Why I live in Queen's Park: celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight on his ‘funny little unknown area’ of London

Sam McKnight (Daniel Lynch)
Sam McKnight (Daniel Lynch)

I live in a cosy little corner of London between Queen’s Park, West Hampstead and Cricklewood.

I came here 12 years ago from Maida Vale and it’s a funny little unknown area, full of half a dozen streets of Edwardian houses.

This whole area was built in 1905 and consists of mostly detached, good-sized houses with massive gardens. Like all of London, it’s very mixed. When I moved here, it was full of bedsits but, since then, many of them have reverted back into being family homes.

When I walk the dog I can see how people have renovated them — it’s a conservation area so there are lots of hoops for them to jump through.

It’s quite different from the way it was 12 years ago.

The Salusbury on Salusbury Road is a preferred pub (Daniel Lynch)
The Salusbury on Salusbury Road is a preferred pub (Daniel Lynch)

Eating and drinking

I walk the dog in the morning to Café Plus on Mill Lane, which is a workman’s café that opens at 7am. I get a lot of my protein from eggs, so I’ll get fried eggs or an omelette. I don’t eat much meat, but sometimes I’ll get a bacon sandwich with my cup of tea.

I still go down to Maida Vale as it’s only five minutes away, and there’s an amazing pizza place, Le Cochonnet on Lauderdale Parade, that’s been there a long time.

I don’t drink so I don’t really go to the pub, but I like the Black Lion on West End Lane as they do a great Sunday roast and The Salusbury on Salusbury Road.

McKnight's garden is his preferred workout venue (Daniel Lynch)
McKnight's garden is his preferred workout venue (Daniel Lynch)

Where I work out

I haven’t been to the gym in 10 years as I like training outside.

I used to work out with a personal trainer at the Paddington Rec but I discovered Zoom and now I work out in my garden as it’s much handier, plus, it means I can come inside if it’s raining.

To commune with nature

I have an incredible garden where I grow my own vegetables from seed. I’m also growing tulips and daffodils; it’s a mini-paradise. I moved here because of the garden.

The Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market happens on Sundays (Daniel Lynch)
The Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market happens on Sundays (Daniel Lynch)

Grocery shopping

I get my groceries at Sainsbury’s and the Co-op and there are multiple branches around here. I also gravitate to M&S on West End Lane in West Hampstead and Brent Cross.

On Saturday mornings there’s a farmers’ market on Hampstead Street and, on Sundays, there’s the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market.

There’s also Planet Organic on Salusbury Road and a local Irish butcher called Harte’s on Kilburn High Road that I go to. I like to pick up an occasional steak from there.

Culture fix

There’s the Kiln Theatre on Kilburn High Road, which has a cinema, but I don’t go very often. If I go to a museum, I usually go elsewhere on the Jubilee line.

If it's local, McKnight prefers to walk to get around (Daniel Lynch)
If it's local, McKnight prefers to walk to get around (Daniel Lynch)

Getting around

If it’s local, I’ll walk. I have a puppy and, if dogs aren’t allowed, I don’t go.

I do a lot of walking, but I drive into central London. I’ve always driven a car loaded up with bags for work, so I’m used to driving around. I rarely go into town now and, if I do, I save up all my trips for one day.

If I’m going east, I take the Overground. It’s handy to get everywhere from here — except south.

Dream street

I’m on it already!

Queen's park is
Queen's park is "quiet, convenient, and leafy" says McKnight (Daniel Lynch)

Something you only see in Queen's Park

Every garden around here has one fruit tree in it that dates back hundreds of years because this area used to be an old dairy and fruit farm.

What's the catch?

The walking-distance shopping area, Kilburn High Road, isn’t that nice. You have to go a bit further for better places.

In three words

Quiet, convenient, leafy.

Sam McKnight’s multi award-winning haircare collection is available now at sammcknight.com.


St Eugene de Mazenod Roman Catholic Primary School, St Mary’s Kilburn Church of England Primary School and St Luke’s CofE Primary School are all nearby primary schools rated outstanding by Ofsted, while St Augustine’s Federated Schools: CE High School has been rated a good secondary school.

Further afield, Paddington Academy is rated outstanding. Private schools include Maida Vale School.

What it costs

Buying in Queen's Park

Average flat price: £1,507,568

Average house price: £545,803

Renting in Queen’s Park

Average flat price: £1,890 pcm

Average house price: £3,510 pcm

Source: Hamptons & Land Registry