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Highgate & Crouch End

Few areas of London support the old cliché that this is a city of villages like these adjacent residential districts. Both existed as rural settlements – Highgate as a hilltop village astride the Great North Road, Crouch End as a farming village – until the metropolis finally caught up with them via new rail routes in the 1890s. Even now, they feel distinct from the city’s hullaballoo. Locals moan about the influx of chains, yet Highgate remains a villagey, almost Home Counties-like corner of north London whose Georgian bone structure and proximity to Hampstead Heath attract a moneyed, conservative (small C) set. Crouch End is younger, buzzier, and cheaper, a gentrified small town stuffed with independent shops, cafés, young families and creative types. If it looks a little bit familiar, it's because it served as the set for local resident Simon Pegg’s zombie caper Shaun of the Dead.

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