Morris, Thackeray and Shakespeare. These three literary Juggernauts by the first name of William, as well as a fellow called Charles Dickens have all written about Clerkenwell, and when you live there, it’s easy to see why. Historically a catalyst of creativity, Clerkenwell now excels in design, the thriving sector powered by a trendy young crowd of professionals who excel and create this dynamic environment. The property within Clerkenwell cater well to this demographic, modern high-end flats and apartments make up the majority of the property market. Several of these hi-tech homes have commanding views of London skylines. Proximity to Farringdon station, a terminus for several high-speed trains, means a quick weekend getaway is on your doorstep.

Fact file

A legacy of Clerkenwell’s heritage still exists today, with some pubs in Clerkenwell licensed to open at dawn in order to serve people finishing their nightshift at the local Smithfields meat market. The Fox and Anchor pub opens at 7am, with The Hope even earlier at 6am.

Clerkenwell Green was a hotspot of revolutionary activity, with the world’s first May Day march held there in 1890, with it remaining the meeting point for the annual event.

In Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens’ famous novel, the characters the Artful Dodger and Fagin teach Oliver how to pickpocket in Clerkenwell Green.

According to popular myth, Russian Bolsheviks Joseph Stalin and Vladmir Lenin sowed the seeds of revolution in a pub now known as Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green.

Architecture and property

With the industrial revolution came a wave of commerce. Factories and mills populated by locals working night and day, breweries churning out barrel upon barrel daily. Whilst watchmakers and other craft shops worked during more sociable hours. Now in the modern era the local trade has evolved to cater to creative businesses, with architecture firms more frequent here than anywhere else in the world. A result of this has meant the area has come quite a hub of activity for creative professionals from multiple sectors.

Clerkenwell has a variety of property from many eras of London’s history. It continues to host a livestock market in Smithfield, an 800 year old tradition for example. Surviving 17th century buildings are on the market along with post world war 2 as well as inter war properties. Mainly flats and apartments, popular choices include Dance Square, Kingsway Place and Brewhouse Yard. These contemporary developments are popular with the many young professionals living and working in the area. Those who require more space have eloquent terraced Georgian and Victorian townhouses located on City Road and Chequer Street. Grade Listed estates from the 1960s are also found in Clerkenwell, Spa Green and Golden Lane. For quieter living, mews houses can be found on the gated River Street.

There's been a livestock market in Smithfield for some 800 years, making this one of the oldest parts of London. Consequently there's a variety of property here, from 17th century properties around the market to listed inter and post war estates, like the Barbican. The vast majority of properties are flats or apartments, many of which are located in impressive contemporary developments. Brewhouse Yard, Dance Square and Kingsway Place are some of the best, while beautiful terraced Georgian and Victorian townhouses can be found on City Road and Chequer Street. There are also some 1960s estates – like Spa Green and Golden Lane, which are listed – and Victorian warehouse conversions. The picturesque flats in Brewery Square and Granville Square are highly sought after, as are the new mews houses on gated River Street.

Going out

Eating:Clerkenwell dwellers are positively spoilt for choice when it comes to culinary choices. With a global food scene, restaurants Sushi Tetsu, Polpo and St John Bar all boast reputations as some of the finest in the capital. The claimed worlds first gastropub, The Eagle, on Farringdon Road is still in business, with newer local gastros opening up, such as The Easton and The Peasant.

Markets: Unlike other areas of London, Clerkenwell also boasts a market industry. Haven for a foodie, not one but three of London’s best food markets are within Clerkenwell. Exmouth Market, positioned centrally in Clerkenwell, with cafes and restaurants behind along the street such as Moro and Caravan. Smithfield Market is the largest wholesale meat market in the country. To get an authentic Smithfield experience, you’ll need to be up early up in the morning to observe the traders set up their stalls. Leather Lane Market is a jungle of eccentric stalls, with a variety of goods on sale. From bags to baguettes. Whitecross Street Market is the place to go for a quick takeaway lunch, with City workers and students taking advantage of the wide array of affordable choices on offer.


Culture: Clerkenwell may not be ram packed with facilities and multitude of choices that other areas of London can boast, but the culture that it does have are exceptional in quality.Sadler’s Wells Theatre, one of the world’s best contemporary dance venues draws in crowds local and afar, with performances happening all year round, said to draw in half a million people a year. Not too far away is Barbican centre, theatre, cinema, music and art performances happen on a daily and weekly basis, perfect for a weekend date with friends. Clerkenwell Design Week, showcases domestic and international design culminating in events and exhibitions which take place annually in the month of May.

Local amenities

Although for Clerkenwell’s many markets make for great shopping, for more a more conventional shop, Clerkenwell has branches of the major supermarkets. St John Street has a large Waitrose.

Those of a socialist leaning will feel at home in Clerkenwell, as the Marx Memorial Library, is here. With nearly 50,000 volumes about Marxism and Socialism available to delve into as well as many lectures and classes on the subject. For a less political education, Finsbury Library on St John Street is a well-furnished library, with Islington Local History Centre and the Islington Museum under its roof.

Staying active in Clerkenwell isn’t too difficult, outdoor football pitches at Finsbury Leisure Centre make for a great summers day of fun, or relax in the many baths at Ironmonger Row Baths. For something focused and try Gymbox.

If you’re looking to primp yourself up, The Rosebery Rooms day spa is a great choice, with massages and acupuncture as well as much more on offer.

For grooming, men can go The Wacky Barber for a neat and friendly service.

Clerkenwell hosts the oldest Italian deli in England, Terroni of Clerkenwell. Established in 1878 and still open today, locals enjoy authentic Italian produce.

Green spaces

Clerkenwell might be an urban neighbourhood but there are green spaces to be found if you know where to look. Spa Fields, tucked behind Exmouth Market, is a busy park with an unusual adventure playground providing an oasis of greenery in this central area. Popular with locals at weekends, the park is packed with office workers enjoying lunch al fresco during the working week. There are several other small gardens in the area, such as Myddelton Square Gardens and St James.

Although it is an urban neighbourhood, there are green spaces around if you know where to look. Behind Exmouth Market for example is Spa Fields, a well frequented park with an adventure playground. Small gardens are in the area on roads you may not expect, such as Myddelton Square Gardens and St James.

Changing times

In the past 20 years Clerkenwell has been transformed from a mainly working area to a popular and desirable residential area. This is largely thanks to the impressive blocks of flats popping up throughout the neighbourhood, including Rosebery Avenue and Clerkenwell Quarter, where apartments are designed around a private landscaped garden. The Paramount Building is a converted warehouse with a great location on St John Street.

Clerkenwell has seen much change in the last 20 years, blocks of flats popping up every where in the area, places like Rosebery Avenue, and Clerkenwell Quarter has seen Clerkenwell move from mainly a industrial area into a residential district. Planning permission for more luxury apartments mean Clerkenwell is only going to grow in the future.


Tube: Farringdon station is the closest Tube station to Clerkenwell, although Angel, King’s Cross, Chancery Lane and Barbican stations are all nearby. Farringdon is in Zone 1 on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines. The other stations provide access to the Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Central Lines.

Rail: Farringdon is also a mainline railway station, where trains run to a variety of destinations including Bedford, Brighton, Luton and Sutton.

Bus: Clerkenwell’s central location means it has many bus routes running through it. These include the 17 (to London Bridge), 38 (to Victoria), 55 (to Oxford Circus) and the 243 and 341 (to Waterloo/Wood Green and Waterloo/Northumberland Park respectively), which are both 24 hour services.

Road: A short drive from the A1, meaning locals can be on the M1 in just half an hour.

Cycle: It’s just a 15 minute cycle to either London Bridge or Oxford Circus. There is a strong cycling community in the area, with some locals campaigning for a ‘Cycling Boulevard’ between Old Street and Bury Place running along Clerkenwell Road.

Getting away: For a quick break, locals can reach London City airport in half an hour by car or 50 minutes by public transport. Luton Airport is also easily accessible with Thameslink trains taking you there in under 40 minutes.