Things we love about Muswell Hill: it boasts majestic views across Crouch End and London, there’s magical woodland as far as the eye can see (a special shout out to the Parkland Walk: 4.5 miles of overgrown green trail crossing disused railway arches), Ally Pally is only a hop, skip and jump away, and everyone seems to have at least one dog. Things we don’t love about Muswell Hill: it was once home to one of London’s most notorious serial killers... and, well, that’s about it. It’s a perfect mix of family-friendly spots, boho-chic shops and old-fashioned boozers – something for just about everyone, in other words. Oh, and did we mention the cheese shop?
Things to do in Muswell Hill
Commonly known as the 'People's Palace' or Ally Pally, Alexandra Palace looks out over north London from a height. Its altitude rewards casual walkers with spectacular views, and its commanding location and 190-odd acres of leafy parkland mean it's often mistaken for a magnificent palace of regal importance. In reality, it's a slightly shabby affair. Built in 1873 as a palace for the people, it has experienced bad luck including two devastating fires (the first just two weeks after it opened; the second in 1980 after it was rebuilt), years of poor funding and periods of bad management. Despite this, Ally Pally continues to hold a spot in the heart of Londoners, and a proud place in history as the birthplace of the world's first regular public television broadcast by the BBC in 1936. There's an indoor ice-skating rink, an expo hall and a vast gig space where you can catch big names and the odd clubbing event. There's a bonfire night every year, a boating lake, pitch and putt course, and deer enclosure.
Sunshine Garden Centre
Originally the site of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the Sunshine Garden Centre still inhabits the old pool glasshouse as well as two outhouses, which were once changing rooms. These spaces plus some more modern additions now house a solid selection of indoor and outdoor plants and shrubs, gardening tools and accessories. There's plenty in the way of cute and quirky gifts here too, and there's a sublime Christmas department to be explored in December as well.
Restaurants in Muswell Hill
Bars and pubs in Muswell Hill
Since recovering from a severe fire in October 2016, the Victoria Stakes has been working hard to get back to the former glory of the family-, dog- and comedy-friendly pub that the residents of Muswell Hill enjoyed. Now they're very much back in action. Those settling in for a drink can savour a beer selection including Brooklyn and Camden Breweries, Newcastle Brown and Hammerton. Plus wine, cocktails and the usual pub fare. If you're after some a little more hearty, tuck into something from the seasonal British menu, such as ribeye of beef, a short-rib cheeseburger or whole lemon sole. Bar snack include buttermilk fried chicken, chicken katsu scotch eggs, hand-cut chips and more. Events are regularly hosted here, from private weddings to open-to-all comedy nights and even post-natal classes.