Hampstead, or Hampstead Village as it’s known by locals is one of the nicest areas of London. It’s located in zone 2, just 3 stops on the tube away from the busy area of Camden Town yet when you arrive it’s peaceful, historic and very pretty.
Hampstead is the perfect place to visit no matter what time of year or day of the week but it is particularly nice on a weekend as locals will also be out, coffee in one hand, dog in the other enjoying their neighbourhood.
I love Hampstead and was lucky enough to live there for 2 years so here are my top things to do in Hampstead.
by Ellie Quinn;
Ellie Quinn runs the Travel and Wellness Blog ‘The Wandering Quinn’. She has been a travel addict since 2010 and since then she hasn’t stopped and has now visited over 50 Countries.;
What to see and do in Hampstead?
1. Walk Around Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is the main focal point of Hampstead and the reason why most people visit.
This huge park offers walking trails, ponds and an incredible view of the City from the top of Parliament Hill.
If the weather is nice be sure to take a picnic and join the many Londoner’s that will be enjoying the sun on Hampstead Heath.
2. Get a Coffee and Explore Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath
Kenwood House is a place I recommend you walk to in Hampstead Heath park, it’s a beautiful former stately home and you can head inside to see the interior of the home or enjoy the gardens from the outside.
There’s a cafe and toilets next to the house so it’s a lovely spot to stop at on a walk around Hampstead Heath, especially on a Sunday morning.
3. Visit The Hill Garden and Pergola in Hampstead Heath
The Hill Garden and Pergola is located in Hampstead Heath but it’s located in the North Western section and because of this not as many people go but that’s their loss.
If you’ve been to Hampstead Heath before and you’ve already seen the view from Parliament Hill, my recommendation would be to head here instead.
It’s an incredibly impressive, old building with beautiful flower gardens that you can walk around and best of all, it’s free and it’s usually quite quiet and peaceful.
4. Go House Spotting in Hampstead Village
Hampstead is full of beautiful houses and because of this it has some of the most expensive houses in London.
Hampstead Village has many streets and narrow lanes that are easy to navigate so be sure to take any street that takes your fancy and find some #housegoal houses.
My recommendation is to look along the streets of Downshire Hill, South End Road, Perrin’s Court and Hampstead Grove
— Ellie Quinn
5. Learn about Hampstead at the Hampstead Museum
Hampstead Museum is located inside Burgh House which is a beautiful building, one of my favour-ites in Hampstead actually.
It’s free to enter and the museum provides some insightful history on the Village of Hampstead so it’s worth popping in as you walk by.
There’s also a courtyard outside where you can enjoy a coffee or get some lunch. The courtyard is surrounded by trees and feels like a little oasis within the quiet streets of the Village.
6. Follow in John Keats Footsteps
John Keats, the famous Romantic Poet had and still has a huge influence on Hampstead, many streets and buildings are named after him. Keats House Museum was once his home and here you can read more about his live and his work.
It is very close to Hampstead Heath so you could visit the museum and then go for a walk around the Heath. Note that it is closed on a Monday and Tuesday.
7. Marvel at Fenton House
Fenton House is Hampstead’s oldest mansion and it’s a very impressive building as it’s a 17th centu-ry merchants house. If you’re into music or art, you can go inside and see hidden treasures and col-lections of early musical instruments and ceramics.
If you do not want to pay to go inside I think it is still worth walking past as it’s in a really nice area of Hampstead full of big houses and small side streets, I love walking around this area of Hampstead.
8. Go back in time at 2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road was designed by architect Ernő Goldfinger and completed in 1939 however it was designed to be modernist home and at the time was very futuristic.
These days it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other Victorian Houses that line the street and you can visit the inside of the house and see all of the original furniture.
2 Willow House is very close to Keats House Museum so seeing them both is a good idea.
— Ellie Quinn
9. Go Plaque Spotting around Hampstead Village
Hampstead’s buildings are not only beautiful but they hold a lot of history.
Due to so many famous people, especially writers, poets and artists having lived in Hampstead the houses have a lot of plaques on them indicating who lived there or what the building was used for, it’s really interesting and if you like history or have a passion for writing and poetry, I’m sure you’ll find this really interest-ing too.
10. Swim in the Bathing Ponds in Hampstead Heath
Something that is really unique to Hampstead Heath park is that it has 3 swimming/bathing ponds. One for Females, one for Males and one that is Mixed.
They are open all year round but of course they are most popular in the Summer, and in the Summer they do get very busy.
I recommend going for a swim but not trying to get a space on the lawn by the pond as that’s where it’s really busy. In-stead use the lawn outside of the pond area.
They have full changing facilities so if you fancy an outdoor swim in the ponds bring your swimwear on your trip to Hampstead just in case.
— Ellie Quinn
11. Shop in Hampstead’s Charity Shops
There are lots of Charity Shops in Hampstead and you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re all pretty nice and fancy, because of course this is Hampstead!
Thanks to the many people who live in and around Hampstead that are quite well off the Charity Shops tend to have some really nice pieces of clothing in, think designer brands and expensive items that still have tags on.
12. Wander up Flask Walk
Located slightly down the hill from Hampstead Heath Tube Station is the small lane of Flask Walk. This lane encapsulates Hampstead so well, its quaint and old and home to many long standing inde-pendent stores.
You can check out the Antiques at Keith Fawkes Antique shop, get an Ice Cream at Oddono’s, get Sushi at Sushi Hanna or get a beer at The Flask Pub.
13. Spend Saturday Morning at the Parliament Hill Farmers Market
Saturday is a great day to visit Hampstead as locals and visitors are walking around enjoying the area and especially Hampstead Heath park.
Every Saturday from 10:00-14:00 is the Parliament Hill Famers Market, its located at the far and bottom end of Parliament Hill near Highgate Road and the school.
It’s great if you want to buy some fresh produce to take home but if you don’t it’s still nice to visit and get a coffee and fresh snack from.
14. Go to the Everyman Cinema
If you fancy going to Hampstead but the weather is not that good, a good indoor activity in Hamp-stead is to go to the Everyman Cinema.
There are only a few Everyman Cinema’s in London and the concept is watching a film on a sofa with food and drink service.
It really is a unique cinema experi-ence and beforehand you could get lunch or dinner at one of Hampstead’s brilliant restaurants or cafes.