Kentish Town Area Guide

Less than four miles north of central London, Kentish Town sits between Chalk Farm to the west, Holloway to the east, Camden Town to the south and Highgate to the north, with the 800 acres of Hampstead Heath within walking distance.

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Residents in NW5 tend to be young professionals or couples commuting to work in the West End or the City, who favour the area for its quiet streets, great transport connections and its proximity to the vast open spaces of Hampstead Heath.

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Kentish Town History

The most widely accepted explanation of the name of Kentish Town is that it derived from 'Ken-ditch' meaning the 'bed of a waterway'. Kentish Town was originally a settlement along the River Fleet that once flowed through the area, and today runs underground. Kentish Town is first recorded during the reign of King John (1207) as kentisston. By 1456 Kentish Town was recognised as a thriving hamlet.

The early 19th century brought modernisation, causing much of the area's rural charm - including the River Fleet and the 18th century buildings - to vanish. Pockets still remain, however, and Little Green Street is a fantastic example of period charm. Kentish Town was a prime site for development as the Kentish Town Road was a major route from London northwards. Probably its most famous resident was Karl Marx, who lived at 46 Grafton Terrace from 1856.

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Schools & Transport

Bars and restaurants

Kentish Town has always been noted for its pubs and bars. The music scene can be traced back to the 'Tally Ho'- a former jazz pub, while other venues including The Bull and Gate hosted early performances by Blur, The Housemartins, The Libertines and Coldplay, amongst others.

In more recent years the area has become noted as leading the trend for 'back-to-basics' and real ale pubs, like the CAMRA award-winning Southampton Arms, The Pineapple and Tapping the Admiral, which was the CAMRA North London Pub of the Year in 2013. Many of these are stocked with keg and bottled beers from the Camden Town Brewery, located in the arches under Kentish Town West London Overground station. A new bar opened on the brewery premises in March 2012.

Kentish Town has come a long way up in the gastronomy stakes since the area was known for cheap chippies and best-avoided boozers. The Bull & Last is regularly regarded as one of the capital’s best gastropubs, while Pizza East, Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger turned a single building into a cathedral of high-class fast food. Coffee has raised its game with The Fields Beneath and Two Doors Down. Te Amo and E. Mono keep customers happy with kebabs that are far too good to be used as alcohol-absorbers. And Anima e Cuore, a tiny space in the lower reaches of Kentish Town Road, serves some of the best Italian cooking in town.

Commuting from Kentish Town

Kentish Town has its own tube station (Northern line) with trains to the City and West End. Kentish Town train station is on the Thameslink line, with trains to Farringdon (9 minutes) and Blackfriars. Kentish Town West is on the Overground network, with trains to Highbury & Islington (connecting to the Victoria line) and Stratford. All stations are in Zone 2. The main thoroughfare for Kentish Town is the A400, just a short hop off of the A1 linking North to South.

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Kentish Town Leisure

The ever popular 800 acres of Hampstead Heath are within walking distance for those residents who crave green space to relax in. The high street is a mixture of national retail chains and independent shops, including a long-standing bookshop, several delis and organic stores.

Kentish Town is home to The Forum (formerly known as the Town and Country club) - a former cinema now a respected live music venue. In the last five years Kentish Town, and particularly West Kentish Town, has become known for its art galleries, studios and creative spaces. Most notable are Spring Studios, the Zabludowicz Collection and the Beardsmore Gallery.

For children there is the fabulous free-entry City Farm, which allows children to get closer to nature with a regular timetable of activities, pony rides, parades and seasonal festive celebrations.

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Property for sale in Kentish Town

Kentish Town's hay fields were quickly replaced with houses between 1830 and 1850, although the arrival of the railway in the 1860s saw many of the large dwellings carved up into flats and lodgings. Today's buyers are still reversing that legacy, restoring split properties into single-family homes.

Families are quick to snap up the houses and flats for sale in Kentish town as the area boasts a clutch of 'Outstanding' Ofsted rated schools, and the presence of two bilingual French schools adds a continental air in NW5.

Look hard enough (or wait long enough) and you may secure a Georgian terrace or house for sale in Kentish Town, although most of the property stock is early to mid Victorian - usually terrace in style. The area's piano making history has left a legacy of Victorian warehouses too, and these are being turned into some stunning properties.

Premium Kentish Town addresses include Queen's Crescent, Caversham Road and Leverton Street, where the colour-washed façades are reminiscent of a Mediterranean harbour. The Dartmouth Park Conservation Area continues to find favour, with large four- and five-storey residences catching the eye of the growing family.

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