Located just to the north of Camden lies the neighbourhood of Kentish Town – a charming spot packed full of historic boozers, fantastic restaurants, cool-as-a-cucumber cafés and even a bloomin’ escape room. The one-time abode of none other than Karl Marx, it’s a great part of town to explore. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of 11 of the best things to do in Kentish Town:
Bed bugs aside (what a scary thought), there’s plenty to love about, well, the ‘City of Love’, and you’ll be transported straight there hassle free at this beautiful atmospheric wine and cocktail bar complete with French decor, mood lighting and vintage music. There’s no doubt that once you experience the romantic ambience, converse with the charming bartenders, and sip on their sensational beverages, you’ll be back for more.
The bar itself is actually located in a former French tobacconist’s, and the original shop name and design have been preserved to embody the true spirit of France. Plus, once you’re inside, the warm glow from the candlelight and mid-century style Parisian decor will also leave you questioning whether you’re still in the Big Smoke. And as much as we love the British capital, sometimes it’s nice to escape right?!
📍You’ll find the Tabac Bar at 16 Fortess Road, London NW5 2EU
Now, we all know that London is basically the live music capital of the world right? And if you’re ever in this neck of the woods, then you’ve got a great little venue in the shape of the O2 Forum. From art deco cinema to Irish dance hall, bingo hall back to dance hall…and finally to a live music venue. This 1930’s spot has seen it all!
Prince, Radiohead, Tove Lo and Arctic Monkeys have all graced the stage in the past, and this year sees Röyksopp, Majid Jordan and Inhaler all perform. Take a seat downstairs in the O2 Forum Kentish Town’s boujee booths, head up top for a great view from the balcony, or throw yourself into the mosh pit up front.
📍You’ll find the O2 Kentish Town Forum at 9-17 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1JY.
3. While away the hours in The Pineapple
Tucked down a picturesque little side street, The Pineapple is a beloved neighbourhood boozer and something of an institution in this neck of the woods. Brimming with character, they offer a lovely selection of Thai food and have a real sun spot of a beer garden in the back. Pooch-friendly, they also have an array of board games which are perfect for challenging your mates or dates!
📍You’ll find The Pineapple at 51 Leverton Street, London, NW5 2NX.
4. Tuck into some tasty grub at Guanabana
Now we had to add a BYOB restaurant to this roundup of the best things to do in Kentish Town didn’t we? Guanabana Restaurant is a friendly and vibey spot offering cuisine from all over Latin America and the Caribbean – from Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and everywhere in-between.
All the food whipped up here is 100% halal, and standouts include great jerk chicken, nachos and oxtail butter bean stew. There’s no corkage fee on Mondays either – so that’s the day to come – and we for one can get on board with that. What better way to start your week hey?
📍You’ll find Guanabana at 85 Kentish Town Road, London, NW1 8NY.
5. Hang out with the animals at Kentish Town Farm
Founded all the way back in 1972, Kentish Town City Farm offers a lifelong education to children, adults and anyone interested in living in the countryside and local agriculture. But that’s really only the tip of the iceberg, as this local charity also invites people to connect with nature and animals, and they also offer outdoor therapy and therapeutic horse riding to people with special needs. Moreover, they try to raise awareness about the importance of the environment and green spaces within the city.
You can take part in several programmes and activities and bring your mates to corporate events as they offer their facilities for private events. Entry is free every day from 9am to 5pm and no booking is required. Winner, winner.
📍You’ll find Kentish Town City Farm at Cressfield Close (off Grafton Road), London, NW5 4BN.
6. Journey to the Mediterranean at Phoenicia
Definitely one of the best things to do in Kentish Town here. The vast Phoenicia Food Hall takes its name from the ancient land of Phoenicia in present-day Lebanon, whose people were ‘the great merchants of ancient times’. Owner Ghassan has taken a leaf out of their book with this fantastic food hall, which has all manner of goodies packed across its shelves.
You can get everything here from customised cakes to meat, fruit and vegetables, and they’ve even got handy recipes on their website too so you can channel your inner Ottolenghi or Delia in the kitchen.
📍You’ll find Phoenicia at 186-192 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2AE.
7. Rifle your way through the Owl Bookshop
Now we all love a good bookshop don’t we? After all, there’s nothing better than kicking back and relaxing with a ripping yarn in hand. If you’re looking for a new book, then you could do worse than heading to the Owl Bookshop, an independent spot which was established back in 1974.
They’ve got everything here from books about Black History Month to graphic novels and comics, and they’ve also got regular events on here too. Once you’ve got your mitts on a new novel or two, why not head to Caliendo’s Gelato over the road for a nice scoop of ice cream?
📍You’ll find Owl Bookshop at 207-209 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2JU.
8. Try and make your way out of ‘Mission Breakout’
Located in the abandoned tube station of South Kentish Town, choose between three escape rooms to break out of solely by using your brains! ‘Codebreakers’ uses a mind-blowing script based on the extraordinary true story of the very confidential masterminds, while ‘The Lost Passenger’ is based on the true story of the passenger who disappeared in South Kentish Town Tube Station in 1924.
The final escape room is billed as ‘Underground 2099’ and sees players trying to thwart the plans of ‘King Rat’ and his minions, who have taken over London as the dominant species… Have fun with friends, solve some puzzles and complete your mission to break out of this historic ghost tube station!
📍You’ll find Mission:Breakout at 141-145 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8PB.
9. Sink the pints at the Camden Town Brewery
We’re not short of breweries here in London. In fact, as of January of 2022, there were over 135 breweries operating with more opening all the time. However, when it comes to our favourites, we’d have to put Camden Town Brewery up there.
They’ve got a fantastic beer hall here which has 24 different beer taps on the go, as well as pretzel sandwiches and all manner of snacks on the roster. Plus, you can even go on a brewery tour and try a few different tipples. Ideal.
📍You’ll find Camden Town Brewery at 55-59 Wilkin St. Mews, London, NW5 3ED.
Now, we bloody love ourselves a Sunday roast here at Secret London (I mean, who doesn’t?), and The Parakeet we’d argue whips up one of the best in the whole of the capital. No biggie! With Head Chef Ben Allen and Sous Chef Ed Jennings (both ex-BRAT) at the helm making full use of the kitchen’s custom flame grill and locally-sourced ingredients, diners here can expect a fresh take on the roast based all around fire cooking at this one.
Dishes on the roaster include a flame grilled leg of lamb for four and roast chicken, which is pre-brined and roasted in hay to give it a rich, smoky flavour. Also on the menu is salt-aged roast topside beef and lamb rump – both cooked over charcoal and wood on their custom-made grill, and a celeriac wellington to boot too. Add in sticky toffee pud for dessert and what more could you ask for hey?!
📍You’ll find The Parakeet at 256 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2AA.
11. Gorge to your heart’s content at Bintang
Rounding off this list of the best things to do in Kentish Town is paying a visit to the beloved Bintang. Taking influences from predominantly from the Philippines, this cosy, Kentish Town eatery is absolutely ideal for anyone craving some Eastern flavours. Their namesake gluten-free curry is a real winner here, and they’ve also got some melt-in-your-mouth beef sisig and spicy carabao wings on the bill. Not to mention cocktails, wine and beers… I mean it is named Bintang after all.
📍You’ll find Bintang at 93 Kentish Town Road, London, NW1 8NY.
So there you have it, a roundup of the best things to do in Kentish Town. So whether you’re looking to catch a gig or dive into some delicious Thai food at a neighbourhood boozer, you’ll be well and truly covered in NW1!