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I moved from East Finchley about 13 years ago. Personally, I can't say i enjoyed my time at East Finchley. I have lived in the London Borough of Barnet for many years, in various parts. It is one of the largest Greater London Boroughs and very diverse. East Finchley is in North West London
In one direction of East Finchley is heading towards Whetstone and High Barnet and at the other end you head towards Highgate and Archway.
Transport links are excellent in East Finchley
263; in one direction towards High Barnet ;passing through North Finchley and Whetstone; in the other direction going through Highgate and Archway
143; Brent Cross to Archway
102; Golders Green to Edmonton (going through Muswell Hill, (very close to Alexandra Palace/Park)
East Finchley Station;Northern Line (you can get to central London in about 25 minutes)
Barnet General; The Whittington (Archway); The Royal Free (Hampstead) and Finchley Memorial (Finchley)
East Finchley is quite a sort after area. There are some great places to eat, takeaway/dine in. You have a KFC, Dominoes Pizza, many cafes and good restaurants. It is close to Muswell Hill and Highgate. Nearby is also the famous Alexandra Palace and Park with its stunning views across London;
You can take a nice stroll through Highgate Woods or go and do some shopping at Muswell Hill. They have some super little shops there. Brent Cross is also close by; the first shopping centre of its kind to be open (in 1977)
You are surrounded by some other lovely areas too. Just around the corner from East Finchley Station is 'The Bishops Avenue' aka Millionaires Row. Hampstead isn't too far away with its trendy shops/bars/pubs and of course Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House; .http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kenwood-house/
If you jump on a 263 bus you can very quickly get to Finchley Leisure Park; Here there is Hollywood Bowl, Vue Cinema, Swimming pool (indoor and out), Nandos, Ask Pizza, Pizza Hut, Mcdonalds and other eateries.
Cherry Tree Woods (opposite the station) is a really lovely park, with nice play areas for children and a cafe; also with tennis courts.
There are not many large food shops in East Finchley (an Iceland and Budgens) as well as smaller local food shops. (However, there are larger supermarkets within easy reach (Tesco in Finchley Central being one)
At the bottom end of East Finchley there are two council estates; The Grange and Strawberry Vale. Both are awful! I am certainly not a snob and live in Council Housing myself, but these two are not nice places to live. There is a main post office in East Finchley but its usually always busy and has long queues at times.
All in all East Finchley is ok in fact, its a pretty decent place to live.
When I first moved to London everything seemed so big and intimidating. I had been offered a job in Camden and without really thinking about it arranged to view various flats in Camden Town and other places close by. As soon as I arrived it became apparent that there was no way that I could live anywhere as busy as Camden Town. Which put me in a difficult position. I had two days to find somewhere to live (or face a very long commute into work) and nowhere seemed suitable.
There were two things that attracted me to East Finchley, it was relatively quiet and it was easy to get to Camden Town. Being in such a rush to find somewhere to live I think I'm very lucky to have found somewhere that suited me so perfectly for my first year in London.
I have found transport in East Finchley to be excellent. The Northern Line runs to East Finchley tube station and I have found it to be one of the more reliable underground lines. In the almost two years that I've been living in London I can still count on one hand how many times delays on the Northern Line have made me late to work. During the recent tube strikes, and the not so recent heavy snow, the Northern Line continued to run and I was able to attend work when other people were stranded in various parts of London.
I've also found the buses to be quite good. Services are reliable and you never have to wait very long for a bus.
One of the things that I liked best about East Finchley was the number of cafe's and restaurants that were close by. I absolutely hate cooking, I would much rather eat out as often as possible than even consider switching on the cooker and making myself something to eat. East Finchley has a good combination of cheap cafe's and more expensive restaurants.
My favourite cafe was the New Local Cafe. It was cheap (very important when you eat out as often as I do) and the choice of food was really good. You can get your typical cafe food like cooked breakfasts, pies and burgers and all for a very reasonable price. Of course the quality of the food is not up to the standard of a restaurant but when you're paying £3 for a burger, chips and a drink you don't expect it to be that great. The service was always really friendly and efficient.
I did have a few issues with this cafe. The first was that they would often run out of food halfway through the day. Sometimes I would go in after work and they wouldn't have any baguettes left for example. I also found that their salads were horrible, they never tasted very fresh.
There are some really lovely restaurants in East Finchley. My favourite were Nahling and Quality.
Nahling is a Thai Restaurant located on the High Street. I would often go in there when I was trying to work on my novel and getting too distracted at home and I found it was the perfect place to write, very comfortable and peaceful. It does get busy later on in the evening and although it is quite small inside it never seemed to get too noisy.
The staff are very polite and attentive but they don't keep interrupting after they've delivered your meal. The food is excellent and always delivered very quickly.
Quality is a Bangladeshi Restaurant. My best friend and I go in here quite frequently and I've always found the staff to be very friendly, polite and efficient. The food is always excellent and the restaurant is very comfortable.
I have written a review for this restaurants:
http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/ restaurants-cafes-national /quality-tandoori-restaurant-london/1230873 /
I think perhaps the thing that lets East Finchley down is its supermarkets. There is an Iceland and a Budgens but I never did my shopping in either because Budgens is too expensive and Iceland doesn't have a very good range of products. There is a Sainsbury's in North Finchley and a Tesco in Finchley Central that were quite easy to get to using public transport but I would have preferred to have more affordable supermarkets with a good range of products actually in East Finchley. East Finchley does make up for this slightly by having a number of small shops that sell fresh fruit and vegetables as well as a range of other food but I found that many of these small shops closed too early or opened too late for me to use them outside of working hours.
I did like that there were a couple of charity shops in East Finchley and that these weren't chain charity shops like Oxfam because it meant that the prices were a lot cheaper. But in terms of other shops there wasn't really anything worth writing about. There is a clothes shop, a stationary shop, a general store and a shoe shop but I never shopped in any of them, they just didn't really appeal to me.
One of the most convenient things about living in East Finchley is that everything you need is close by (or at least anything I needed was). There is a post office located on the High Street. It's quite small but generally there aren't any queues and they do sell a small selection of postage related items. There are a number of banks on the high street too, unfortunately I don't bank with any of them but I did use their cash machines. There are a number of chemists, doctors surgeries and dentists so registering with a doctor and finding somewhere to pick up prescriptions was not a problem for me at all. There are also a number of beauty salons and nail places in East Finchley. I would highly recommend Healthy Glow for a friendly service from really talented beauticians. The library was quite small but if the staff were really helpful and always willing to order in books from other libraries when necessary. I would have liked for the library to open later because it closed at five most days which made it difficult for me to use it.
Overall East Finchley was a really great area to live in and was perfectly suited to me. I would recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere that is relatively quiet and safe in London.