Hampstead is located just four miles north of central London, but take a walk down its cobbled streets or along the open spaces of Hampstead Heath and you will feel like you’re a million miles away. This gorgeous hilltop hideaway is home to more millionaires than any other area in the United Kingdom and is a popular hotspot for celebrities. If you’re interested in rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, read on, and learn all about what this slice of London luxury has to offer.
The area has always been considered a getaway from the usual rigours of London life; in the 1800s people would come to visit its pleasure gardens and medicinal spring water, and in the 1900s aspiring writers and poets would take solace, drawing inspiration from its leafy surroundings. During the bank holidays, the Heath was used as a fairground – a tradition that still takes place today.
As you walk around the winding hilly lanes and tree-lined streets you will notice the sheer scale of properties, mostly in the form of scenic Victorian and Edwardian buildings with a dash of new developments. There are spectacular mansions dotted all over, with rental prices starting at around £6,000 per week rising to in excess of £10,000. If that’s a touch out of your price range, don’t worry as there are much more affordable options available within the area. The average price for one bedroom apartments is around £400 per week, with two bedrooms starting at around £550 – as seen in this smart one bed property on Prince Arthur Road which has its own porter, perfect for a professional couple.
Families have always had a strong affiliation with the area and part of this is down to the excellent schools on offer. As a result, three bedroom plus properties are in demand and rentals usually start from £750 per week. If you would like to experience country-style living in the heart of London, this four bedroom Georgian cottage on Lower Terrace is a good place to start.
Living near the Tube is important for most Londoners and Hampstead Underground station on the Northern line provides commuters with excellent Zone 2 travel links. Within 15 minutes you can enjoy the amenities of the West End via Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross, services to Bank take just 20 minutes, and Kings Cross is a 10-minute journey. There is a good bus network taking you into nearby areas such as St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage and Maida Vale, while Hampstead Heath Overground station adds to the wealth of travel options in the area.
You will want to indulge in the distinct village atmosphere and Hampstead High Street is a good place to start. It won’t be long before you’re walking down the street spotting a famous person; seeing a local artist painting a portrait or watching people queue at Le Creperie de Hampstead, a renowned mobile crepe stall that has been a popular street seller for more than three decades. As for amenities, there’s a selection of boutique designer clothes shops such as Jane & Dada and Zana (a favourite with Kate Moss) nestled in with high-street retailers like French Connection and Reiss. Everyman Cinema is the place to be to enjoy a niche movie experience, and why not stop off at movie-themed restaurant, Speilburger, for dinner before you cosy up in front of the big screen?
Whilst we’re on the subject of restaurants, there are more than a few to experience. Piccolo on Heath Street offers fine Italian cuisine, while further up the road is La Gaffe, a French hotel/restaurant that places a strong emphasis on service and has been run by the same family since 1962. If you’re looking for delightful pubs, the Wells Tavern on Well Walk offers delicious food and is often full of locals conversing and socialising. The Freemasons Arms is another popular pub with residents, but make sure you book in advance as it quickly fills to capacity. For more information on London’s finest pubs, check out our best Sunday Roast blog.
You will be forgiven for wanting to spend an hour or two at one of the delightful patisseries with a scrumptious cake and a cup of coffee. Maison Blanc is a perfect spot to while away the hours, and is famous for its freshly baked pastries, Gail’s specialise in making delights that are free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours, and Le Pain Quotidien have a wide selection of organic treats.
With over 790 acres of woods, hills and meadows, Hampstead Heath is an ideal place to enjoy a scenic stroll (and burn off those calories from the delicious cakes in the process!). In the summer, hordes of people flock from across London to sunbathe or take a dip in the Ponds, while the winter sees locals enjoying brisk strolls in the woodlands. Parliament Hill in the south-east corner of the Heath is 322-feet high and affords spectacular views of the London skyline where famous landmarks such as The Shard, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf can be seen. If it’s furry friends you’re after, there’s a wide range of local wildlife including foxes, hedgehogs and over 180 species of birds.
Attractions aren’t hard to come by and it is an excellent area to immerse yourself in culture and heritage. Kenwood House on Hampstead Lane is a majestic villa that displays an art collection which is free to enjoy, as well as offering a children’s games trail and acres of grounds to explore. A must-see in the area is 2 Willow Road, a unique modernist home, designed by Ernö Goldfinger in 1939. Managed by the National Trust, the house is open to the public to admire Goldfinger’s collection of modern art, personal possessions and innovative furniture. The Hampstead Antique and Craft Emporium on Heath Street is a hidden gem that features over 25 independent shops ranging from antique and fine art to contemporary designer and craft items. The only free observatory in London is located near Whitestone Pond, so you can literally get closer to the stars than anywhere else in the capital.
Hampstead is more than just an area to live – it is a unique lifestyle that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Properties don’t stay on the market for long, but if you’re interested in living in the area or want to know more about what accommodation is available, drop an email to us or visit our Hampstead village office where one of our friendly staff will be happy to help.
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