detaulsore If you ask a Londoner what the prettiest neighbourhood in the City is they’ll probably reply with Hampstead. Not only is it beautiful but it makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from London in a small village with beautiful old houses, colourful front doors, endless cafes, cute side streets and a huge green park but actually you’re still in Zone 2 of London City and from the top of said huge green park aka Hampstead Heath, you have an incredible view of the city skyline below reminding you just how close you actually are!
Any day in Hampstead is a good day, trust me I’ve been living here for 8 months (which turned into 2 and a half years) and I love this neighbourhood so much but the weekends in Hampstead are particularly lovely as everyone is making the most of their days off work, leisurely walking around with a coffee and browsing the stores, so whether you live in London or you’re just visiting the capital, here is why I recommend you spend a day in Hampstead and what to do once you’re there!
Firstly how to get there! Hampstead has 2 stations- Hampstead Station on the Northern Line and Hampstead Heath on the overground. (FYI- I’m basing the below on you getting off at Hampstead Underground station)
If you’re not in London already and need to book train tickets to London, be sure to check out The Train Line. I use them all the time to compare the best train times, journey lengths and prices!
Now onto what to do! The first thing I would suggest is checking out the High Street and making sure that you take all the little streets off of the high street too as they are so lovely! Perrins Court is one of my favourites!
There’s an array of places to get breakfast and/or a coffee from the chain cafes of Le Pain Quotidien, to Pauls, to Gails, to the independent cafes like Ginger & White, Coffee Cup and Melrose and Morgan. For a full list of brunch spots have a look at this post: My Recommended Places To Eat Brunch in Hampstead, London.
Hampstead is also home to lovely stores, again a few chain stores and some independent stores. They are however, fairly upmarket stores (Hampstead is pretty fancy!) but if you want a bargain (or at least a bargain in some people’s eyes) then there are also a few charity shops which are more upmarket than you’re usual charity shop elsewhere if you know what I’m saying!
More of my Hampstead Posts:
Once you have had a walk around the High Street then head up Flask Walk which is the little street next to Pauls Bakery. This section of street is only small but it’s lovely, especially with the antiques shop and the florist shops spilling out onto the street.
If you’re hungry or need a sugar pick me up then stop off at Oddono’s Italian Ice Cream shop on Flask Walk, I can tell you first hand that their ice cream is amazing and during the summer there’s usually a queue right out the door to prove it!
From here carry on down Flask Walk Road where you’ll pass by the dreamiest houses with lovely coloured doors and onto Wells Walk Road where you’ll pass by the Burgh House and Hampstead Museum which is a beautiful building and museum if you fancy popping in and they also have a cafe. Alternatively keep going straight, straight, straight until you enter Hampstead Heath Park.
Hampstead Heath is a pretty huge park so I would suggest deciding whether you want to visit the famous Kenwood House– a 17th century Country House or whether you want to see the view of the city from Parliament Hill, personally I would head to Parliament Hill and then continue walking around and seeing some of the ponds.
If you’re visiting in the Summer then why not pack a picnic and enjoy a picnic with a city view AND if you’re brave enough then pack some swimming gear and go swimming in one of the swimming ponds!
After you’ve spent enough time in the park the exit at Downshire Hill and walk down South End Road which is where Hampstead Heath Overground station is and there’s a few cafes, restaurants and pubs down here that are perfect for lunch and a drink like The Freemasons Arms pub, The Garden Gate Pub, an amazing Italian place called Mimmo La Bufala or there’s some coffee shops if you just want a coffee.
From there you can take any of the streets back up to the main High Street but Keats Grove is one of my favourites and from the High Street I suggest you carry on up past the Station and head uphill up Heath Street and then just wander the small streets that come off either side of Heath Street, you’ll find that some of these really make you feel like you’re in a village in the Country! Wander until you find your way back down to the station!
I have touched on places to eat but I’m going to mention a few more as there’s so many!
Firstly if you’re coming on a Saturday then Hampstead Food Market is a great place to visit, you’ll find it at Parochial School, (next to Everyman cinema on Heath Street and not too far from Tesco), its open from 10:00-15:00 and it sells an array of fresh foods from macaroons, to fruit and veg, to cakes, to vegan cakes, to pastries, to wine, to cheese. So whether you pick up something to eat there or whether you pick up something to take home you’ll be sure to find something yummy!
Also if you just need a snack and not a sit down dinner then head to the La Creperie of Hampstead, a crepe stand by King William pub. These crepes are pretty famous and people will queue to get one but I’d say it’s worth it!
To add a bit of British to your day then head to The Holly Bush pub which is hidden in the lanes of Hampstead, this pub is ingrained in Hampstead’s history as it was built over 200 years ago. It’s recently been taken over by Fullers Kitchen who have amazing seasonal menus. I was there recently and the food was so lovely and it has such a cosy, traditional British Pub feel to it!
After all of this you’ll probably be ready to leave Hampstead but at the same time you’ll probably never want to leave either!
Hampstead is great to visit any day of the week but as I said there’s such a different vibe on the weekends so if you can visit then then I would!!
Have you been to Hampstead? What else would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn
If you liked this you may like my other London posts: