Living in Finsbury Park

By Nia Charpentier

For years the Finsbury Park area had a reputation for being quite rough with high levels of crime and poverty, but that has massively improved. Whilst it’s far from idyllic, it is fast becoming a very desirable area to live, not least because of how convenient and quick it is to get to Islington and The City. Finsbury Park and neighbouring Stroud Green is located in the borough of Haringey, with Stoke Newington to the south east, Holloway to the west and Crouch End to the north west. With one of London’s largest parks on the doorstep and a fair few nice pubs and restaurants, it’s not a half bad place to be.

Housing

As a largely residential area, the roads leading away from Finsbury Park station are made up of Victorian style terraced houses with a few housing estates scattered around. Rent prices are rising all the time, particularly in the Stroud Green area, but cheaper properties can be found as you go further away from the convenience of the station, or towards Crouch End, Green Lanes or Seven Sisters Road.

People

Finsbury Park is a very ethnically diverse area with a cosmopolitan feel. With so much green space about it’s popular with families, and the fact that it’s a hop, skip and a jump from Islington and The City means that young professionals are also keen on living here.

Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment

The area definitely has more of a pub than a club scene. Some of the local favourite haunts include The Faltering Fullback, a proper traditional pub on Perth Road with a large outside terrace that gets very busy during the summer. On Stroud Green Road there is The Noble and The Old Dairy, both gastro pubs serving draft beers, wine and good grub. For a bit of old school entertainment there’s a ten pin bowling alley just opposite Finsbury Park tube station, with several lanes, a bar and pop music that will make you feel 17 again.

During the summer Finsbury Park plays host to a fair few festivals including Feis, an Irish music event which had Van Morrison and Bob Dylan on the line up last year. Arsenal Emirates football stadium is about a ten minute walk from Finsbury Park station, and the whole area gets very busy (and boozy) when there’s a match on. Great if you’re an Arsenal fan, not so great if you’re not.

Parks

No surprises here but Finsbury Park is the main open green space in the area, covering a massive 110 acres. Appealing to sporty types, it has a running track, tennis courts, drop in yoga classes and an indoor and an outdoor gym. There are also two children’s play areas, a café and a path on the west side of the park leading on to Woodland Walk, a nice scenic and traffic free way of walking or cycling as far as Highgate. Further good news for cyclists is that Finsbury Park has a secure bike park on the side nearest the tube station.

Shops, Restaurants and Takeaways

Stroud Green Road is the place to head for food, whatever you fancy cuisine wise. Front Room is a great little place for breakfast or brunch with a friendly atmosphere, reasonable prices, tasty eggs Florentine. For authentic and yummy pizza try Pappagone Italian restaurant. Or for good Thai food in slightly over the top surroundings (one of the tables is inside one of those Bangkok three wheeler taxis) go to Cats.

For something quick and cheap there’s the Happening Bagel Bakery on Seven Sisters Road just opposite the station, and that’s open until late too if you need a post-pub snack. There is a mixture of chain and independent shops and restaurants in the area, with a Nando’s, lots of fried chicken joints, a Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl all within close proximity. Iit’s not great for clothes shopping, with only a few shops selling pretty cheap and not very cheerful stuff.

Transportation

Finsbury Park is very well connected in terms of transport, with the speedy Victoria Line on hand as well as the Piccadilly Line. There are several buses and night buses including the 29 which runs from Trafalgar Square to Wood Green via Camden, and that’s all night long so has been dubbed the “party bus” by local papers. There are two overland stations: Finsbury Park which runs southbound to Moorgate or northbound to Welwyn or Hertford North; and Crouch Hill which is about a 15 minute walk from Finsbury Park station, and that line runs between Gospel Oak and Barking. National rail services also run from Finsbury Park station to Cambridge, Essex and elsewhere which is handy.

Good Points

  • Very good transport links
  • A Good park nearby
  • Variety of restaurants

Bad Points

  • A lot of traffic
  • Busy on Arsenal match days
  • Limited options for places to go after the pubs close
  • Expensive to rent

AREAS OF LONDON


Acton
Cheap rent means more money to spend at the pubs.


Brixton
Gritty, cheap and international with loads of character.


Camberwell
Edgy, gritty and artsy area close to central London.


Camden Town
Full of punks, market stalls and a great canal.


Clapham
Diverse area with everyone from yuppies to yobbos.


Ealing
Decent shopping but the nightlife is a bit uninspired.


Earl's Court
In zone one but expensive and full of tourists.


East Dulwich
A posh area south of the river but still affordable.


Finsbury Park


Fulham
Very nice area but expensive and the District line is crap.


Greenwich
Nice, safe, close to the city but not much nightlife.


Hammersmith
Great transport links and near to the Thames.


Kilburn
Great transport links but a bit dodgy at night.


Putney
Green and pretty but a little bit on the dull side.


Shepherd's Bush
A lively, edgy, multicultural area in West London.


Shoreditch
Edgy, creative and trendy with a great nightlife.


Stoke Newington


Tooting
A bit rough around the edges but a great place for a curry.


West Hampstead
Well connected by transport but a little expensive.


Willesden Green
Cheap, full of travellers and well connected.


Wimbledon
Nice area, decent nightlife and good transport to the city.

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