Hampstead Hill Gardens and Pergola

So you think you know London? – Hampstead

Hampstead is a charming slice of the English countryside conveniently nestled in-between zones 2 and 3. Sometimes referred to as “Hampstead Village”, it is a great place to visit if you don’t have time to take a train across the UK and want to see something a little less hectic than Central London. Boasting one of the largest green spaces in the city, it’s also a great place to get some fresh air, a picnic or an outdoor swim in the summer.

How to get there:

There are two ends to Hampstead – the village area and the heath area. For the village, take the Northern Line to “Hampstead” tube station (easily accessible from most of the major train stations – Charing Cross, King’s Cross, Euston and London Bridge). To get to the heath, you’ll need to use the overground to “Hampstead Heath” overground station, which is accessible from either West Hampstead or Highbury and Islington.


What to do:

Go Swimming

Hampstead Heath is one of the few places in London you can take a swim outside in natural bathing ponds – if you can brave the unreliable English summer! There are several options including men’s, women’s, and mixed ponds, along with a Lido (fancy word for a swimming-pool). It’s super affordable with adult tickets ranging from £2- £4, so try it out for a unique London experience.

Hampstead Heath Ponds

Check out the view

Parliament Hill on the heath is one of the best viewpoints to see all of London’s impressive skyline. From the high-rises of the city, to London’s tallest building – The Shard, to the BT tower in Fitzrovia, you can take in the whole panorama. It’s also totally free to visit, so take a picnic and enjoy the view!

Watch a film

If the weather isn’t going to let you be outside for long (and let’s be honest, it’s England, so that’s to be expected), Hampstead has one of my favourite cinema chains right outside the tube station – The Everyman. A small independent location, this is not your average cinema experience. The seats are sofas and they even offer table service delivering alcoholic drinks and burgers from the restaurant next door (fantastically named Spielburger). Although the Everyman does offer some of the main blockbusters, it’s more famous for housing a healthy selection of arthouse films at any given time. Adult tickets range from £13 – £16 depending on the seat.

Everyman Cinema Hampstead
Everyman Cinema, Hampstead

Pick up an antique

Steer clear of the tacky tourist souvenirs and grab yourself a real London antique from Hampstead Antique and Craft Emporium to remember your trip! Located a couple of minutes walk away from the tube station (12 Heath Street to be precise), enter and you’ll find yourself in a rabbit warren of quirky shops where you are bound to find something special. I absolutely love browsing through these little independent shops on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.

Get cake!

What day is not instantly improved by cake? If you’re feeling peckish, be sure to stop at the traditional Hungarian Louis Patisserie just outside the tube station. It’s by far the best place to fulfil your sweet tooth in Hampstead. They have a fresh new selection of cakes every single day, so prepare to be surprised by the delicious treats they have in store!

Visit Kenwood House

Set amongst beautiful grounds, Kenwood House is a hidden gem in North London. With breathtaking interiors and a stunning art collection to boot, it can rival any stately home in England. Founded between 1616 and 1690, the house went through numerous refurbishments and remodelling before becoming the incredible site we see today. Free entry for all and easy access from the Hampstead tube station makes this a perfect afternoon visit for the whole family.

Pergola, Hampstead

Where to eat:

La Cage Imaginaire

A traditional French eatery in one of the most scenic streets in Hampstead, La Cage imaginaire is perfect for a lazy lunch or a romantic dinner. It’s very cosy (read: small), so make sure to book in advance if you want to eat here! Its prices are mid-range to expensive, but the intimate décor and excellent service make it worthwhile.


Villa Bianca

Villa Bianca is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Hampstead, along yet another cute cobbled road near the tube station. It has a contemporary Italian menu paired with an extensive wine list. In the summer you can dine alfresco among the many flowers on the small balconies overlooking the street. It’s also a little pricy, but perfect for a treat or date-night! This restaurant does get busy, so make sure you book ahead to avoid any disappointment.



If you want to eat dinner like a true Brit, forget fish and chips and get yourself a curry from Paradise! With Chicken Tikka Masala as one of our nation’s favourite dishes, it’s safe to say that a curry and a pint on a Saturday night is something of a British institution. Paradise is one of the best curry houses in London (in my humble opinion), so give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Have you been to Hampstead? What did you think? Did I miss off any of your favourite activities here? Let me know in the comments! 🙂 

45 thoughts on “So you think you know London? – Hampstead

  1. Got to agree the view from Parliament Hill is one of the best in London. I remember many years ago they used to have Kite Fighting competitions there. Do you know if that still goes on? Nice post and some bits of Hampstead I never knew about.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a few years ago Lizzie. Members of the Chinese community used to meet and they had razor blades attached to the tails of their kites. The aim was to cut the cord of the opponents kite. It was spectacular to watch, but maybe health and safety have banned it now.


  2. Oh my gosh, this looks like the ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban life… and it’s so close to central London! I’d love to visit here one day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to live pretty close to Hampstead, so we spent a lot of time exploring the Heath. I love it when the bluebells are out!

    My favourite place is in your photos, but you didn’t mention it, the pergola and hill gardens. I think they are my favourite secret (ish) place in London. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you are right, I just kind of lumped it together with the heath, but the Pergola and Hill Gardens are so much more than the heath! They are my favourite secret(ish) place too haha! Oh wow – I’ve not actually seen the heath with bluebells, it sounds beautiful! I’ll have to check it out this April!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooh you’ll love them. There are some good patches near Kenwood House. We found some pretty patches in the woods that were all different colours, so white bells, pink bells and bluebells. 🙂

        If you like bluebells though, we found the best bluebell woods in weekend walks in Kent. I’ll miss them this year. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have yet to make it to London, but it’s definitely on my list! I’m so glad to know about Hampstead and all it has to offer! Everyman Theatre sounds perfect! A movie and a meal? What could be better on a rainy day? And the natural pools sound like a place I could not miss! Thanks for sharing this little slice of London!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I began reading this post thinking no, I don’t think I know Hampstead.. But now I do!!
    Thanks for the great guide!! Next time I’m in London, I’ll have to make the effort to get there. Also, LOVE the name of that cinema-restuarant – Spielburger?? Excellence. Well, done to whoever thought of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is beautiful! I think you could see the majority of it in one day, but you could stretch it out to two days if you did the village and the heath separately! You could easily spend a whole day in the summer swimming in the ponds, and having a picnic on the heath! 🙂 I hope you make it there one day, and let me know if you do! 🙂


  6. I haven’t been to Hampstead in years but this has really tempted me to go back! The Hungarian bakery sounds so tempting because I developed such a taste for Hungarian cakes when I was in Budapest & I’m also such a fab of the Everyman cinema chain- we sometimes go to the Canary wharf branch but now no normal cinemas seem the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you are so right – normal cinemas are rubbish in comparison now I’ve been to an Everyman! Definitely go and try the Hungarian bakery – it’s delicious! My tip would be to go for lunch or early afternoon, as later in the day they tend to start running out of some of their cake options!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s