Kentish Town Area Guide
With a 12 hour and 59 minute walk from Kent – despite the name – Kentish town is not a great place for commuters to Maidstone. However, Kentish Town is excellent for travelling to central London on a regular basis as it sits just north of Camden Town, and only three tube stops from King’s Cross St. Pancras station. Once a settlement on the bank of the river Fleet, and a notorious stomping ground for highwaymen, it is now a vibrant centre of culture and leisure, sharing much of the charm of neighbouring Camden. Though its river and highway men are long buried, it has retained a lot of its history including three famous grade II listed Victorian pubs and an ancient heath.
If you’re a fan of the energy and colour of Camden, but don’t want to push past tourists on your way to work every morning, Kentish Town offers more of a residential alternative with its colourful rows of Victorian terrace houses, local schools, and easy access to green spaces. It is therefore not surprising that it boasts an impressive history of celebrity residents such as Groucho Marx, Akala, Charles Dance, and Karl Marx.
Kentish Town to Kings Cross: 7 minutes, Northern line.
Kentish Town to Camden Town: 2 minutes, Northern Line.
Kentish Town to Victoria: 16 minutes, Northern and Victoria line.
Kentish Town to Westminster: 21 minutes, Northern and Jubilee Line.
Kentish Town to Canon Street: 21 minutes, Northern Line.
Kentish Town to City Thameslink: 11 minutes, Thameslink.
Kentish Town to Kings Cross: 6 minutes, Thameslink.
Kentish Town to Camden Town: 15 minutes, route 134.
Kentish Town to King’s Cross: 22 minutes, route 214.
Average rental price
1 bed: £1,769 pcm
2 bed: £3,148 pcm
3 bed: £4,997 pcm
4 bed: £6,626 pcm
Home.co.uk as of 21/10/2019
To be paid to The London Borough of Camden Council, see more information at: https://www.camden.gov.uk/council-tax
There are several options for primary, secondary, and post 16 education. Its most popular and recommended primary school is Eleanor Palmer Primary, which has received an ‘outstanding’ from its most recent Ofsted visit. A notable secondary school in the area is Camden School for Girls, which was one of the first ever girls’ schools in England and has never dipped below ‘outstanding’ in any Ofsted report it has received. Elfrida Rathbone college is also in Kentish Town and offers post 16 education for students that require SEND provisions.
Life in Kentish town
There’s no shortage of things to do, with a healthy amount of pubs, and a huge venue hosting world famous acts. Situated in NW1, it’s just a short hop away from anything you’d want to do in the centre of London, however, with all the delights along Kentish Town Road, locals often choose to socialise and eat on their doorstep (figuratively speaking). But it isn’t just the ideal place for partying and socialising, it also has a side to it which is somewhat quainter. Below are a few of the best places to eat, drink, and visit in Kentish Town.
Culture and leisure
Previously an art-deco cinema, the forum was converted into a music venue in 1993 and has since hosted some of the biggest names in the music world. Acts that have played in the forum include Nina Simone, Radiohead and Oasis. The venue itself is a marvel, with its faux classical friezes lining the top of its interior walls, and its huge, grand stage. It’s a place where many special moments in musical history have happened and it’s definitely worth checking what’s on if you’re in the area.
Hampstead Heath is a huge park in North West London. The closest area of the Heath to Kentish Town is Parliament Hill, from which there are views of much of London, including St Paul's Cathedral and Canary Wharf. The park itself is ancient and as such is steeped in history, notably including the rumoured resting place of Queen Boudicca, and an ancient woodland. If you’re a keen – and brave – swimmer, the park also has an open-air swimming pond available at certain times of the year.
Kentish town sports centre is a great example of how the area doesn’t just cater to leisure but living as well. Not only a stunning example of the beautiful old architecture in the area (built 1898), it offers excellent resources for the people who live and work in Kentish Town. It has 3 pools, a gym, a wide variety of fitness classes, and facilitates many children’s activities. Currently operated by the charity ‘Better’, its services are affordable, and as a result it remains a very important place for the local community.
Food and drink
With a pub with a name like ‘The Pineapple’, you might expect an ultra-modern, glossy, central London cocktail bar, however in this case you would be very wrong. The over 100-year-old establishment is a cosy, traditional pub that serves a great range of drinks including beer sourced locally from Camden Town Brewery. As well as the regulars, with its proximity to the O2 forum you’ll often find music fans there, and as a result the place is rarely empty. It also offers an affordable menu of Thai food. If you’re walking around Kentish Town, you won’t miss it: it’s the bright blue building with the pineapple sign.
Formally known as Gulshaan, Babuji is a longstanding favourite for Kentish Town locals. Serving its take on South Indian street food, recommended dishes include their signature ‘Garaam Grills’: a selection of beautifully marinated meats or paneer, chargrilled to perfection. The décor is sleek and modern, but the flower strands and tiled floors of the interior also pay homage to its Indian roots. Babuji also offers a lot of vegan friendly options, catering for all.
Looking at the shop front for Anima e Cuore, and then looking at the food they produce in there, you might think there has been some kind of mistake. This place truly bears testament to the phrase, ‘don’t judge a book… etc’. Often cited as ‘Kentish Town’s best kept secret’, Anima e Cuore is an unassuming and inexpensive Italian restaurant on Kentish Town Road. The chefs there have worked in several top restaurants around the world, however they strive to be homely and inviting. The signature tuna tartare, avocado cream and cucumber sorbet is a must try.
Is Kentish Town for you?
The area is a mix of the quiet life (though only a little), and central London life, which doesn’t always come cheap, however if you’re looking for somewhere that does both, Kentish Town is definitely the place for you. As ever there are reasonably priced properties to rent coming onto the market throughout the year, just keep your eye out. It’s great for creatives, professionals, and their families. There’s no shortage of things to do, and if you’re going to be in the city a lot the commute is negligible.