Hampstead has long been one of the most popular day trips for tourists in the city. Indeed, its rich mixture of culture, history and nature make it a truly wonderful district of London to explore. Thanks to its grand and rustic architecture, thriving woodlands and ease of access from the city and hotels like the BW Plus Park Grand London Heathrow, Hampstead has long been a local hangout as well as one for tourists.
Hampstead represents a certain ideal of London, and the many things to do there back up its place in the cultural consciousness. For first time guests of Park Grand meeting spaces near Heathrow Airport, Hampstead may be top of your list of places to visit without even knowing it. The pubs, restaurants and greenery of Hampstead are images that many tourists conjure of the city, even of England, and it’s true that this northwest district has a quintessentially British quality to it.
So if you’re a guest of accommodation near Heathrow wanting to drink in that English charm, Hampstead is as good a place as any to start. This blog will explore some of the best attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy on a first time visit to the historic village enclave.
London is a city that embraces its bodies of water, indeed the River Thames has practically come to define the English Capital. Hampstead Ponds are no different, these thirty plus bodies of water are naturally occurring within the grounds of Hampstead Heath, with three different classifications. Hampstead Ponds Number 1 are strictly nature-focused and are vital habitats for animals in the Heath.
Hampstead Ponds Number 2 allow for fishing and angling whilst the third set – a trio of larger ponds – are reserved for swimming. Once drinking reservoirs for London, these three ponds consist of one for women only, another for men and a third for mixed gender use. These three ponds are designated as “open air lidos” and allow for supervised swimming for anyone over the age of 8 years old. These three ponds have been in use for hundreds of years and though were free to use for more than a century, are now ticketed at the low price of £2.
And from the ponds within to the Heath itself. The beautiful nature reserve spans more than 790 acres and was once part of a large woodland that stretched into the north of London. The woodlands date back millennia, and the Heath itself consists of hilly trails on London clay beds, ponds and grassy fields. With streams, rivers and a vibrant habitat of animals, the Heath is a beautiful example of London as a “green city” and attracts locals and tourists alike over the weekends.
Parliament Hill is located to the Southeast of the Heath and has a view over London that’s perfect for orienting first time visitors of London and hotels near Osterley Tube Station. The steep climb and large ridge are protected under London law and provide a stunning canvas of the Central London skyline.
Indeed, Parliament Hill is rumoured to have been named as such because it is where Guy Fawkes had planned to watch the destruction of the Houses of Parliament from. Previously named Traitors Hill, it’s also where a garrison of Parliament loyal soldiers were based during the English Civil War of the 1640s.
The Freud Museum is situated in the former homestead of Sigmund Freud, one of the founding thinkers behind the theory of psychoanalysis. Freud and hsi family moved here after the Nazi annexation of Austria and was still lived in by the children of the famous psychologist as recently as the 1980s. The house explores family artefacts and research documents pertaining to Freud’s work and includes many rooms that have been restored to their original aesthetic during Freud’s lifetime.
Located on Marsfield Gardens, the Freud Museum was established in the mid 80s after the death of Freud’s daughter and is still overseen by the great grandson of Freud, David Freud, now a tory peer and the architect of Universal Credit.
This cobbled lane and public footpath is located in the heart of Hampstead village, and is a popular shopping spot for book lovers and trinket collectors. With a range of beauty salons, leather emporiums and boutiques, one of the stand out shops is a children’s store dedicated to fairies called Mystical Fairies. Keith Fawkes antique booksellers is also popular, as is The Flask, a Victorian era pub that draws in local crowds- among which are celebrities such as Jonathan Ross and Harry Styles.
The former homestead of Romantic era poet John Keats, this house has been dedicated to the writer since the 1930s. Though Keats only lived in the house between 1818 and 1820 – before moving to Italy for warmer climates where he died of Tuberculosis, many believe that the famous writer wrote his most well known poems whilst living there. The house is on what is now known as Keats Grove and was once a pair of semi detached houses, that were knocked through to create the manor that exists today.
From poetry to politics, Kenwood House is a manor situated on Hampstead Heath that was once owned by William Murray, the Earl of Mansfield. The house itself is now a tourist attraction that is Grade II listed and comes with a garden full of sculptures by world renowned artists Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The house also hosts classical and pop music concerts on its grounds and has within its walls 63 Master Paintings alongside many other historic works.
The Hampstead Theatre is located in the Swiss Cottage area of the area and is one of the most famous off-West End theatres in London. Hosting a range of revivals and new writing, the Hampstead Theatre is home to two theatres, the hundred seat Theatre Downstairs and the Hampstead Main House with a capacity of 325.