Living in Swiss Cottage: travel links, parking, schools, best streets — and the average cost of monthly rent
There’s been a pub at the junction of Finchley Road and Avenue Road since 1841 and Ye Olde Swiss Cottage pub — now run by Samuel Smith’s brewery — is still a fixture of the area, bringing some faux-Swiss chalet kitsch to the central traffic island.
Away from the multi-lane main road network that forms the heart of the area, Swiss Cottage provides an impressive array of quality local culture and amenities, top schools and leafy streets nestled between some of inner north London’s most exclusive areas and some of its most deprived ones.
Who lives there?
Thanks to the Jubilee line, the area is popular with finance workers who can get directly to Canary Wharf on the Tube from Swiss Cottage.
The area is also known for its excellent private schools, which attract well-heeled families.
Parking in Swiss Cottage
From April 1 this year, residents parking permits in Camden will cost between £130.28 and £475 per year, depending on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.
The diesel surcharge will also rise to between £28.01 and £102.13 depending on the vehicle tariff.
Crime in Swiss Cottage
Crime in the area is lower than the borough average with nine crimes per 1,000 residents.
The top reported crimes are drugs, theft and harassment.
Fitness clubs in Swiss Cottage
Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre is a Better-run gym with a climbing wall, 25-metre pool and spa among the facilities on offer.
Average costs of renting in Swiss Cottage
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Best Swiss Cottage streets to live on
Belsize Lane, Crossfield Road, Eton Avenue and Fellows Road are particularly popular for their spacious flats in often very attractive Arts and Crafts houses, says Ben Felfeli of CH Peppiatt estate agents.
Best schools in Swiss Cottage
This pocket of north-west London is renowned for its private schools, with primary options including South Hampstead, Trevor Roberts, The Hall, Sarum Hall and Hereward House School.
Supermarkets and food markets in Swiss Cottage
Our featured renter Jess Harcourt pops to Tesco Express minutes from her house for convenient essentials and Waitrose on Finchley Road or Sainsbury’s in Kilburn for a larger shop.
Jess also recommends Iranian supermarket Milad in Maida Vale for cheap fruit and veg and specialist ingredients and the Swiss Cottage Farmers’ Market outside Hampstead Theatre on Wednesdays.
The one-way road system at Swiss Cottage is notoriously noisy and unpleasant — and it’s almost always traffic-clogged.
“The road system could certainly do with being cleaned up a bit,” says Felfeli.
What the locals say:
‘A tech search for my London home’
From a distance: Jess Harcourt “viewed” her shared house online while still working in East Africa (Adrian Lourie)
When American Jess Harcourt, 33, was moving from Kigali in Rwanda to study at London Business School last August, she needed to find a room within her budget that she would be able to move into as soon as she arrived in Britain from Africa.
So, with the help of technology, the MBA student, who had previously been working as an adviser to the Rwandan ministry of health, moved into her shared house in Swiss Cottage without ever having seen it in person.
“I messaged a few people I knew who lived in London to see if they had any connections but I mainly looked online. We had a funny night in Kigali where I projected the shortlisted rooms on to a wall to get advice from people who’d previously lived in London. As soon as we got to where I live now, they said: ‘If this place is real at that price, go for it’.”
Jess then “met” her future housemates — Renata, a journalist, and Douglas, an architect — via a Skype call and got a virtual tour of the three-bedroom Seventies ex-council house before sending a trusted friend over to view it and see if the photos were truly representative.
“This is the first time I’ve moved somewhere on a long-term contract without seeing it. I put a lot of trust in my friend!” she says.
Jess opted not to live with fellow MBA students, in order to meet people from outside the course.
She pays £800 a month for her room, including hot water and heating but excluding other bills and reckons it’s a couple of hundred pounds cheaper than other rooms closer to the LBS campus in Marylebone.
Swiss Cottage travel links and accessibility
Jess walks to the London Business School when the weather is good. Otherwise there are several buses that go door to door from home to the campus within 15 minutes.
South Hampstead Overground station is a couple of minutes from Jess’s house, with trains to Euston taking nine minutes, while Swiss Cottage station is on the Jubilee line in Zone 2.
Retail therapy in Swiss Cottage
The stretch of Abbey Road near Jess’s house has a range of useful independent shops, including Coastline fishmonger, Abbey Road Framing, Grizzly Kids — good for children’s gifts — and Perfect Dry Cleaning.
Eating and drinking in Swiss Cottage
The Clifton Arms gastropub is a favourite spot for a local drink or dinner with housemates, as is The Arches wine bar, a neighbourhood fixture for almost 20 years.
Singapore Garden serves some of London’s best laksa, while Sushi Bar Atariya is another popular spot for Japanese food.
Bruno’s Deli is the best option for a hearty Italian lunch.
Culture in Swiss Cottage
The well-regarded Hampstead Theatre, on the doorstep, is dedicated to supporting new writing from playwrights who have included Michael Frayn, Mike Leigh, Harold Pinter and Abi Morgan.
Swiss Cottage Library, a brutalist landmark, often hosts art exhibitions; the fascinating Freud Museum is a short walk up the hill and there’s a Thirtiesm Odeon cinema at the main junction.
Green space in Swiss Cottage
Primrose Hill is the nearest open green space for Jess, who often runs to Regent’s Park.
Paddington Recreation Ground is also nearby with tennis courts and a running track alongside landscaped gardens, a playground and café, while glorious Hampstead Heath is countryside on the doorstep for weekend walks.