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Move Over Camden Town: Top 8 Things to Do in Kentish Town

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4 months ago

Think of North London and you may think of Amy Winehouse and punks in Camden, or millionaire and celeb sightings in Highgate. But maybe you should think of Kentish Town.

Long underrated, Kentish Town has become a thriving hotbed of young professionals with an up-and-coming culinary scene. Any type of Philippine fusion restaurant you desire is located here, a city farm, an escape room, and even the biggest swingers meeting place in North London.

There is so much to fill your day with in Kentish Town – you might end up wanting to spend even more time in this vibrant neighborhood, away from the tourists and with locals. And if you’ve got a minute, we’ve got an extra special recommendation if you’re willing to walk a little bit further afield.

How to get to Kentish Town

Kentish Town does have a tube station of its own, but Kentish Town station is closed until at least September 2024. But don’t despair: Tufnell Park station is only a short walk to the heart of Kentish Town, and you’ll see plenty of our recommendations below on the stretch of Fortress Road leading from Tufnell Park station to Kentish town station.

8. Dance at a live show at the O2 Forum

The Kentish Town O2 Forum is a music venue that reminds of an old theatre. It’s located right by the Kentish Town tube station and has gigs most days a week. Check out what is on at the O2 Forum and book tickets in advance. What we love about the O2 Forum is its clever design: whether you’re in the back or down in the mosh, you’ll get an unobstructed view.

Don’t expect a state of the art venue, but do expect a local London live music experience. It’s large enough to create an amazing atmosphere, yet small enough to foster that prized intimate experience with the musicians on stage.

Local tip: Remember to check the bag restrictions before you go. They’re stricter than other venues.

7. Pat the animals at City Farm

A farm? In the middle of London? Yes! If hanging out with pigs, cows, goats, horses, chickens, quails, rabbits and donkeys is your thing, don’t miss the Kentish Town City Farm. Not only is there tons of animals to see, it’s also kind on the wallet as there is no entry fee!

The farm occupies a small space nestled between the railway lines and the surrounding residences. It’s a good place to relax, and is an unexpected oasis in the city that is the perfect place to take kids.

If you are looking for more exotic animals, London Zoo is just down the road in Regent’s Park – but you won’t be getting in there for free, unfortunately.

6. Break out of the escape room

Kentish Town boasts not one, not two, but three escape rooms – all conveniently located at MISSION:BREAKOUT. The must-try escape room is the Lost Passenger room. (Loosely) based on a true story, you will be searching for the ghost of a passenger who got off at the old Kentish Town station shortly after it closed in the early 20th century.

Of all the escape rooms in London (and there are many), we would say that this is one of the most atmospheric – and it’s scarier than expected.

5. Relax at the Pineapple

Tucked in a residential corner of Kentish Town, the Pineapple is one of the best pubs in North London and is very much worth straying from the main road. It’s still privately owned and full of that local charm which everywhere else is trying (and failing) to replicate.

But this isn’t your ordinary English pub: the menu is entirely Thai food, and it really does have some great Thai food (not the best of the best, but good, enjoyable fare). This one makes the top things to do in Kentish Town list because it combines a tasty Thai kitchen, a huge selection of craft ales and a beautiful dining space – all set within a heritage building.

The Pineapple looks deceivingly small from the outside, but it has a gorgeous dining room in a conservatory, as well as an outdoor eating area. It’s the perfect place to sit and relax with a drink.

Local tip: Go on a Tuesday for a pub quiz and Thai food but arrive early as it is always busy.

4. Drink at the original Camden Brewery

On the subject of drinking, you will have seen Camden Hells pints in every pub in London. And there’s nowhere better to drink the famous Camden Hells than the Camden Hells brewery itself. But did you know that the brewery is actually located in Kentish Town? It’s just underneath the Kentish Town West railway station, in fact.

We highly recommend the brewery tour a Camden Beer Hall. You’ll get to see the genius of the Australian founder of Camden Town Brewery, all within the suave design of the building.

Local tip: Try the unfiltered Hells lager for a particularly unique taste. They’ll be excited to hear you mention it.

3. Shop at the Charity shops

If you are hunting for a bargain in London, try charity shops over vintage shops. London has hundreds of excellent charity shops and you are sure to pick up better priced wardrobe additions in local areas than in the more pricey vintage shops in the center of town.

There’s quite a high concentration of charity shops in Kentish Town including Oxfam, the PDSA and the British Heart Foundation. Meander along Kentish Town Road and search for bargains.

If you’re looking for the best vintage shops in London, they’re to be on Brick Lane in East London.

2. Experience Rio’s

A long established fixture on Kentish Towns’ High Street, Rio’s is known as a naturist’s spa. This one isn’t quite for the faint-hearted or those looking for a casual spa experience. We highly recommend that do your research first so you know what you are getting into.

1. Stumble through the hidden bars of Kentish Town

Being so close to Camden Town, Kentish Town has become a name of its own for those seeking excellent bars in North London. We’ve rounded up the local favorites to create a mini bar crawl. We suggest the following route (all located within stumbling distance of each other):

Knowhere Special

This hidden speakeasy is so cozy you won’t want to leave. The space is dark and vibey, and you’ll always see it full of locals who want a guaranteed good cocktail.

If you’re having trouble finding the entrance, that’s by design. Knowhere Special knows they serve a special experience, so you’ll have to look out for the single door right next to the pizza shop.

Tabac Bar

Next, head to Tabac Bar for a relaxed setting complete with French fare to help soak up some of those cocktails. Like the other bars on our mini-crawl, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the O2 Forum, but, unlike the other bars, it’s much easier to get a space here (or at least get a drink and take it outside) so it’s the perfect place to go to before or after a show at the O2 Forum.

Patron

Patron has earned itself a reputation among knowing Kentish Town locals for serving up some of the best cocktails in the area. If you’re having trouble selecting from the excellent range of choices, we highly recommend the sour epicé. It’s a Mezcal sour but with a twist. You might also want to finish your night here if you can get a table – the food is excellent!

Bonus: Take a dip at the Hampstead Heath ponds

For those who are a bit braver and want to initiate themselves as a true North Londoner, try a dip in the swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath (there is a Ladies’ Pond, a Men’s Pond and a Mixed Pond). We would recommend this in the summer only but you will find a very committed group of locals who go all year round in case you choose you pluck up the courage in the depths of winter.

It gets very busy during the summer season, so you’ll need to book in advance. This is one of those things that only Londoners know about.


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