Sarah Fox has lived in Kentish Town all her life, and – after summer jobs at the Lido, and waitressing at the Bull & Last – is now settled quite nicely thank you in Gospel Oak. She graduated from Edinburgh College Of Art last year and is a designer at the Mother Agency. A self-confessed NW5 junkie, here’s her personal Top 10 guide to the area.
1. The 24 Bus Route
It’s too easy to live in London and not actually have visited the main tourist attractions. If you want to avoid the crowds and see most of London’s main landmarks for the price of a bus fare, hop on the 24. It’ll pick you up on Malden Road and head past Queen’s Crescent’s arch straight down to Camden Lock, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. The sights rival the open topped tour buses but for the price of a return fare. It really is Kentish Town’s personal tourist bus. £2.80 return on your Oyster card.
I have been known to go to my lovely local Italian three times in one week, lured in by the inexpensive grub. In fact, I haven’t found a pizza that rivals theirs this side of Italy. From the classics to the more experimental house special with salmon and avocado, they’ve got it covered. £5.95 for the beer and a pizza deal.
3. Whitestone Pond Observatory
Everyone loves stargazing. From couples to kids, there’s something so enchanting about a starry night sky. Head to The Observatory at Whitestone Pond and have a peak through the 6” telescope. Dating back from 1909, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and the Moon’s mountains have all been spotted. Open on Friday and Saturday night from September–April. Sundays from 11am-1pm to see the sun. Free
4. Zumba at Expressions
Inevitably, everyone is still trying to stick to some ill-advised diet for another week or two. Sod that and work off the festive fat with an hour of Zumba at Expressions. Dance to J-lo and Gangnam Style with fellow fat-burners spanning from teens to seniors. There’s no room for embarrassment here. The dance teacher’s figure is all the thinspiration you will ever need. £8. Monday 8-9pm Wednesday 7-8pm
5. Sing-a-long Sundays at The Grafton
You can’t beat January blues better than with a good old sing-song around a piano. And on Sunday evenings at The Grafton, everyone crowds around to belt out popular songs: expect Robbie’s Angel’s and Bohemian Rhapsody. But no pressure, just join in when you know the words. Yes, that’s right, a pub that actually encourages merry singing. Wet your whistle with a Bloody Mary for £6.50 and if you time it right, you might be there when they dish out the left over roast spuds and yorkies.
6. Art Walk
How often do you actually take the NW5 art trail? Start at Flaxon Ptootch, where these pics by Lupen Crook are currently on display, then walk down Angler’s Lane to the Beardsmore for some fine art, before turning right up Grafton Road to world-famous photographer Rankin’s Annroy gallery. End up at the Zabludowicz Collection, where, if you time it right tomorrow, there are lots of talks and free events. All Free (although we advise a coffee and cake stop at The Fields Beneath, around £5).
7. The Everyman Cinema
Ok, so this one just hops over the border into NW3, but isn’t the finest way to spend a wintry Sunday afternoon watching a good old classic movie on the sofa? Well, the Everyman Belsize Park, always a joy to visit with its stylish interior (it’s currently boasting a Les Mis theme) has read our minds and offers a monthly deal where a tenner will buy you a seat on one of their comfy sofas in front of a classic Hitchcock, for example. £10 Last Sunday of every month.
8. Happy Hour at Shebeen
For those wanting to party this month, head to Kentish Town’s increasingly renowned speakeasy (it’s just been awarded Grazia’s ‘Best North London Cocktail Bar’, and features in easyJet’s in-flight magazine this month too). It’s cosy and candle lit but if Christmas hasn’t done your bank balance any favours, get there early and enjoy two for one from 5.30 – 7.30pm. £7ish for 2 cocktails during Happy Hour.
9. Talacre Football Pitches
Kickoff the New Year with a game of footie with the lads – or ladies if you felt inspired by Team GB Women’s Olympic success. Talacre Sports Centre has a 5-a side indoor pitch and a 7-a side outdoor pitch, perhaps best saved for when it gets slightly warmer. Both can be hired for £87, which when split by both teams is a few pounds each, with enough change to go for a post match pint. £6.20 when 14 people split a 7-a side pitch. Book 1 week in advance. 9am-10pm 7 days a week
10. Kite Hill
This weekend we’re all set for deep snow but you could still take the kids or just yourself and kite up to Parliament Hill. If the little bugger gets caught in a tree, settle down on a bench and play I Spy with London’s landmarks. Afterwards, shelter in Houspresso, the tiny coffee shop by Gospel Oak station. Tomorrow, though, I anticipate toboggan jams everywhere. Yikes. Free/£2.50 with a drink from Houspresso
Have you got a personal Top 10? Email us with your list at firstname.lastname@example.org