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This article is for those of you who dare to venture north of the river, just kidding, everyone should venture north of the river. Scrap the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, there are so many other exciting activities to enjoy and places to go that are well worth your time. From Hampstead Heath’s rustic pubs to Camden’s colourful streets, here’s our guide to the best things to do in north London.

(WA = Wheelchair Accessible)

Cool Things To Do in North London - Where to go for a swim in LondonImage Courtesy of City of London

Take a stroll through Hampstead Heath

There’s nothing quite as wholesome as Hampstead Heath, especially on a warm summer’s day (or any day for that matter). It’s basically a ritual for local Londoners to come here on a Sunday, grab a coffee from one of the cafés and take a stroll through the stunning Hampstead Heath park. Simply do a few laps of the lake or, if you bring your swimming stuff, you can book a dip in the iconic Hampstead ponds. There are female, male or mixed bathing ponds that all offer the opportunity to swim amongst nature in a wonderful part of London.

Hampstead Heath | WA | Hampstead

See more of what’s at Hampstead Heath in this video…

Cool Things To Do in North London - What are the best areas to go to in LondonImage Courtesy of Coal Drops Yard

Eat, drink and shop your way around Coal Drops Yard

Coal Drops Yard in the heart of King’s Cross is the place to go if you’re looking for independent shops, charming cafés and vibey bars, and a variety of the best restaurants in the city. The space is located only a stone’s throw away from the iconic King’s Cross station, which is well worth a visit anyway (it’s where you’ll find platform 9 ¾ from Harry Potter). Pick up a souvenir or three from an emerging designer at Wolf & Badger then enjoy Italian plates at Lina Stores, Bombay-inspired fare at Dishoom or get your Mexican fix at Casa Pastor – the dining options here really are top-notch and eating your way around this part of the city is definitely one of the best things to do in north London.

Coal Drops Yard | WA | King’s Cross

Cool Things To Do in North London - Cultural landmarks to vist in North LondonImage Courtesy of The Jewish Museum

Embrace Jewish culture and diversity at The Jewish Museum

Celebrate Jewish life and cultural diversity at this London landmark, The Jewish Museum. This museum opened back in 2001 and tells the all-important history of the Jews in Germany all the way from the fourth century up to the present day. The zigzagging building itself is pretty special, and American architect Daniel Libeskind has designed it in a way that recounts German-Jewish history.

The Jewish Museum | WA | Camden

Cool Things To Do in North London - Where to walk along Regent's canal

Get to know the pretty Regent’s Canal

Another one of the best things to do in North London is take a leisurely stroll down London’s pretty Regent’s Canal, a waterway that played a vital role throughout London’s trading days. Today, you can re-imagine its industrial heyday as you stroll along nine miles of the scenic towpath. The waterway cuts right through the centre of King’s Cross and past London neighbourhoods, parks, gardens, canal-side cafés and beautiful heritage buildings.

Regent’s Canal | WA | Camden to Islington

Cool Things To Do in North London - Explore Camden’s vibrant street art sceneImage Courtesy of Viator

Explore Camden’s vibrant street art scene

Nowhere does street art quite like Camden; it’s home to some of the best street art in the world and really is a part of the borough’s core identity. The best way to get to know the ins and outs of the area’s urban artworks is by taking a tour with a local guide. Let the experts do the talking and learn all about the reasons for each piece of art, from politics to creativity, it’s likely that there’s a good reason there’s a mural placed in a certain area. Or, if you prefer to do things independently, simply take a stroll through the backstreets of the area, keeping your eyes peeled for murals on walls up high and down below.

Like street art? Book one of these London street art tours.

Cool Things To Do in North London - Best pubs in London to go toImage Courtesy of The Holly Bush

Wine and dine at The Holly Bush in Hampstead

Spending a day or two exploring the beautiful historic borough of Hampstead is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in north London, or anywhere in London for that matter. After a Sunday stroll through Hampstead’s lush park, why not settle down for a cosy roast in The Holly Bush? This centuries-old pub is set in a grade II listed building and is everything you’d expect a London pub to be. Sip on modern craft beers with a side of truffle popcorn to nibble on before ordering a classic English roast, complete with a Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese (hands down the best bit about any roast), crispy roast potatoes and red wine gravy. You simply can’t visit London without trying a roast or ten.

The Holly Bush | Hampstead

Cool Things To Do in North London - LGBTQ+ friendly bookshops in LondonImage Courtesy of Gay’s the Word

Pick up a book or three at Gay’s the Word

This one is for the keen bibliophiles. Gay’s the Word is the UK’s oldest LGBTQIA+ bookshop, having opened back in 1979 on Marchmont Street in Camden. It’s more than just a bookshop, though, this wonderful space was opened as a safe community space by a group of gay socialists, where all profits made were put straight back into the business. The shop hosts book launches, author signings and other events, as well as having shelves filled to the brim with all kinds of interesting books and stories.

Gay’s the Word | WA | King’s Cross

Cool Things To Do in North London - Best food places in North LondonImage Courtesy of Itadaky Zen

Dine on vegan, organic Japanese dishes at Itadaki Zen

If you love Japanese food, especially organic, vegan Japanese food, then Itadaki Zen has to be on your London bucket list. The restaurant is the first of its kind in the whole of Europe and serves a delectable menu of delicious Japanese fare. Enjoy deep-fried tofu nuggets with Itadaki Zen’s signature sauce and a side of miso-glazed aubergine. If you have room, don’t leave without trying their matcha affogato for dessert.

Itadaki Zen | King’s Cross

Like our guide to the best things to do in north London? For lots more locally-loved recommendations on what to check out in north London, grab The Casual Tourist Guide to North London.

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Jessica Dellow

Jessica Dellow is an East Londoner who loves to travel the world and eat her way around the city. When she's not eating, cooking or hanging out in the local pub, you’ll probably find her walking one of her BorrowMyDoggy dogs in Victoria Park with a coffee in hand.

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