neighbourhood guide:
A quaint country village in the heart of London, Hampstead has been the home of poets and artists for hundreds of years — and now a few supermodels, actors and pop stars, too. Many call Hampstead Heath — 790 acres of rugged, beautiful parkland — the “lungs” of London, and it provides a vital service to cramped city dwellers who need a haven of wild, untamed space without straying too far from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arts & Culture

KENWOOD HOUSE // english-heritage.org.uk/kenwood
This outstandingly beautiful Georgian stately home stands in a rather more manicured section of the Heath (the rest is left to its natural rugged beauty), overlooking the Kenwood lake and folly bridge. Its world-class art collection is a rare delight and free to visit, and includes an impressive 63 ‘old master’ paintings.

KEATS HOUSE // cityoflondon.gov.uk/keats-house
The last home of the seminal Romantic poet before he died in Rome at the age of 25, Keats House is now a beautifully restored museum celebrating the young poet’s life. The tranquil garden is where he wrote ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and where he would meet with his ‘Bright Star’ next-door neighbour and then eventually fiancé, Fanny Brawne.

Pubs

SPANIARD'S INN // thespaniardshampstead.co.uk
There are few places more pleasing to end a wind-swept walk across the Heath than The Spaniard’s Inn. Cosy fires to entice you inside in the colder months, while an enormous beer garden which backs onto the Heath is available for some luxurious outdoor relaxation in the summer. On Sundays, a sumptuous roast is on offer, which has gained quite a following amongst locals in the know.

THE FLASK // theflaskhampstead.co.uk
This historic pub is within easy walking distance to Hampstead Heath; it’s open fire and excellent selection of real-ales make it the perfect place to warm up after a windswept stroll. Lauded by locals as London’s best pub – it’s certainly high on the – you’ll find a friendly, welcoming crowd there, usually found lovingly fussing their dogs (or their children).

Our Hampstead favourites

Caffeine Fix

GINGER AND WHITE // gingerandwhite.com
Found down a charming mews, this lovely cafe is a long-standing local favourite. A relaxed, shady spot serving coffee and cakes for those who have taken a long afternoon stroll on the Heath, or through the village.

COFFEE CUP // villabiancagroup.com/cchampstead
Serving the community their daily cup of coffee since the mid-50s, the world seems to breeze into Coffee Cup, still pleasingly decorated with dark mahogany panelling. Nurse a flat white for long enough and some famous face or another will waft in from the street — it’s a bit like bird-watching, but with celebrities.

Restaurants

MIMMO LA BUFALA // mimmolabufala.co.uk
A lovely place to linger over some authentic Neapolitan pizza and a glass of wine, the atmosphere here is unfailingly friendly and warm. Local Hampstead residents swear they serve the best pizza in London, and judging by the number of Italian expats who eat here on Saturday evenings, they’re probably right.

HĀM // hamwesthampstead.com
A gorgeous neighbourhood restaurant from The Ledbury alumni Matt Osbourne, Hām offers casual yet elegant dining in West Hampstead. Expect modern British food with a menu that focuses on small-plate sharing.

L'ANTICA // anticapizzeria.co.uk
With an idyllic view over the Heath, enjoy authentic, wood-fired Italian pizza as you grab your own little slice of la vita bella in well-heeled Hampstead. The Caputo flour used in all their pizza dough makes for a crispy pizza base and a fluffy crust.

JIN KITCHI // jinkichi.com
A quaint Japanese restaurant which specialises in yakitori, the attentive staff will do their best to fit you into this tiny but popular dining spot — although you might be better off booking ahead to avoid disappointment.

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Outdoor Spaces

HAMPSTEAD BATHING PONDS // hampsteadheath.net
Once a well-kept North London secret but now increasing in popularity, the bathing ponds on the heath are an idyllic spot to cool down on a hot summer’s day – or indeed, any day of the year if you’re brave enough (they’re open year-round, including Christmas Day). The women’s bathing pond is surrounded by a secluded garden, while the men’s pond boasts a diving board and the ‘mixed’ pond is open to all.

PARLIAMENT HILL // cityoflondon.gov.uk/hampstead-heath
A popular spot for children to fly kites on windy days, the viewpoint on Parliament Hill offers one of the most spectacular views of London. On a clear day, the whole of central London rolls out before you – St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin and The Shard (harder to miss) are just some of the landmarks you’ll see peeking through London’s crowded landscape.

HAMPSTEAD PERGOLA & HILL GARDEN // cityoflondon.gov.uk/the-pergola
A breathtaking spot that even Hampstead residents don’t know about, this Georgian terrace fell into disrepair for decades – but its recent restoration means the public can enjoy its overgrown splendour and stunning views once more.