Totteridge may not have the name recognition of some of London’s more prestigious central areas, but it is still a highly pleasant and affluent suburb. In fact, some have dubbed it ‘London’s Beverly Hills’, since N20 has been found to be London’s richest postcode. It is remarkably leafy and spacious for an area within ten miles of the city centre.
The district’s protected status as a picturesque village is a constant reminder of its long and fascinating history. Totteridge began life as the Anglo-Saxon village of Tata, which had become Tataridge by the early 14th century.
In modern times, Totteridge saw rapid expansion following the arrival of the railway in 1872. The original station was converted to become part of the London Underground network in 1941, and still retains many of its original Victorian features.
The area is also home to a number of current celebrities, such as Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger, Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, Cliff Richard, Hank Marvin and (apparently), several members of global boyband One Direction.
For those who like their history rather more ancient, St Andrews (one of the two local churches) is believed to be built on the site of a neolithic stone circle. Furthermore, its churchyard is the home of a yew tree that is 2,000 years old, according to experts from Kew Gardens, making it the oldest tree in London. It’s certainly hard to miss, given that its circumference measured a staggering 25 feet and ten inches in the year 2000. Unsurprisingly, it merited inclusion in the seminal book “100 Greatest Trees of London". The 17th century building itself is also well worth a visit.
Location and transport
Totteridge is situated between Barnet and Mill Hill, about 8.2 miles north of Charing Cross. This means that it can offer an intriguing blend of leafy countryside and easy connectivity, along with some truly beautiful historic architecture.
The closest London Underground station is Totteridge & Whetstone, which is in Zone 4 and served by the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. Unfortunately, the Victorian building means that the station is not currently wheelchair-friendly.
Bus connections are also good, providing easy access to the nearby Oakleigh train station. Since is it on the East Coast main line, services to both King’s Cross and Moorgate are both fast and plentiful.
Despite being an expensive area to live, Totteridge has not been colonised by absentee foreign investors, meaning that the area has a strong sense of community. The Totteridge Residents’ Association is a very active presence, and the cricket, tennis and football clubs are all popular.
It is a popular area for families, which means that Totteridge’s schools (whether private or state) are generally good. St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School is rated outstanding by Ofsted, with 99 per cent of its students getting at least five GCSEs at A*-C grade.
For primary schools, St Andrew's Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School has a good rating, and scores above the national average in terms of results.
As you might expect, the area is also home to a wide variety of upmarket bars and eateries. The local high street retains much of its original charm, although the elegantly understated shops tend to be on the pricey side.
Green spaces are a dominant aspect of Totteridge. There are multiple officially designated Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation. These are Darland's Lake Nature Reserve, Totteridge Green, Totteridge Common, Totteridge Fields, Dollis Brook, Folly Brook and Totteridge Croft Field (also known as Dell's Down Acre).
While there are many historic buildings in the old village dating back to the 16th century, or even earlier, the coming of the railway lead to the construction of a number of late 19th and early 20th century grand houses around the outskirts.
Modern developments are available and are an equally desirable option. This is because careful local oversight has ensured that any refurbishments or new builds are in keeping with the overall character of the area. However, these admirable goals have limited the amount of recent projects and conversions.
Sadly, not all of us can live in multimillion-pound mansions. If you are looking for a more affordable option, the semi-detached properties in the south-eastern section of Totteridge are probably your best bet, although rents and buying prices will still be significantly higher than the London averages.
In short, this is not a cheap area to live, but it is still one that rewards the financial commitment of moving house. However, if you can afford it, you will be rewarded with a luxurious country pile that is only a short train journey away from Central London; a winning combination.