New developments and a growing demographic of young professionals are transforming an area that has for decades been known as a bit rough. It may not quite have the cache of Shoreditch, but that’s a good thing.
With cheap rents, plentiful transport, and an array of exciting and diverse eateries, Cally Road is one of London’s best-kept secrets.
Why Caledonian Road?
“Generally speaking, it didn’t used to be the most salubrious area,” admits Charlie Adcock, the director of Hamptons’ Islington branch. However, he points out, a rash of new developments has considerably upped the property value.
“King’s Cross went from being a bit of a red light district to somewhere that’s sought after,” he says, an occurrence aided by the launch of Marriott’s relatively new St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, which marks the region’s southern border.
The revitalisation of the Hillmarton Conservation Area, a web of lanes lined with renovated Victorian flats and plush trees, has also brought in a flux of young professionals.Mainly, though, the draw is the price. “It’s 30 per cent cheaper than properties that are one street over,” he says.
Who lives there?
Adcock says Caledonian Road is an area that’s difficult to characterise, as both the architecture and the demographic are varied. “You won’t find a more diverse area in London,” he adds.
A lot depends on what end of Cally Road you claim as your address. Down south, near King’s Cross, is made up of young professionals. “It’s more arty down there, and you have some indie pubs, bars and restaurants,” he says.
In the middle sits Pentonville Prison, which comprises an “urban mix”. On the north end, young families vie for leafy brownstones.
Caledonian Road may be one of the city’s best connected ’hoods. It has the Overground, which shuttles residents east in a matter of minutes, and the Piccadilly line, which easily links up to Soho, the City and Green Park. Buses abound, and it’s a 10-minute ride into trendier nabes, such as Camden, Highbury and Highgate.
Don’t move here if…
You’re unnerved by diversity. “I’d say, if you’ve lived an incredibly sheltered life, and aren’t used to areas that are made up of different ethnicities, it might not be for you,” says Adcock. For some, the wealth of languages that erupts on the streets is a bonus. If it doesn’t excite you, then maybe you should look further afield.
The Hemmingford Arms
Where to hang out
The beauty of Cally is there’s something to suit all tastes. Those hankering for class (and cocktails) can find it at The Booking Office, which serves up fizzes and punches from within the gothic Renaissance Hotel.
Those in search of something more down to earth can take advantage of the residing ethnic communities. Petra does some killer Turkish takeaway (tel. 020 3490 1779), while Merkato (ethiopianrestaurant.com) is a good spot to grab some Ethiopian stew.
The Hemingford Arms is a lovely, leafy local, with some wonderfully eccentric touches and sport on TV (capitalpubcompany.com).
Borough Islington Council Tax Band B: £748.12
Travel time to London 20 mins
Tube Caledonian Road (Piccadilly line)
Average room share 1 bed £700pcm
Average rental 1 bed £1200pcm
Average flat 1 bed £250,000
“Caledonian Road gets a bad rap, which is fine by me – it keeps the rent down. Really, it’s quiet and pretty, at least near where I live, and close to other cool places.”
Parkour teacher, 33
“I’m a freerunner. The architecture around here suits what I do. There are a lot of obstacles dotted around, especially in the estates, that make it really good for running.”
“I love how close Cally is to everything. With few exceptions, I can meet my friends in any part of London, and get home at the end of the night with relative ease.”
Photos: Getty, Creative Commons