You may have heard of Barnet mainly as Cockney rhyming slang for hair (Barnet Fair), but it is actually a really interesting place to visit if you are in the South East. The London Borough of Barnet, in the far north of London, is far enough out from the centre of the city that it feels like a place of its own, and in many ways it is. Well connected with central London by train and bus, this area is one that could be considered a suburb, but it has so much character of its own that you may well leave thinking of it as a completely different city!
Things to Do in Barnet
Barnet is well known for its pubs, especially its Irish pubs. Barnet has a strong history of Irish settlers, so the Irish pubs here are not just cheesy theme pubs, they are very authentic, often owned by Irish people. This means you will get all of the features of a standard London pub, but with the added hospitality and slightly different drinks range of a typical Irish pub – rather than the twee traditional Irish music and Guinness ads on the wall you get in the ‘wannabe’ Irish pubs in other parts of England!
Barnet is also a great place to eat out. With a very cosmopolitan feel, you can get anything from good traditional English meals like fish and chips or a Sunday roast, through to great Thai, Japanese and Indian cuisine. Whatever your taste and whatever you fancy while you are staying here, you are likely to find it!
If you are visiting with kids and want something to do, the Belmont Children’s Farm is a good option. While it is billed as a children’s farm, it is actually more like a full scale zoo, only with far more opportunities for visitors to interact with and learn about the animals. It is a really popular attraction where you can see everything from birds of prey displays through to racehorses in training, and the friendly staff give great talks about all of the animals
If museums are more your thing, you can visit the RAF museum in nearby Hendon (within the Borough of Barnet), which has an incredible array of old planes, including Hurricanes and Spitfires. If you are into military history or aviation, or would simply like to take your family somewhere educational and interesting, then this is a really good place to go.
How To Get There and Where to Stay
Barnet is easily accessible on the train, and if you are coming from central London then you need to head to Kings Cross and make your way north on the tube. On the way you will even get to see the Emirates stadium, home of Arsenal FC and one of the fanciest stadiums in Europe!
When it comes to hotel options, there are lots to choose from, ranging from budget travel hotels through to more luxurious options. As with anywhere in the London area, it is best to book somewhere in advance rather than trying to find a place when you get there if price is an issue.