Car boot sales, bargain shopping, delicious Persian food and the iconic Abbey Road.
Turn right out of Abbey Road Medical Centre and walk towards the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios. Here enjoy the antics of London visitors recreating that 1969 Beatles’ famous album cover. Nearby, tucked down an alleyway lined with information about the studio’s musical history find the Abbey Road memorabilia shop.
Off Abbey Road relax in the white-walled grassy rooms of Alexandra Road Park. It’s a calming park which has a relief model by its Abbey Road entrance to help you get your bearings.
Kilburn High Road is noisy and busy with traffic but that also means there are plenty of buses (love the number 31 – running from White City to Camden Town). Opposite the Brondesbury Medical Centre look for the tall poplar trees that mark the entrance to peaceful Kilburn Grange Park. It has plenty of benches to take a breather, smell the roses and watch dog walkers.
Paddington Old Cemetery, off Willesden Lane, is a well-manicured graveyard always open for a walk from 9am-4pm, often longer hours. In it you can find graves marked with angels, memorial pillars and even Paddington bear’s creator, Michael Bond. Just by the war graves on the right of the entrance off Willesden Road you’ll find toilets.
THE GREAT SHOPPING MOVIE
Kilburn has probably always had cinematic appeal, especially as the Kiln Theatre (which used to be the Tricycle) is on the site of the home of the inventor of modern cinema, William Friese-Greene. Kilburn High Road is such a bustling and busy place, even on a weekday, that it’s all too easy to forget your shopping list items and instead walk the street looking for uncommon characters to star in your next imaginary movie.
There’s everything a shopper needs plus refuelling options ranging from proper pints to Afghan dishes at Ariana II (the original branch is in New York). Near Brondesbury overground station (the buses stop at Paddy Power), find tempting bargains at Hilal Food Centre. You could go home with your warrior trolley filled with a sack of onions, melons and all sorts of tropical fruit and veg. Or stop for tea and macarons at the spacious Maison de la Vie, coffee at the Moroccan café or head towards Kilburn Park tube (on the Bakerloo line) for all the chains (eg, Superdrug) and from Monday-Saturday the stalls at Kilburn Market offering bed linen, big pants, material, fruit and hair styling to a Reggae soundtrack. Don’t forget to check for fresh fruit bargains at the stall on Birchington Road.
If you use Lonsdale Medical Centre, you’ll already know that Lonsdale Road has a special atmosphere. The old mews are now mostly studios or restaurants such as Hugo’s. Turn left for a stroll that takes you past Bill Amberg’s studio (he does leather) then left on to the traffic calmed pretty Tennyson Road. At the top find the cemetery or circle back via Salusbury Road to view the handsome Queen’s Studios building.
READY TO EAT
Belsize Road off Kilburn High Road has lovely eateries. Eat granola and coffee in or take home jalapeno and spinach focaccia at Hart and Lova. Back in the day Kilburn was well-known for the number of its residents with Irish and Afro-Caribbean heritage, judging by the signatures on the pictures drawn by visiting children to this café – Aoife, Samara, Darcey and William – it still does. Opposite is red-doored Little Bay which has less than £10 deals for Belsize residents from Monday to Thursday. Similar meal deals are at the wine and tapas bar opposite with the fab name, Zero 75. Or save your pennies and instead sit on the Priory Road bench, close to a tree pit filled with colourful plants, to contemplate Kilburn past and present.