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Harlesden London Guide

24 February 2021 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

In 2001, the BBC aired a documentary series called The Heart of Harlesden, depicting real life in the northwest London neighbourhood. The doc was a response to the bad press Harlesden received after several serious crimes, showcasing the strength, vibrancy and sense of local community in the area. 

Fast-forward twenty years and Harlesden's heart is fully intact. From charming period homes to a bustling town centre, it has evolved into a London hotspot full of flair and style.

In this London guide, we're taking an in-depth look at Harlesden and what it's like to live in this part of northwest London. So read on, and discover everything you need to know about the NW10 postcode. 

On a map

Located in northwest London, Harlesden falls under the district of the Borough of Brent. Neighbouring towns include Wembley, Willesden and Kensal Rise, and it features an NW10 postcode. 

Harlesden history

Once a Saxon settlement, Harlesden was initially a rural village that evolved into a busy neighbourhood after introducing the railway in the 19th century. The result was an uptick of homes in the area, including cottages for the railway workers and larger homes for the middle class.

Factories soon replaced woodland, and Harlesden continued its evolution into a busy town, becoming part of the wider London area in the 1930s. 

The 1950s, 60s and 70s saw continued immigration from Ireland and the Caribbean, as we as the Indian subcontinent. This cultural mix can still be found today and forms a significant part of Harlesden's appeal. 

Who lives there?

Harlesden has a population of around 17,000 and a median age of 35. There's a diverse mix of people from Caribbean, Asian, Irish, English and South American backgrounds. Sixty per cent of residents rent their home in Harlesden. 

Renting in Harlesden

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There are plenty of appealing tree-lined residential streets in Harlesden, many of which feature three and four-bedroom Victorian homes. Some of these have also been converted into one and two-bedroom flats. 

Build-to-Rent features in the area, too, with The Stay Club offering studio apartments and a host of on-site social spaces within the building, such as co-working spaces and a residents' lounge.  

Expect to pay around £1,200 per month for a one-bedroom home in Harlesden. A two-bedroom apartment achieves in the region of £1,400 per month, and a three-bedroom house fetches around £1,800 per month. 

Find your next home in Harlesden

Harlesden travel

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Harlesden station is the primary transport hub in the area. It serves Harlesden town centre on the Bakerloo Line and Overground, providing services into central London, Clapham, Euston and Highbury & Islington. 

There are also good bus services, with the No 18 offering direct routes to Euston and Baker Street, while the No 226 goes to Brent Cross Shopping Centre. Harlesden is located in travel zones 2 and 3.

Harlesden eateries

Amigos Burger and Shakes Harlesden

Tuck into a tasty patty at Amigos, where you'll find a range of succulent burgers and some tantalising milkshakes to wash it all down. We'll have The El Guapo burger, please. 

Flavourz Africana

Sample top-notch African cuisine at Flavourz Africana, whether you're chowing down on some seafood Ogbono or Dodo and fried yam. This spot has everything you need to enjoy a little slice of Nigeria.

Grand Junction Arms

Step into your new local at the Grand Junction Arms, a stylish gastropub overlooking the Grand Union Canal. Head here during the summer and enjoy a drink or two while soaking up the surrounding views. 

Things to do in Harlesden

Brent Cross Shopping Centre

Get yourself down to Brent Cross Shopping Centre for a serious spot of shopping. There are fashion stores in the form of Fenwick, where you can shop the latest brands. You'll also find an Apple store onsite, so the latest iPhone is never far away. 

Wembley Stadium

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The iconic Wembley Stadium is just four miles away from Harlesden, so a live game of sports isn't out of the question. The 90,000 seater stadium hosts the Men's and Women's England national team, major domestic cup finals and other sports such as rugby and NFL. 

Roundwood Park

Get back to nature at Roundwood Park, a listed Green Flag park with lots of open space to explore. There is a bowling green, aviary and a cafe where you can sip on a hot brew. 

Moving to Harlesden

Strong community vibes, an eclectic mix of restaurants, local shops and charming period homes await you in Harlesden. If ever the BBC decides to make another documentary on the neighbourhood, it's likely to be all about how Harlesden embodies the best of London with a melting pot of cultures and a truly international flavour. 

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