The station was opened by the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) on 1 March 1933 on its line to High Barnet. It opened to serve new housing developing in the area and was built with only modest station structures from the outset. The section of the High Barnet branch north of East Finchley was incorporated into the London Underground network through the "Northern Heights" project begun in the late 1930s. West Finchley station was first served by Northern line trains on 14 April 1940 and, after a period where the station was serviced by both operators, LNER services ended in 1941.
The main entrance is in Nether Street; there is a small front garden between the pavement and the building containing the booking office, though it is not accessible to the public (there are high fences on each side of the path). Access to the northbound platform by wheelchair and with push-chair is straightforward, though it is necessary to cross a footbridge to reach the southbound platform. Although there is an entrance directly onto the south-bound platform, it is only open during the morning rush hour.
Connections: London Bus routes 82, 125, 221, 326 and 460 and night routes N13 and N20 serve the station.