A leafy suburb in North London, Hadley Wood teeters on the edge of the border between Greater London and Hertfordshire. It is located in the London Borough of Enfield and sits close to Barnet.
Tudor-style, Edwardian and newly developed homes abound; for visitors, the four-star West Lodge Park Hotel is the pièce de resistance when it comes to finding somewhere to stay in North London.
Lancaster Avenue and Cockfosters Road display homes that footballers’ wives would be – and are – proud of.
You could spot Spice Girl Emma Bunton and rugby player Kyran Bracken while you’re out shopping.
Hadley Wood is particularly family-oriented. Trent Country Park – once a hunting ground for Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James I – has dedicated walking, cycling and horseriding routes for exploring its land. The Wildlife Rescue Centre, home to deer, foxes, rabbits and birds, is also a treat for the children. Hadley Wood Village boasts a parade of independent shops comprising a gym, restaurant, café, estate agent, newsagent, hairdresser, dry cleaner and beauty salon.
Hadley Wood Primary School and Monken Hadley Church of England School have great reputations.
Hadley Wood has an eponymous railway station with trains to Welwyn Garden City to the north and Kings Cross and Moorgate to the south. Infrequent bus services are available and Cockfosters and High Barnet Underground stations are nearby.
The nation’s sweetheart Cheryl Cole and her footballer ex-husband Ashley used to live in the area.
Eating and drinking:
Thai Eighteen– they serve yummy and authentic Thai food; the soft shell crab and king prawn red curry are particularly good. Be warned though, it’s all very spicy, in a good way. 18 Crescent West (020 8275 0268)
The Cock and Dragon – perfect for a more laid-back evening. This is an old-style pub with a great atmosphere and a tasty Thai menu. 14 Chalk Lane (020 8449 7160; www.cockanddragon-cockfosters.co.uk)
The Hadley Oak – this pub is right beside the beloved Hadley Common and has a more contemporary style – though it looks very old school from the outside. This is the place to go for glitz and glam, there’s a great cocktail menu so you can really make a night of it. 149 High Street (020 8440 0799; www.hadleyoak.co.uk)
The Present – ideal if you’re looking for a gift. They have a great range of homewares, jewellery and baby stuff, plus a huge selection of really unusual cards. 220-222 High Street, Hadley Green (020 8441 6400;
The Chocolate Shop – stocks exquisite little handmade chocolates – you can pick out a selection of your favourites. 2 Cockfosters Road (020 8449 7615)
The Windmill – at this flower shop you will find a gorgeous selection of wild flowers. The florist is always really lovely, and at reasonable prices. 23 Heddon Court Parade, Cockfosters Road (020 8440 0890; www.windmillflorist.co.uk)
Poisson – the best fishmonger we’ve ever shopped at. The staff are just brilliant: really helpful and always happy to recommend new things. Most importantly, the fish is always delicious. 7 Station Parade, Cockfosters Road (020 8449 0335)
Hob (also known as Hair on Broadway) – We love this salon in nearby Whetstone, it’s so friendly and unpretentious; Alex is a great cutter and Katherine does a fab job with colour. 1280 High Road, Whetstone (020 8445 2216; www.hobsalons.com)