Introducing North London
The leafier parts of North London are civil, cultivated, polished and polite. They not only imbue a sense of comfort but also one of intellectual freedom and liberal leanings.
It was the heights of the hills to the north of the city that first attracted well-off Londoners, trying to escape the noise and dirt in town. And there are still plenty of green lungs here, from the giant Hampstead Heath, to the bijoux Primrose Hill, attracting runners, lovers, families and foragers. At Highgate Cemetery, crowd-pullers like Karl Marx, Douglas Adams and Malcolm Maclaren rest in peaceful surroundings, with pilgrims trekking here daily. Quaint pubs abound, from the hidden gem The Holly Bush in Hampstead to the Island Queen in Islington, while wine bars and local restaurants keep inhabitants fed and watered happily enough to stop them from straying into the centre of London.
It might be arguable whether King’s Cross is actually in North London, but it at least provides one of its borders. This is one of the biggest regeneration areas in London, with a new buzz all its own. Eurostar travellers sip Krug Clos de Mesnil at the Champagne Bar, globetrotting lovers of Gothic architecture quaff ale in pewter tankards at the St Pancras Hotel, and local foodies indulge in neon-drenched, canal-side gourmet burgers at Shrimpys and Caravan.
Add to this the independent theatres that line Upper Street - the Almeida and King’s Head - celeb-filled boutiques offering select shopping in Primrose Hill, and canal-side walks passing London Zoo and Camden Market, and you get some idea of what the locals are quite so smug about.