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A Day Out In... Hampstead


Photo by Daria S.


Located on the Northern Line and nestled in the heart of north-west London, Hampstead beckons with its quaint streets, cultural landmarks, and tranquil ambiance. Whether you fancy a calm Sunday stroll away from the bustling energy of central London, are an art lover, or are a history enthusiast, Hampstead offers something for everyone. Here is a guide to some of the best places that this neighbourhood has to offer. 


A Tranquil Start: Green Spaces 

Begin your day in the vast green space known as Hampstead Heath. Not only does it provide a complete view of London’s skyline, but it is also surrounded by ponds and wildlife. If you are lucky enough, you’ll run into some of the Hampstead residents, like Ricky Gervais, Harry Styles, or Sacha Baron Cohen, on their daily walks. From there, head towards the English Heritage’s Kenwood House, famously featured in the ‘Notting Hill’ film with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Not only does it provide free entry for its prominent art collection, but it also features a gift shop, bookstore, and conveniently located café. During the warmer summer months, you can enjoy a cool drink in their outside seating space as well as a picnic and a quick dip into the ponds of the park. 


Another beloved garden is The Hill Garden and Pergola. Initially purchased by Lord Leverhulme in 1904, it was the site of extravagant garden parties and a place for his family and friends to escape to in the long summer days. After his death, the gardens represented a sense of faded beauty, with the columns being consumed by ivy and a once tamed nature became uncontrollable. 


Lastly, there is the World Peace Garden located right by the Hampstead Heath Overground station. Residents rescued this neglected area, turning it into a woodland sanctuary with ponds, a wishing well, wood chimes, and ceramic tiles.


A Coffee Boost and Antique and Charity Shopping 

Fuel up for the day with a coffee at local favourites like Kape Barako, a telephone box that serves hot drinks, milkshakes, and other snacks. Alternatively, on Heath Street, there is also Ginger at the Window or Tania’s Café and Deli. While on that street, consider exploring Hampstead Antique and Craft Emporium or Keith Fawkes on Flask Street. 


As you reach the high street, there are a collection of charity shops like Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, Mary’s Living and Giving Shop, and the community centre and market. If you are searching for the perfect study spot, consider Waterstones, which has a café upstairs, comfy seats, and free Wi-Fi.


Pub Lunch

Hampstead has a vast array of pubs to offer, all of which are on the more expensive side. On Hampstead High Street is the King William IV pub, documenting on its walls all the famous people who once lived in Hampstead. A short walk from the high street is the gastropub The Holly Bush, which has live music and feels like the perfect place to hide away in bad weather with candle-lit tables and dim lighting. Saving the best for last is The Spaniard’s Inn. It is extremely difficult to get a table here, and reservations must be made at least a month in advance. Despite this, it arguably serves one of the best fish and chips in London. 


Late Afternoon: A Cultural Exploration 

Discover contemporary art at the hidden gem, Peggy Jay Gallery, nestled at the back of Burgh House, which includes the Hampstead Museum. There is also the National Trust’s Fenton House, a beautiful 17th-century merchant’s house with a walled garden, a collection of porcelain, and a display of early instruments.


As is still the case, Hampstead was filled with famous celebrities, one of whom was the renowned poet John Keats. His house, which is now a museum commemorating his life and work, is free for the public to view. Lastly, the inspiration for P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins “Admiral Boom” is Admiral’s House, located directly by Hampstead Heath. Here, Admiral Matthew Barton retired to Hampstead after his naval career, firing saltures on Britain’s naval victories and royal birthdays.


As the sun sets over Hampstead, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the blend of history, art, nature, and food that make Hampstead a true haven for those seeking a day out of the city. 


 

Edited by Faye Elder, London and Beyond editor



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