As one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods of North West London, Hampstead will transport you back in time due to its village-like feel. It is the idyllic peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Hampstead‘s adorable narrow streets and enchanting buildings only add to its charm. Four miles north of central London, it is very convenient for commuters who come into the city for work. Although, with its impressive properties, large parks, and streets filled with history, you may find it difficult to leave!
Due to the high demand for outstanding schools in the area, you will find properties on the market don’t last long. You can find a diverse mix of Georgian houses, pretty period cottages, and large Victorian houses, many of which have been converted into flats. These beautiful properties are surrounded by parks, especially Hampstead Health and its stunning views, which let you be close to nature without feeling rural. A family-friendly area, Hampstead is ideal for those with children or anyone who enjoys green scenery.
Several famous artists, writers, and poets were attracted to this area because of its features. Many of their houses have been transformed into museums, which you can visit. Even today, there are many celebrities living in Hampstead because of its tranquil surroundings and rich history. A lot of locals will agree with us that Hampstead is one of the most desirable places to live!
Architecture style in Hampstead
Hampstead Heath or “The Heath”
Hampstead Heath, simply called “The Heath“, is a 791-acre (320-hectare) park. The Heath has some of the oldest and most beautiful trees in the area. It is a popular place for Londoners, and it is especially well-known for running along Parliament Hill, one of the highest points in London. From this point, you can overlook the fantastic city.
The Heath boasts three public swimming ponds, which were once reservoirs. There is one pond for men, one for women, and one co-ed swimming pond. If swimming in ponds isn’t your thing, The Heath also has a lido, which is very popular during the summer months.
You can either choose to stay on dry land and explore one of the many walking trails around The Heath. The Hampstead Heath Overground Station, which was just renovated, is a great spot for getting to the park and shops and restaurants near The Health. Also very convenient, Bus 24 goes to central London, and bus 46 comes from central London, including Clerkenwell and Paddington.
Something locals here love to do is have a picnic in the park. They either head to one of the local organic artisanal food shops or the local M&S to buy their food. Some restaurants, like Carluccio’s, will gladly prepare a picnic for you to enjoy, so you don’t have to worry about carrying food! Kids have plenty of activities to enjoy, including tennis, croquet, and the Golders Hill Park Zoo.
The Heath is also a pretty popular outdoor wedding venue, and it’s not surprising to see a film crew there every once in a while. It has appeared in several films, the most notable of which is Notting Hill.
Across the street from The Heath, you’ll find the Royal Free Hospital, a major employer of Hampstead residents.
Only a 15-minute walk from The Heath will take you to Hampstead Village, the beautiful and bustling heart of the neighbourhood. Filled with shops and restaurants that could delight anyone, Hampstead Village exudes a pleasant atmosphere that welcomes you with open arms. Hampstead High Street can be easily accessed via the Northern Line. All you have to do is exit the Northern Line at Hampstead Station (not Hampstead Heath Station), and find yourself on the High Street.
This street has several quaint stores, cafes, and restaurants you can enjoy. The stores include high-end brands like Ba&sh, Space NK, Claudie Pierlot, Sandro, Le Creuset, but you can also find hidden gems among the many charity stores in the area. Some highlights are The Coffee Cup, a 50-year-old coffee lounge, and La Crêperie de Hampstead, outside the King William IV pub, which is known for the long queues of people lining up for crêpes. There are several other international cuisines, ranging from French like La Cage Imaginaire to Japanese like Jin Kichi.
You can find the Hampstead Community Market just off the High Street. People think of the market as the heart of Hampstead. It has a butcher, a greengrocer, and a fishmonger, among other food vendors. Kids also love to visit the community market because there are tons of activities for them to enjoy.
Let’s look closely at some streets and landmarks that branch off Hampstead High Street; Perrin’s Court, Flask Walk, The Holly Bush and The Burgh House.
Perrin’s Court is an adorable street linking Hampstead High Street and Heath Street. It is home to an amazing Italian restaurant called Villa Bianca and the hip British coffee called Ginger & White. You can also go to one of the nearby galleries or charity shops, which are housed in some of the area’s most beautiful buildings.
Flask Walk is one of the busiest streets in Hampstead. It is always filled with people and exciting stores with outdoor tables to showcase their goods. You will also not be disappointed if you stop by The Flask to wet your whistle and enjoy some fantastic pub grub! Make sure you enjoy a colourful ice-cream at Oddono’s Hampstead.
The Holly Bush and The Burgh House
A special mention goes to one of the most photographed pubs in London, The Holly Bush, a pub that has been around for centuries. The building in the pub has been grade II listed, and you will see why it is so popular when you visit!
Lastly, The Burgh House can be found on New End Square, between the station and The Health. It was first built in 1704 and is now home to the Hampstead Museum. It is a popular venue for exhibitions and concerts and is sometimes even booked for weddings. The Burgh House is integral to Hampstead’s rich history and a beautiful place to visit.
Belsize Park is a quiet and attractive neighbourhood with several period homes. The area offers a wide range of shops, restaurants, essential shopping options that make it sought after by professionals and families. You might even bump into a few celebrities who call Belsize Park home, including Tom Hiddleston, Jude Law, and Cameron Diaz. You won’t have any trouble getting to the centre of London, and your kids can go to some of the best schools in the city. Belsize Park also has abundant trees and green spaces along Haverstock Hill.
The neighbourhood has several Victorian homes that have been converted into stylish flats. The area is so desirable that people buy individual homes as soon as they go on the market. It’s not hard to understand since the area is lovely, the people are friendly, and you have all the necessary amenities within walking distance. In the last 30 years, Belsize Park has been changed to have stucco buildings from the 1800s.
The area can be divided into three focal points: Belsize Village, England’s Lane, and Haverstock Hill.
Originally a part of the Belsize Park Estate, Belsize Village is now filled with many eateries and shops. You can go grocery shopping at Belsize Organic or enjoy one of the many restaurants in the area. Many of these establishments welcome dogs, including Oliver’s Village Cafe and Calici Restaurant.
England’s Lane is a haven for locals. It is also known for the lovely Chamomile Café, which always seems to have a line of people waiting to indulge in its delicious meals. You can also find The Washington, a classic Victorian pub with an impressive selection of cask ale and a weekly Quiz Night everyone loves.
Haverstock Hill runs from Chalk Farm toward Hampstead. In Haverstock Hill, almost all cafes and restaurants offer outdoor seating, something that is rare in London. There is an excellent organic vegetable store called Pomona, along with the Everyman Belsize Park Cinema, the sister of the Everyman Hampstead on Holly Bush Vale. The Haverstock Tavern and Sir Richard Steele are pubs well known by the locals for their beer and their in historic buildings. Architecturally beautiful and impeccably maintained, the houses and apartments in the area stand out.
Centred between the junction of Finchley Road and Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage is an area named after a 19th-century pub. Like the rest of Hampstead, Swiss Cottage is an affluent area popular among families. It is rather quiet during the day when most of the neighbourhood leaves to travel into central London for work. This is made easy by the Jubilee Line at Swiss Cottage Tube Station. Many of the homes in the area have been converted into apartments, and most are rental properties.
Swiss Cottage is where you will find the Hampstead Theatre, the Odeon IMAX Cinema, Sir Basil Spence’s Grade II-listed Swiss Cottage Central Library, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Every Wednesday 10 am – 3 pm, locals love the Swiss Cottage Farmers’ Market next door to Hampstead Theatre offering meat, vegetables, juice, fruit, bread, and hot food.
The Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre is also quite popular among residents and includes swimming pools, a gym, and a climbing wall. You can also find an excellent spa and indoor swimming pool in the Marriott Hotel on King Henry’s Road.
Primary, Secondary State, and Independent Schools
Primary schools in Hampstead that parents love include Christ Church Primary School, Fitzjohn’s Primary School, Gospel Oak in Mansfield Road, Hampstead Parochial Primary School, New End Primary School, The Rosary RC Primary School, St Luke’s CofE in Kidderpore Avenue, Holy Trinity Primary School, and Fleet Primary School.
Private schools in Hampstead include St Anthony’s Preparatory, Devonshire House, The Academy School, Heathside Preparatory School, Lyndhurst House, Maria Montessori, St Mary’s, Hampstead Hill School, Southbank International School, St Christopher’s, North Bridge House Nursery and Pre-Prep, University College School, and The Hall School.
Secondary schools include William Ellis, Parliament Hill School, and La Sainte Union RC. North Bridge House also runs a private secondary school in Rosslyn Hill.
In addition to these great schools, the Hampstead Community Centre helps the neighbourhood by offering a club for kids after school and activities for kids under 5.
Six international schools and Southbank International School Hampstead are located in Hampstead, and both have good reputations. Furthermore, you can find excellent international schools in the surrounding areas such as The American School in St John’s Wood, the french schools are Le Jardin des Dyvrande, The Independent Primary Stewart International School-La Petite Ecole Bilingue Kentish Town, The Primary and Secondary Le College Francais de Londres, and The French Lycee in Wembley Park.
Hampstead has a rich expatriate community because of its connection to reputable international schools and companies in the area. The American School attracts many Americans to London, and they usually start renting at St. Johns Wood, close to the school. Eventually, they find themselves in Hampstead after discovering just how beautiful this area is.
There are also a lot of French families in Hampstead, since there are a number of French schools nearby.
Hampstead is also home to a prominent Israeli community, and you can find synagogues in West Hampstead, St. Johns Wood, and Belsize Park.
Hampstead also has several international residents due to several small businesses with international significance. This includes Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which eventually relocated to California, and George Martin’s AIR recording studios.
Arts & Entertainment
Hampstead boasts a number of theatres and cinemas that show a variety of plays and movies. The Everyman Cinema in Hampstead Village and Belsize Park, The Hampstead Theatre, and the Pentameters Theatre are among them.
The Freud Museum, Keats House, Kenwood House, Fenton House, the Isokon Building, and the Camden Arts Centre are all worth a visit for art and history buffs. In addition, the Victorian Hampstead Town Hall was recently renovated into an arts centre called Wac Arts. For those who love contemporary art, you will appreciate the Catto Gallery.
Sports & Leisure
The Heath and other health clubs in the neighbourhood have helped fill Hampstead with sports and leisure activities. In the parks, you can walk on different trails or play sports like cricket, tennis, football, golf, swimming, or fishing – have a look at the activities on Hampstead Heath and the best outdoor activities during spring-summer.
On summer Saturdays in Hampstead, people who like music can go to concerts in the open air on the hills below Kenwood House. These events feature various musical styles, from pop and rock to classical and jazz. The performances are performed outside, so spectators can enjoy the summer sun while listening to some of the best live music in the area.
Aside from music, Hampstead hosts various other cultural events and activities. The FT Weekend Festival is a popular event that brings top authors, poets, and intellectuals together for book and poetry readings, panel discussions, and other activities.
Fun fairs on the lower portions of The Heath provide an enjoyable day out for the whole family for those who want a more lighthearted affair. For a more refined experience, you could go to a period harpsichord recital at Fenton House or join the Hampstead Scientific Society or Hampstead Photographic Society for talks and workshops on various topics.
Whatever your interests are, there is always something going on in Hampstead, making it a bustling and energetic place to be! Discover the best things to do during spring time and enjoy the outdoor activities in Hampstead.