The north v south divide exists - well it does in London anyway. And north London is coolest and best by far, of course!
From Camden to Haringey, Islington to Hackney, we all know that north London is best in so many ways… Who needs to venture south of the river, anyway?
1. We get around…
We love to be out and about – and to be able to get home easily at the end of the night without spending a fortune on a cab, or cutting the evening short to make a dash for the last train. Yes, north London has by far the most Tube stations, with loads of them serving two or more lines – unlike south London with just a handful. And north London has frequent night buses AND the Overground… We even had the first ever cable car in Europe, between 1884 and 1909 to take weary north Londoners up the hill from Archway to Highgate…
2. World’s our Oyster
Knowing how easy it is to be out and about makes us north Londoners far more spontaneous when it comes to going out in the evening… No need to plan a complicated route consulting timetables, just hop on the Tube and… time to party!
3. More music, maestro
We LOVE music, and there’s a huge variety of music venues to choose from on a night out. Camden alone has everything from the iconic Roundhouse to the grungy Barfly, to the glam Koko, to the cool Jazz Cafe, and the folktastic Cecil Sharp House, not to mention the numerous pub and bar venues like The Enterprise, The Green Note, The Dublin Castle and many more… That’s why the annual Camden Crawl is so popular among rock fans!
4. Lay it down
No wonder musicians are drawn to the north – as well as the venues we have so many iconic recording studios north of the river. From Konk – home of the Kinks – in Hornsey, to The Church previously belonging to The Eurythmics in Crouch End where Sweet Dreams was recorded, to Abbey Road in Swiss Cottage…
5. Let’s go shop
Everything from the goth-fest, punk-chic, hippie-dippy, crafty, vintage and more on the huge markets of Camden Town. Camden Lock is the fourth most visited attraction in London, so obviously lots of people agree that north is best. Then there’s Portobello further west and Spitalfields further east (but all north of ol’ Father Thames). Then for the more highbrow among us, Camden Passage – ironically in Angel, Islington – is brimming with antique stalls and shops. Oh, and Columbia Road for flowers, Brick Lane for vintage clothes… need we go on?
6. Brains too
Did we tell you that last year’s Yougov poll revealed that people believe that the people of north London are more intellectual than their south London neighbours (who are apparently rough and suburban!). Could have told them that… after all we have great thinker Karl Marx buried in Highgate Cemetery.
7. The Wild Side
Just a look at the celebs who’ve graced north London – they know how to make a splash and aren’t afraid to be different… Love ’em or loathe ’em, from Amy Winehouse, to Liam Gallagher, George Michael and Kate Moss to Boy George – our celebrities know how to get noticed and rub against the grain… No conventional suburbanism for us – we even staged the first ever student sit in in the UK – at Hornsey Art College in 1968!
8. So cool
And we are cool, obviously… Analysts looking at census information for an estate agent reveal that Hackney has the highest percentage of people employed in cool occupations – like culture, media, sport.
Talking of sport – where do you think the home of English football is – yes, Wembley… in north London… And we have the most successful London team – Arsenal – they obviously appreciated the merits of the north as they moved up from Woolwich in 1932 and became the only London team to have a Tube station named after them, when Gillespie Road became Arsenal.
10. Going green
Now we know the south has a few parks and open spaces, but nothing to rival good old Hampstead Heath as far as we’re concerned… It is home to the wonderful Kenwood House – an English Heritage building with a stunning art collection and fantastic architecture, that has free admission (what’s not to like?) and featured in the recent movie Belle. It has not one, not two, but three public lakes to swim in – one mixed, and two, more secluded, one for men and one for women. Nothing quite like a bracing dip up on the Heath… And as well as acres and acres of heathland to ramble or play on, it also has Parliament Hill (another favourite movie location) with stunning views over the whole of the city.
11. Movie madness
So many films use north London locations, and why not, seeing as so many cool actors live here (including three Doctor Whos)? Two absolute cult classics celebrate the odd quirkiness of the north – Withnail and I recreating Camden debauchery, and Shaun of the Dead turning Crouch End into Zombieville. And that’s not to mention those like Notting Hill and Somers Town that even give north London areas a name-check in their titles.
12. The last word
Finally, Highgate (which boasts a statue of Dick Whittington’s cat – and where would Dick have been if the future mayor hadn’t had that revelation in the north of the capital?!), is the highest point in London, so whatever anyone else thinks, north London is literally a cut above the rest!