19. Caledonian Park

Caledonian Park tower. Photo: Stephen Emms

Caledonian Park tower. Photo: Stephen Emms

Caledonian Park – and its majestic tower – is one of north London’s most atmospheric and underrated spots. Once a pleasure resort and tea garden called Copenhagen House, in 1855 the site was redeveloped as the Metropolitan Cattle Market. Slaughter houses were close by, and the whole site was enclosed by railings, the columns of which were topped with cast iron heads of the animals traded. At each corner, rowdy market pubs provided accommodation and entertainment for folk visiting: The Lion, The Lamb, The White Horse and The Black Bull. Today, three of the four remain (as posh flats) and, with the clock tower, are listed structures. Caledonian Park was structured in 1970 and planted with woodland. There’s currently a battle with Islington council to “save” the park from an unsightly new café and community space.

20. The new bit of Talacre Gardens

The extension looking very leafy indeed, May 2015. Photo: SE

The extension looking very leafy indeed, May 2015. Photo: SE

A few weeks ago, the western perimeter of Kentish Town’s underrated park was expanded on to previously unused ground on Talacre Road. The result? More trees and paths are now included, its effect surprisingly bucolic. Once the park gets a much-needed ‘dogs-on-leads’ policy, it will well and truly be the calm space it should be. Prince of Wales Road NW5

21. The churchyard of St Mary Magdalene

Head south-east from Kentish Town towards Highbury and you’ll pass by one of the finest early 19th century churches in London, situated in pleasingly shady gardens that have been restored in recent years. Nearby is Freightliners City Farm, an urban oasis dating back to the 1970s and now home to goats, rare breed pigs and lambs. Holloway Road, London N7

22. Bintang

This longstanding lower Kentish Town Road pan-Asian joint is candle-lit and cosy during the winter months, but there’s a totally different atmosphere in the spacious backyard once the sun’s out. Graffitied walls, sharing tables, a covered area and proper party vibe are the backdrop to the good-value sharing plates and BYO booze action. Try the wasabi prawn tempura, piled high with cod roe. Yum. 93 Kentish Town Road NW1

23. Arancini Brothers

Outside Arancini Brothers. Photo: SE

Outside Arancini Brothers. Photo: SE

A couple of years ago the owners of the hit local café cleaned up the backyard, whipped out the astroturf, and constructed more of that thriftily utilitarian (if slightly strange) plywood furniture. There’s the odd tree and a pungent bed of herbs or two, and the estate looming behind the branches. It’s juxtaposition, in the true Kentish Town way, and it works, a balmy place to enjoy their 100% arabica beaned expresso. 115a Kentish Town Road NW1

24. Athlone House grounds

With views of one of London’s finest Victorian piles (currently holding out against its proposed redevelopment) this blissful north-eastern corner of the Heath is a far cry from the weekend madness of the Ponds, or busy Kenwood House. Relax on the secluded lawn area, or admire the rhododendrons. You never know: you may even have it to yourself.

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