Hornsey: Thriving independent scene and popular schools

Hornsey church tower

Hornsey church tower - Credit: Archant

Situated between Crouch End and Muswell Hill on one side, and Wood Green on the other, locals joke that Hornsey’s reputation as a ‘poor neighbour’ really depends which neighbour you’re comparing it to. Most agree that this Victorian suburb is a cosmopolitan area on the up, with a great sense of community and a wealth of independent cafes and shops.

New River Village

New River Village - Credit: Archant

Local authority

Hornsey is situated in the London Borough of Haringey within the N8 postal district. It is in the Hornsey and Wood Green parliamentary constituency. Band A properties will pay £989.35 council tax; properties in the average Band D will receive a bill of £1,484.01; and homes in Band H will pay £2,968.02.


Hornsey is one of north London’s more affordable pockets but prices are rising fast (Brexit notwithstanding). The average price of a two-bedroom flat in the area is now £473,850, for a terraced house it’s £955,944 and for a semi-detached home it’s £1,110,852. Homes are predominantly late Victorian and Edwardian terraced properties although there are several modern developments in the area too, including a large housing complex overlooking the New River and a development in the pipeline on Hornsey High Road.

Priory Park

Priory Park - Credit: Archant


The North London Rudolf Steiner School provides mixed gender Steiner education for children between the ages of 0 and 7 via a parent and child group, playgroup and kindergarten. St Mary’s C.E. Primary School is a very popular local primary school, which is becoming increasingly over-subscribed as the surroundings move up in the world. It is rated good by Ofsted. Hornsey School for Girls is a girls’ secondary school also rated good by Ofsted and well-regarded by parents. Greig City Academy is a large mixed gender academy with a specialism in technology rated good by Ofsted. It is the only state school in Haringey to offer a classics course and an array of extra-curricular activities, including a rocket club.

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The Great Northern rail link is the area’s main connection to the train and tube network, with overground services to Finsbury Park, Highbury and Islington and Moorgate in one direction and all the way north to Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City in the other. The nearest tube station is Turnpike Lane in Zone 3 on the Piccadilly Line. There are also some good bus routes including the 91 to Trafalgar Square and the W3 to Finsbury Park and Tottenham.

Selection of vintage photos of Hornsey High Street in Palace Antiques

Selection of vintage photos of Hornsey High Street in Palace Antiques - Credit: Archant

Landmarks and history

Hornsey village was first recorded in 1202 and remained a rural area until the late 1880s when seven railway stations opened nearby, leading to mass house building and turning the area into an archetypal Victorian suburb. There has been a church on the site of St Mary’s Hornsey since the 13th century. The original tower is still standing today and stands in the ancient graveyard of the village.

One of the most intriguing tombstones in the graveyard marks the grave of Jacob Walker with the inscription ‘In America the faithful slave, in England the faithful servant.’ Walker was a native of Virginia, US, and had been the slave of the Longs, an English family. When the family returned to England in 1824, Walker came with them and, since slavery was illegal in the UK, became their wage-earning servant. It is believed that Walker died of a broken heart a month after the death of his employer, Harriet Long, who is buried on the same site.

Shopping and culture

Palace Antiques

Palace Antiques - Credit: Archant

Shopping in Hornsey is a dream for homeowners, particularly those with renovation projects and a taste for the items of yesteryear. There are several antique and bric-a-brac shops, the largest of which, Palace Antiques, comes with a wealth of local history having been owned by the same family since the 1950s. Little Treasures is another, smaller offering and Mishka sells vintage clothing from the Victorian era to the 1980s.

Audio Gold

Audio Gold - Credit: Archant

There are also numerous spots to help with home renovations including upholsterer John Lawler and Muswell Hill Joinery. Record Shop Audio Gold sells hi-fi equipment and also stocks a large vinyl selection.

Eating and drinking

There is a sense in the air that Hornsey is up-and-coming and the shifting mixture of businesses on and around the High Street supports this.

Italica is a delicatessen and café (which also sells vinyl) popular with local parents for post-school run coffee, Olive is best for Middle-Eastern inspired café lunches, while Tomo’s, is a family run pizzeria.

Italica cafe

Italica cafe - Credit: Archant

Ultimate Bakery

Ultimate Bakery - Credit: Archant

New bakery Ultimate Bakers offers freshly baked bread and pastries. Away from the High Street the Teapot Café on Tottenham Lane is a cosy spot for healthy juices and coffee and The Harvest is a natural food store. Elsie, on Priory Road, is a new opening serving lunch, brunch, cakes and cocktails, and Nati’s on Priory is another new arrival serving fresh cinnamon buns every day, along with other baked goodies supplied from the Spence Bakery. Kimura serves sushi, sashimi and all things Japanese all freshly made on the premises.

Elsie cafe

Elsie cafe - Credit: Archant

The Great Northern Railway Tavern is a top local choice for drinks, while another Victorian favourite is the Three Compasses up the road, which also has four rooms for bed and breakfast.

Sports and leisure

Gym membership at the North London YMCA costs £19.99 per month and includes access to the fitness centre and a range of classes. Classes are also accessible on a drop-in basis and include swiss ball, yoga, pilates, circuit training, spinning with static bikes and aerobics. The YMCA also offers a crèche on weekday mornings for parents attending the gym.

Good for kids

The Harringay Club offers an extensive range of children’s activities, from baby massage and pre-school ballet to Irish dancing and kickboxing for older children. The Club lays on an additional programme during school holidays. Adults will appreciate the New River Café, a charming refreshment spot attached to the centre.