No, nothing to do with Amy Winehouse’s high barnet, this is the last outpost of the Misery (Northern) Line, and really the last bastion of London to the very North. Despite it being genuinely ancient (certainly Saxon, if not earlier, according to Wikipedia), these days it’s a little bit bleak: not in the same gritty, urban way as, say, Willesden Junction or the Roman Road, but more of a ‘tumbleweed blowing past the carefully clipped hedges and well-upkept curbstones’ style of affair.
Going there on a weekday afternoon is a particularly bizarre experience, as was my first. Parking in the Spires carpark entails a rooftop space looking over said well-trimmed amenities, and the descent into the shopping centre itself is no less manicured. We walk past the Waitrose (natch), various yummy mummy-type coffee shops, Past Times and the like onto the dusty, windswept High Street and on to our first destination, feeling a little bit like brave cowboys on a pioneering trail.
I count four charity shops in High Barnet. Good enough to spend a bit of time in; not really a destination in itself. The usual Oxfam is here, with its array of overpriced but worthy fair trade tat, and we have a British Heart Foundation that was good for a tiny weeny food mixer – a snip at £1.75, but didn’t technically work, as such.
So often it’s the little local, or less well-known shops that house the best bargains and so it is in Barnet: PDSA and again, the North London Hospice, are reasonably well-stocked and not over-priced.
That’s pretty much all Barnet is good for, a worrying prospect for any long-term socio-economic transport for the area.
Find: High Barnet @ Google Maps
Transport: High Barnet tube on the Northern Line
Consume with: Costa coffee at 28 The Spires, maybe with the addition of an orange and lemon muffin
Visit: If you’re that way inclined; Underhill, home of Barnet FC and reserves ground for Arsenal
Overall rating: three espresso makers