Crouch End overview
What's it all about?
The vibrancy of Crouch End can be witnessed by watching locals hurry along the tree lined streets that converge at the red brick clock tower that marks the heart of the Broadway. Whether stopping off for coffee at one of the many cafes or taking the dog for a walk in Alexandra Park, the vitality of Crouch End gives its residents much to be proud of. Food shopping and restaurant options abound, locals are never short of exotic dining options. This culinary abundance means there’s no need to travel into central London and the lack of Underground station simply adds to the area’s village like feel. Crouch End has long been a hive of creativity, with some estimates suggesting 40 per cent of residents are employed in the creative industries. Packed with attractive architecture, good schools, lively shopping streets and leafy surrounding parks, this pocket of Haringey borough is thriving, and shows no signs of declining in popularity.
- Bob Dylan used to be spotted in Crouch End, where he came to record at The Church Studios on Crouch Hill. Urban legend has it that he dined at Banner’s restaurant, where there is now a plaque commemorating his visit.
- The striking red brick clock tower at the centre of Crouch End Broadway was erected in memory of local politician Henry Reader Williams (1822-97). He worked tirelessly to preserve the character of Crouch End and saved Highgate Wood from development.
- Crouch End is home to celebrities including actors Tamzin Outhwaite, Simon Pegg and James McAvoy, and columnist Caitlin Moran.
Architecture and property
In the late 19th century Crouch End was dominated by a few sprawling villas, including the impressive Crouch Hall. The arrival of the railway had a big impact on the area and – somewhat ironically, given its lack of an Underground station today – there were seven railway stations in the area by 1887. This prompted a surge in suburban house building, with architect John Farrer responsible for the handsome Edwardian red brick houses in the east of the area, particularly along Cecile Park, which remains one of the most desirable addresses here. Surrounding areas were badly damaged in World War II but Crouch End managed to retain a large quantity of period properties, which comprise the majority of its property market today either as houses or conversions. The area continues to be popular with young families and professional couples, and is also seeing a rise in the number of buy-to-let investors taking advantage of its perennial popularity.
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Eating out: Crouch End has a range of options, with restaurant choices including everything from Thai to Caribbean, Japanese to Indian. Any local will tell you that Banner’s is the place to go for a family meal, while Bistro Aix serves fine French food and Tootoomoo does an unbeatable beef rendang. Bar Esteban offers delicious tapas and weekend brunch. Specialising in rare breed meats, Heirloom is an excellent dinner option and they also grow their own vegetables on a farm in Buckinghamshire. Whether you want to indulge with French toast, or keep things simple with a yogurt and muesli jar, the award winning Haberdashery is best for brunch. Cafe Beam on Topsfield Close have a vast breakfast menu, as well as sandwiches, wraps and salads on offer. Cannons traditional fish and chip shop located in both Crouch End and Southgate.
Drinking: The King’s Head pub not only offers great food and beer, but also runs hugely popular comedy and quiz nights. Its comedy club is one of the oldest in Britain, and has seen some top names take to its stage, including Al Murray and Rowan Atkinson. The spacious and relaxed ex British Legion social club Earl Haig Hall offers real ales alongside a comfort food menu and runs regular live music nights as well as ‘babyjazz’ parent and child sessions during the day. The Queen's Pub on Broadway Parade is a Victorian pub that offers up modern pub grub.
Culture: ArtHouse Crouch End is a lovely boutique cinema housed in what was once a Salvation Army Hall that runs ‘babes in arms’ showings, a kids’ club and regular special events and Q&A sessions. The annual Crouch End Festival in June showcases the area’s artistic talents with art exhibitions, poetry and spoken word, historical talks, plays and choir performances. Alexandra Palace hosts events, music performances and other cultural events year round.
- Crouch Enders have their pick of supermarkets, with Waitrose, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and Budgens all centrally located within the shadow of the clock tower.
- Locals take advantage of the many excellent Turkish grocery stores in the area. Walter Purkis & Sons is excellent for fresh seafood and fish smoked on the premises. Join the queues at Gail’s bakery for delicious homemade loaves and pastries, or head to the family run Dunn’s bakery for cakes and buns.
- Chain coffee shops, such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, are well represented on the Broadway, but those in the know grab an expertly made espresso from the independent Coffee Circus on Crouch Hill.
- Hornsey Library is home to two art galleries, The Original Gallery and The Promenade Gallery, as well as the Community and Youth Music Library, with its extensive collection of musical scores.
- Crouch End Picturehouse cinema shows all the latest films and documentaries.
- Fitness junkies are at home in Crouch End, with its several gyms including a Virgin Active and Park Road Pools and Fitness. If you're looking to tr something different, head to The Pilates Place or Yogacentric, a hot yoga studio.
Crouch End locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor space, as the area is surrounded on every side with acres of parkland. A short bus ride away, among Alexandra Park’s 196 acres of woodland you’ll find a boating lake, Sunday farmers’ market, pitch and putt course, skate park and ice rink. The park also has breathtaking views across London – on a clear day it’s possible to see as far as Crystal Palace. If this isn’t enough, the park is also home to Alexandra Palace – ‘Ally Pally’ to locals – with its busy schedule of exhibitions and events. Residents can also enjoy the amenities offered by several other local parks, such as an adventure playground at Queen’s Wood, the walks in Highgate Wood, the paddling pools and sports facilities of Priory Park, and the tennis courts at Stationers Park. Keen ramblers delight in the 4.5 mile Parkland Walk between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. Tracing the course of the old railway line, the path is a nature reserve and a haven for plants and wildlife.
The Chimes Terrace development, a few minutes from Crouch End’s clock tower, has revitalised and updated this part of Tottenham Lane. Made up of nine new eco friendly houses, the homes are modern and sophisticated, each boasting their own garden and roof terrace.
Rail: Although Crouch End doesn’t have its own Underground station, it is well served by trains from Hornsey and Crouch Hill. Trains from Hornsey take 20 minutes to Moorgate but only run on weekdays.
Overground: Harringay Green Lanes Overground station takes you west towards Hampstead Heath and east towards Barking. Kings Cross St Pancras is 35 minutes away.
Bus: Several buses connect Crouch End to Central London, as well as to other areas of North London. Buses include numbers 41 (to Archway) and 91 (to Trafalgar Square). The W5 and W7 serve Archway, Muswell Hill, and Finsbury Park, which is on the Piccadilly and Victoria lines. Crouch End has two night buses: N41 and N91.
Cycle: Crouch End is approximately a 45 minute cycle from London Bridge.
The schools in Crouch End are a key reason for the high proportion of families living in the area. Primary schools include Coleridge Primary School, Weston Park Primary School, Rokesly Junior School, the Catholic St Gildas’ Junior School and St Aidan’s Voluntary Controlled Primary in nearby Stroud Green. Crouch End also boasts several local secondary schools, including Hornsey School for Girls, Highgate Wood, the Greig City Academy and Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls. Kestrel House School on Crouch Hill is a small independent school for children with autism.
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