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This north London suburb forms part of Outer London, the largest London borough by population. It borders Hertfordshire to the north, as well as five other London boroughs; Harrow, Brent, Camden, Haringey and Enfield. Barnet is prized for its green space – it has a number of parks and open spaces, many of which have received a Green Flag Award.
Given Barnet’s green credentials, it is also home to many a nature reserve. Most of the suburb lies over London Clay, which is poor for agriculture, so the open land is mainly used for activities such as horse grazing, playing fields and golf courses. Some hay meadows have a large diversity of wild flowers, and the London Ecology Unit has described them as one of Barnet’s most important ecological assets.
Barnet has two Grade I listed buildings, the Church of St Jude, the parish church of Hampstead Garden Suburb, with a Gothic spire, and the Free Church, of similar design but with a concrete dome. They were both designed by Edwin Lutyens, one of the greatest British architects of the 20th century. In addition, history enthusiasts will be keen to explore the nearby Royal Air Force Museum, which is dedicated to the story of aviation, and the British Royal Air Force in particular. For sports lovers, the borough is traditionally home to professional football club, Barnet FC, and since 2013, rugby union premiership club, Saracens FC, have played matches at Allianz Park at Barnet Copthall, which was previously a community sports stadium. It is still used in this capacity thanks to Saracens using movable stands for their matches. As well as athletics facilities, the complex also houses a sizeable swimming pool.
Chipping Barnet has been a market town since the 13th century, and the rest of the area was agricultural. Harking back to its past as a retail centre, the first example of an American- style out-of-town shopping centre was built at Brent Cross in Barnet during the 1970s. What’s more, McDonald’s has its UK headquarters at East Finchley.
In terms of Barnet’s transport links, the A5 is a major road in that it forms much of the borough’s western border. It also happens to be the first Roman-built road in England. The Great North Road also passes through, as well as the Finchley Road and North Circular Road (or A406), while junctions one, two and four of the M1 are in the borough. Bus routes are managed by Transport for London, while Barnet is also served by the northernmost sections of the London Underground’s Northern Line. National Rail services in Barnet are operated by Thameslink on two routes – the Midland Main Line passes through the western edge of the borough, and the Thameslink route runs north to south through London from Bedford to Brighton.
There are 86 primary schools, 22 secondary schools and four special schools in Barnet. Woodhouse College is a single state sixth form college in North Finchley, while the main college in the borough is Barnet College, which occupies five sites. In addition, Middlesex University has its main campus at Hendon, and University College London has its teaching observatory at Mill Hill.
Last year, most property sales in Barnet involved flats, which sold for on average £434,699. Semi-detached properties sold for an average price of £791,953, while terraced properties fetched £625,155. Barnet, with an overall average house price of £643,295, is therefore an expensive place to buy property, largely given its London location and proximity to beautiful, open countryside. It’s the best of both worlds… If you can afford the hefty prices!