North West London overview
Leafy village neighbourhoods bordering urban parkland
Cultural landmarks, historic properties and impressive parks make life in North West London the epitome of cosmopolitan village living. Intellectuals and creatives have been flocking here for centuries.
With the landscaped gardens of Regent’s Park, views of London from Primrose Hill, and the wilds, ponds and pools of Hampstead Heath, North West London boasts some of the Capital’s most loved parkland. Meanwhile, cultural and sporting hotspots abound. Here you’ll find Lord’s Cricket Ground and London Zoo, as well as the Everyman Cinema, Hampstead Theatre and Regent’s Park’s beautiful mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre. Attractive local high streets and excellent schools attract families, professional couples and celebrities, and St John’s Wood in particular has international appeal. Sandwiched in the middle, Swiss Cottage and Finchley provide the practical amenities – think Waitrose, Odeon and Fitness First – but there's also a great selection of delis, an independent cinema and the outdoor fitness facilities on Hampstead Heath. This part of London is a haven for anyone seeking to escape the city without actually leaving it, with its handful of village neighbourhoods scattered about. From the elegant villa style housing and wide leafy streets of Belsize Park, to the Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts homes of West Hampstead, property here is prized. It’s centrally located too – just a quick stroll through Regent's Park or a short Tube ride to Bond Street. Although not as grand as its counterparts, West Hampstead, with its stock of handsome townhouses and period conversions, has seen a renaissance in recent years with an active local community and vibrant high street. Steeles Village, Primrose Hill Village and Hampstead Village are all appealing nearby options.
Markets and music
Camden Town • Kentish Town
To the east lies Camden Town, once the least desirable area of this collection of North West London neighbourhoods with a world famous cast of colourful characters and boisterous music venues. These days an organic supermarket and Gordon Ramsay restaurant have nudged their way onto the scene, and formerly rundown townhouses have been done up to a fine standard. Its buzzing canal side markets and quirky outlook mean Camden Town, and latterly Kentish Town, will never lose their edge, but these areas now attract families and City professionals as well as artists, students and musicians.
Brondesbury • Golders Green • Kensal Green • Kilburn • Queens Park • Willesden
On the western edge of this part of London, a collection of low key but trendy bars, galleries and shops stretch along Chamberlayne Road, including Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, The Shop, The Chamberlayne and the independent Lexi Cinema. A strong local community has formed around the street, giving Kensal Rise and Kensal Green a youthful energy. The area has a distinctly bohemian vibe borrowed from neighbouring Ladbroke Grove, and although residents class themselves as West Londoners, it remains an NW postcode. This feeling extends to Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park, where there's a strong community spirit and local webpage, The Rise Guide. They share several parks, including Paddington Old Cemetery, Kilburn Grange Park and Queens Park itself. Further north lie Willesden and Golders Green, which, like much of North West London, are known for their longstanding Jewish communities.