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6 Unique Things to do in Hampstead

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by Serena Reidy (subscribe)
Freelance writer and avid reader living in the North of London. Check out my blog at www.ramblingsofanotherunigraduate.com
Published August 4th 2022


If you ever want a change of scenery and to explore somewhere new, Hampstead should be at the top of your list. There are so many things to see and do in this charming neighbourhood. Hampstead is such an expansive area that covers West Hampstead, Belsize Park, Hampstead High Street and the Heath, which spans 790 acres itself, and sometimes it's difficult to decide how to spend your time there. Below are some unique things to do in Hampstead.

1. Spot colourful and picturesque houses



One of the things you must do in Hampstead is wander along the pretty streets. Hampstead has many quaint houses and hidden side streets that give the area a true village feel that you wouldn't expect in a major city like London. While Notting Hill might be better known for its colourful houses and doors, Hampstead has some of its own. Head to Flask Walk for pastel-coloured front doors, or Perrin's Lane for a house with a purple exterior. Look out for the house along Frognal that is an Insta-favourite: its walls are covered in greenery for most of the year and adorned with wisteria in late spring. There are also several mews in Belsize Park and behind Hampstead High Street, such as Baynes Mews, Belsize Park Mews, Princess and McCrone Mews.

2. Explore Keats House



Discover more about the life and work of the poet John Keats at his house in Hampstead. Located a few minutes away from Hampstead Heath station, Keats House was where the poet resided between 1818 and 1820, and fell in love with Fanny Brawne. The house is a Grade I listed building and hosts various exhibitions on Keats. Visitors will find books, manuscripts, prints, letters, paintings and artefacts in the museum, along with the engagement ring Keats gave to Fanny. Keats House is open from 11:00am to 4:30pm on Wednesday to Sunday.

3. Find the viaduct



After visiting Keats House, why not stroll through Hampstead Heath and see if you can find the viaduct bridge? The viaduct is one of the hidden gems of the Heath and easy to miss if you're not specifically looking out for it. Dating back to the 19th century, the viaduct was constructed by local landowner Maryon Wilson, who wanted to use it as the entrance to his proposed estate. Fortunately, Wilson's plans to build an estate on the Heath were rejected and the viaduct still stands today. It's surrounded by a large pond that is a popular spot for fishing and makes a stunning backdrop for photographs.

4. Marvel at the Pergola



Despite appearing a lot on Instagram, the Hill Garden and Pergola is still relatively unknown outside the influencer world. The Pergola is a peaceful spot at the top of Golders Hill Park that is perfect for a photoshoot or quiet picnic. It was built in 1904 by Thomas Lawson, and used to be a part of the grounds of Hill House, before the London County Council opened it to the public in 1963. The Pergola is magical at any time of year, but it is particularly gorgeous in spring when the wisteria appears.

5. Wander around Kenwood



Between Hampstead High Street and Highgate lies Kenwood, a former stately home that is now a museum. Take a peek inside the Georgian and Neoclassical building, and admire the collection of portraits from artists such as Rembrandt, Sargent, Hals and Vermeer. Kenwood House is surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens that have appeared in films like Belle and Notting Hill, and are always abuzz with activity: you'll see families and groups of people having picnics at any time of year, and visitors can enjoy concerts in the summer. There are two cafes and a shop in Kenwood.

6. Discover a secret garden



Despite living in North West London for so many years, I'd only recently heard about the World Peace Garden. Tucked away in South End Green, the World Peace Garden is a small oasis that was once a wasteland, full of rubbish and graffiti. It's now a peaceful place where locals go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and learn more about nature. Walking around the garden you'll find an abundance of flowers (including tulips, roses and camellias), a small pond, and a deck with benches and a table. The garden serves as a place for residents to come together and hold numerous events throughout the year, such as tea parties, jazz evenings and chess tournaments.

You don't have to worry about travelling too far to reach Hampstead since it's on the northern line, just a few stops after Camden, and the overground has stations near Hampstead Heath and along Finchley Road. There are multiple buses that stop in the area too.
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Why? Venture to a new part of London this weekend
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