Swiss Cottage has a strong reputation as a safe, family friendly neighbourhood. A stone's throw from Regent's Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, it also boasts a range of local, independent shops and restaurants, and offers a variety of cultural and leisure activities. These all contribute to making it an attractive neighbourhood, with a character of its own.
Where does the name come from, people often wonder? Well, the story goes that it was named after an inn called ‘The Swiss Tavern’, built in 1804. This inn was later renamed ‘Swiss Cottage’ (and still exists to date, as one of the area’s most popular pubs), hence the name of the district, which is located in the London Borough of Camden.
The neighbourhood is well connected to the rest of the city by both tube (Jubilee and Metropolitan lines through Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road stations) and bus. The London Overground is also within easy access (through Finchley Road & Frognal and South Hampstead stations). It is close to Primrose Hill and Regent's Park.
Swiss Cottage is a mix of contemporary and heritage architecture, known for its sense of community and its warmth towards residents, both new and old alike.
If you are looking for a flat to rent, Swiss Cottage offers a wide choice of property sizes, from fully detached modern villas, 18th and 19th century cottages, to terraced houses / flat conversions, mews properties and newly purpose-built apartment blocks. The district offers a good concentration of schools, and many child-friendly activities making Swiss Cottage attractive for families.
Average listed rental prices (per month) for a good 2 bedroom flat ranges from £1,900 to £2,500, and from £2,700 to £3,400 for a 3 bedroom flat. Rates will depend on the location of the property.
Dominated by private schools, Swiss Cottage has some renowned institutions such as The Phoenix School, Trevor Roberts, Sarum Hall, Hereward House, the Hall School and South Hampstead High School for girls, to name but a few.
Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre is situated in the heart of Camden close to Finchley Road and Swiss Cottage Jubilee Line tube stations. The centre has something for all age groups. There is a 200+ station state-of-the-art gym for members. More than 100 fitness classes run per week. For swimming enthusiasts, the centre offers a 25-metre, eight lane swimming pool. Kids can also be accommodated in the pool with a separate children’s pool available in the facility. Kids' activities range from swimming, gymnastics, basketball, tennis and squash. Even toddlers are catered for with a bouncy castle and a soft playroom with slides where they can have fun!
Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre is surrounded by a public park, which was designed by Gustafson Porter. It boasts large lawns and fountains, as well as an outdoor children’s playground. Hampstead Theatre’s café bar, adjacent to the park, has an open terrace where you can sit and sip a cup of coffee while enjoying an incredible view over the park.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill are also both within walkable distance (count around 15 – 20 min from Swiss Cottage station). Hampstead Heath is also very close by (count 15 min by car or bus).
Residents of Swiss Cottage will find the neighbourhood is rich in cultural activities. It offers a theatre, a multiplex cinema and a library, amongst other things.
The Hampstead Theatre is a well-regarded theatre for Swiss Cottage locals. It is located opposite the Central School of Speech and Drama. The theatre is well-known for supporting and showcasing new writers and playwrights. Some artists who have had early work produced there include Harold Pinter and Michael Frayn and Hanif Kureishi, among others.
Multiplex Odeon Cinema is housed in a building dating back to 1937. Following a £3m refurbishment in 2011, the cinema hall is well equipped, offering both 2D and 3D screens, including an IMAX 3D screen for movie fans (one of only 5 such screens in London).
THE HIGH STREET & BOUTIQUES
The main shopping street for Swiss Cottage is Harben Parade, which connects Swiss Cottage station to Finchley Road station. It offers a mix of independent stores and chain stores, mostly focusing on groceries and homeware. It is also close to the O2 Centre, with access to a wide range of restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets.
Groceries: Supermarkets in Swiss Cottage include Waitrose and Marks & Spencer's on Harben Parade, Sainsbury's next to the O2 Centre and Budgens, right next to the Leisure Centre
Health & Beauty: Boots, Holland & Barrett
- Amy’s Kitchen is a true find, offering a wide range of homeware products, from basics to harder to find, more specialist items and has very helpful, friendly staff
- EuroSports is an independent sports retailer offering a wide range of gear, for both children and adults, at reasonable prices
- Huggle offers the best selection of baby brands, as well as a variety of classes for both parents and children
Held twice a week – on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Swiss Cottage Farmers’ Market boasts a wide range of food stalls from Thai, to Portuguese, French and Moroccan, with an excellent choice of fresh bread, olives, cheese and other delicatessen from artisan stalls. In particular, Chez Francis et Sylvie, offer a variety of hand-picked French charcuterie and fresh cheese, which they source locally.
THE PUBS & RESTAURANTS
Swiss Cottage is buzzing with vibrant cafés, pubs and restaurants. A few popular options:
- Arabesque - Honest, good value-for-money Lebanese food (Winchester Road)
- Bradleys – Contemporary restaurant serving modern British cuisines (Winchester Road)
- Del'Aziz - Loaded with a variety of Middle Eastern flavours, it offers a menu with casual meze dishes, tagine or shish taouk (Leisure Centre)
- Fiddie's - Serves primarily Italian dishes in a small, comfortable space (Finchley Road)
- Nona Restaurant - Cosy and casual café that serves a good variety of Italian dishes (Fairhazel Garden)
- Sprinkles Gelato Swiss Cottage - Very popular among locals, with a wide choice of ice creams and deserts (Harben Parade)
- Ye Olde Swiss Cottage - Quirky British pub, famous for pie, fish & chips and the good old bangers & mash (Finchley Road)
You can also decide to go for your favourite chain restaurants at the O2 Centre (next to Finchley Road station).
SCHOOLS & MEDICAL FACILITIES
The neighbourhood offers choices of highly rated independent schools and state schools. Swiss Cottage has a number of highly-rated private schools such as The Phoenix School, Trevor Roberts, Sarum Hall, Hereward House and the Hall School.
These are good points of entry to later enrol in one of the area’s top secondary schools, including South Hampstead High School for girls and UCS for boys, More details can be found by searching by postcode, school name or type of school on Schoolsnet.
The Royal Free Hospital is the closest from Swiss Cottage. Founded in 1828, it’s one of London’s major teaching hospitals. The area also has 2 main GP surgeries: Swiss Cottage Surgery, next to the Leisure Centre, and Adelaide Medical Centre, off Adelaide Road.
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