Are you living in North London or just coming for a visit? Take advantage of these fantastic things to do in North London including Camden, Highgate, Hampstead and more.
North London is a beautiful (slightly upscale) residential area; however, few spots are worth visiting there. Having lived in North London in the last two years, I managed to discover a lot of great locations and things to do in North London. In this post, I wanted to share these spots with you!
Before we start, let’s clear a couple of things first.
What is in North London?
If you’re wondering, what’s North London, it’s generally defined as the area North of Central London, with N-postcodes as well as some NW and NE postcodes. In London, there is a clear separation between North and South thanks to River Thames. Some people say that South London is everything north of the River, while North London is, well, north of the River. However, that would make Soho North London, which it is not.
Even Wikipedia says that North London is informally and inexactly defined.
North London consists of the Boroughs of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey, but there is also Waltham Forest and parts Islighton that are North-East and Central (in case of Islington), but I will include them in this post as well.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Amazing things to do in North London: from Camden to Hampstead and more!
Enjoy the markets and the Rock’n’roll and punk vibes in Camden Town.
If you could only visit one place in North London, head to Camden Town. Camden Town is a bit rough and not very manicured, but it has its charm, and it also has a lot of history, especially if you’re into rock music. Many famous rock bands performed in pubs and bars (and other venues) of Camden Town. However, the most popular venue is the Roundhouse – that’s where Pink Floyd, the Doors have performed in the past.
Also, punk has become very popular in Camden, and you can buy a lot of punk clothes and accessories at the Camden market.
Even if you’re not into rock, Camden is worth visiting. The market in Camden has gone through a lot of changes recently and not you can find everything there, from vintage clothes to designer things. Also, Camden Town has incredible unique house facades. Just come to take a look yourself!
Also, Camden is very close to the city centre (some people still call it the city centre) and it’s a perfect place to start your self-guided North London tour.
Another fabulous place to visit in North London is Primrose Hill. Located just about 10-15 minutes walking from Camden Town or just 5 minutes walking from the Chalk Farm tube station, Primrose Hill is a charming district with colourful houses (where Paddington movie was filmed, by the way) and stunning panorama of London.
Explore the beautiful houses and cute storefronts in Hampstead (and Hampstead Heath)
Another of the best things to do in North London is exploring the leafy suburb of Hampstead. Located in zone 2 on the Northern Line (Edgware branch), Hampstead is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of London. It’s also one of the best places to live in London, and it’s not surprising why it’s so expensive.
Hampstead is beautiful. The best thing you can do in Hampstead is just walk around and explore the beautiful streets, charming storefronts, try the best crepes in London and wander around the Hampstead Heath (you can see a fantastic panorama of London from the Hampstead Heath). Here are some of the most beautiful places in Hampstead.
Explore the Kenwood House
Right at the edge of Hampstead Heath, you can find the Kenwood House. Kenwood House was built in the 17th century, and it was a residence of the Earls of Mansfield. The house has stunning interiors, and it’s an amazing hidden gem to visit in North London. Moreover, the entrance is free! Why not enjoy this gorgeous palace-like house?
Walk London’s billionaires’ row
Bishop’s avenue is one of the world’s most opulent streets where the richest of London live. The avenue connects Hampstead Heath with East Finchley, and you can freely walk there and observe some of the most impressive mansions in the entire UK.
Another great place to explore in North London is Highgate, one of London’s most underestimated areas. When I talk about Highgate, Londoners generally have no clue where it is and what to do there. Highgate is often overlooked in favour of famous Hampstead, located in a similar place on the other branch of the Northern Line. The centre of Highgate is the charming Highgate village. One of my favourite places in Highgate is the Highgate Cemetery – a stunning cemetery with the views over London and the grave of Karl Marx. Also, another fabulous spot in Highgate is Waterlow park – this hilly park has impressive views over Canary Wharf and East London.
If you’re looking for small quirky shops, head to Muswell Hill – one of the commercial centres of the North London. As I live between East Finchley and Muswell Hill, I love coming to Muswell Hill just to walk around, do some shopping and visit a couple of restaurants. One of my favourite things about Muswell Hill is the abundance of different restaurants, coffee spots and other places to grab a bite.
If you feel like you haven’t found what you were looking for in Muswell Hill, you can head to Crouch End, where there are also plenty of independent restaurants and bakeries. It’s just a short walk down from Muswell Hill.
One of the best things to do in North London is Alexandra Palace – a huge concert venue with a park overlooking London. Many concerts and shows are held at Alexandra Palace, and it’s also home to one of London’s biggest ice skating rinks. Alexandra Park is also home to multiple fun fairs (usually in summer) and the best 4th of November fireworks happen at the Alexandra Palace as well.
If it’s the village feel you’re after, head to High Barnet – there are a couple of historical spots and ancient pubs (from the 16th century). If you’re into walking, you can walk to Mill Hill and some beautiful countryside (you won’t believe you’re in London).
Hidden walk from Highgate to Finsbury Park – Parkland Walk
One of North London’s hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path spots is the walk from Highgate to Finsbury Park. It follows the path of the old railway and sometimes you even pass old abandoned platforms, which is pretty unique. The walk takes about 40-45 minutes, and it’s pretty remarkable. Many people (including myself) use it for running, as it’s a lovely place to run, but walking is also a good option, especially just before the sunset.
Royal Airforce Museum
One of North London’s best museums is the Royal Airforce museum located close to Hendon. Hendon used to have an aerodrome and a small airport, however, it was converted to a museum. The entrance is free, and quite a few events are happening at the museum. If you’re interested in planes and the history of aviation, this is the best place for you to visit!
Walthamstow is often attributed to East London; however, at it’s kind of far in the North, on the same level as East Finchley and Highgate, I decided to include it in this post. Walthamstow is an up and coming area, very fun and multicultural. At the heart of Walthamstow, you can find the charming Walthamstow village, that has plenty of cute shops and places to eat. There are also many unique and fun places nearby like God’s Own Junkyard. I will talk about it in the next paragraph.
God’s Own Junkyard
It’s hard to describe what exactly is God’s Own Junkyard – it’s a mix between a cafe, museum and an art space. I featured it in my guide to the best hidden gems and alternative places in London – it’s one of its kind place. It’s often hard to find a seat inside, but there are plenty of places to visit nearby (e.g. gin bars etc.). However, God’s Own Junkyard is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in North London.
One of the last things I wanted to feature in this guide to North London is the Arsenal Stadium – the stadium of one of London’s best football clubs, Arsenal. It’s located near the Arsenal tube station, and it’s a lovely landmark by itself. You can buy a guided tour to see the stadium or simply buy a ticket to watch a match – either way, it’s a very impressive stadium that is definitely worth visiting in North London.
Asian indoor street food market in Colindale
Finally, the last but not least of the things to do in North London is the Asian street food market located in Colindale. If you’re a foodie and you have a great interest in Asian food, you will be delighted – there are over 50 stalls from different cuisines in Asia, from Indian to Philippine food. I can’t say that I was very impressed by the food, but I only tried food from 2 stalls. I know people who love this place, so make sure to see for yourself, whether it’s your cup (noodle) of tea.
Summary of the best things to do in North London: from Camden to Highgate
I hope you enjoyed this post about the best activities and things to do in North London. There are, of course, more things to do in North London, and as months go by, I will add more unique and exciting things that I will explore in London. In case you’d like me to add an activity, please write down in the comments below.