a marvellous aroma of shop-roasted coffee
  • Walter Purkis fishmonger - the family owners have been supplying food in and around London for nearly two centuries - much of the smoked fish sold through the shops is smoked in the century old smoke house at the rear of another of their shops in Crouch End
  • Muswell Hill Bookshop on Fortis Green Road - part of a small independent chain in North London and open seven days a week
  • Sally Bourne Interiors - a huge variety of paints, wallpapers, fabrics, Sally's own range of handmade tiles, interiors accessories and antiques
  • Space.NK - apothecary
  • Maison Blanc – French bakery shop

Time out in Muswell Hill

  • The Odeon cinema - Grade II* listed building that has retained its art deco features
  • London’s only permanent theatre in the round, the Orange Tree Theatre is in Muswell Hill
  • The Muswell Hill Market is a monthly arts and crafts event with a pop-up tea room in The Village Pub on the Broadway
  • From the terraces of Alexandra Palace - breathtaking views over most of the capital - hosts conferences, rock concerts, a variety of events and exhibitions
  • Feast on the Hill – locals flock to this café and deli, especially for the weekend brunch
  • Toffs - award-winning fish and chip shop
  • Muswell Hill tennis club attracts a good crowd for competitive and friendly games
  • Carluccios and Giraffe are especially child-friendly
  • Great selection of bars and pubs including the impressive gastro pub The Victoria Stakes,  The Raglan on Queens Avenue, The Clissold Arms and there’s even a local nightclub, Fifty Six

Parklife

  • Alexandra Park - the seven acre “Ally Pally” is surrounded by 196 acres of beautiful parkland and grounds that have a pub and restaurant, a boating lake, pitch and putt course, deer enclosure, rose garden  and amazing views across London
  • Highgate Wood – 70 acres of ancient woodland 
  • Queen’s Wood - an ancient oak-hornbeam woodland that doesn’t have a park or playing fields but does have a children's adventure playground 
  • Coldfall Wood - an ancient wood
  • Parkland Walk - a four and a half mile walk in a designated nature reserve between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. The Walk connects Finsbury Park, Stroud Green, Crouch Hill, Highgate, Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace and is a haven for plants and wildlife

Education in Muswell Hill

Families want to live here because of the great local schools and because of this, properties within catchment areas demand a premium.

There are some excellent nurseries, including the Montessori.

For primary schools, there are six with ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted ratings: Tetherdown, Rhodes Avenue, Coldfall, Muswell Hill Primary and St James’.

For secondary education, both Fortismere and Alexandra Park are judged by Ofsted to be “Outstanding”.

For private education, there is Norfolk House, Highgate School for boys and Channing School for girls.

Local facts

  • The name Muswell stems from a natural spring - the "Mossy Well" - which was said to have miraculous properties
  • In 1936 Alexandra Palace, known affectionately as “Ally Pally”, became the headquarters of the world's first regular public 'high definition’ television service, operated by the BBC. The Alexandra Palace television station was located on the site and its iconic radio tower is still in use
  • Also in Alexandra Park, horse racing took place from 1868 to 1970 in London's only racecourse which was nicknamed "The Frying Pan" from its distinctive layout. As recently as 1999 plans were being put forward for its re-opening
  • Brothers Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks fame were born in Muswell Hill and made their first public performance at the Clissold Arms pub in Fortis Green. A plaque and memorabilia at the pub celebrates their fame
  • Muswell Hill is the main setting for the 2006 'Doctor Who' episode The Idiot's Lantern

Transport

Despite being a popular place for central London commuters, Muswell Hill is not on the tube network and nor does it have an overland station. Most commuters reach London by bus - there are direct routes both to the City and the West End 24-hours a day - or else they use the nearest underground stations.

Overland trains from Alexandra Palace or Hornsey over ground take 20 minutes to Moorgate or Kings Cross.

Nearby tube stations include Highgate (Northern line), East Finchley (Northern line) and Bounds Green (Piccadilly line).

Muswell Hill is superbly connected with several bus routes, including the W7 (to Finsbury Park with its tube station on the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines), the 43 (to London Bridge via the City), the 102 (to Brent Cross stopping at East Finchley on the Northern Line) and there is a 24hour service on the 134 (to Tottenham Court Road stopping at Highgate on the Northern Line).

Property in Muswell Hill

Houses here are predominantly Edwardian with some Victorian, some 1920s and 1930s and lots of flats and large houses with good sized gardens.  Because of high demand for family homes properties that once were converted into flats are now being restored to their former glory as large, spacious family homes. In recent years there have been some new housing developments on small brownfield sites, as much of the area falls within a Conservation Area, they are generally Edwardian in style.

 

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