London is a pretty incredible city with a lot to offer. It is home to almost 9 million people and millions more visit every year from all over the world.
There are iconic buildings and landmarks everywhere, it is home to one of the world’s most important financial hubs and the city itself is almost 2,000 years old. That’s a pretty impressive wrap sheet- but what if you are looking for something off the beaten track?
Perhaps you’ve visited before and need a new adventure or maybe you just like to do things your own way. Well try visiting Hampstead. It’s actually one of the city’s best hidden gems with a lot to offer.
Amazing coffee shops, farm shops and boutique stores line the terraced streets. It is a well known place for creatives and the city’s celebrities looking to avoid the public eye, and it’s a great place to get back in touch with nature after spending time in the city.
If you’ve booked a room at The Barbican Rooms Hotel, one of the best hotels near Barbican Centre, don’t feel like you’re confined to staying in the city centre; thanks to the tube all you have to do is hop on the Northern Line and ride it up to Hampstead Station- too easy!
Let’s take a look at the very best of Hampstead, and get you started on a new adventure.
Hampstead is one of the best parks in the whole of London- and that’s really saying something.
It’s a wild and open space with rolling meadows, thickets of woods and stunning ponds (more on these later!). It’s a really great place to wander around and get lost in nature.
There are plenty of secrets to uncover, including the Hill Garden and Pergola, a stunning old garden located somewhere in the park.
Keats House Museum is an undiscovered gem, within an undiscovered gem. It’s one of the quietest museums in the area and is a truly wonderful activity for any literary enthusiast.
It was the home of much loved romantic Poet John Keats during his most productive years, and offers a fascinating insight into his life in the area.
The Swim Ponds
The Hampstead Heath Swim ponds are the stuff of legend now. In the summer they are packed with Londoners looking to escape the heat and cool off in the natural ponds.
There is a series of ponds that are divided up into men’s, women’s and mixed gender swimming areas and with the stunning backdrop of the wild and beautiful Hampstead Heath you’d be crazy to not go for a swim!
La Creperie de Hampstead
This is actually now a world famous little spot. You get some hefty queues on sunny days, but believe me when I say it’s worth it!
Opened in 1980 this little stall attracts celebrities and visitors from all over the world, and has featured in many travel guide books too! The food is delicious and the menu is expansive, so choose wisely- or, you know, get several items…
The Sunday Artisan Market
Also known as the Arts Crafts and Artisan Fair, this little market is one of the most underrated in the city.
Offering handcrafted jewellery, clothing, artwork and all sorts of other treasures you’re sure to find a treat for yourself or a loved one here. This eclectic mix of goods and artisanal wears is something really special.
Parliament Hill has to be one of the quietest viewpoints in the entire city.
Sitting at an impressive 98 metres tall, this hill offers a truly stunning view of the entire city skyline. Sit and marvel at the miraculous sight- the only thing disturbing you will be dogs and their owners walking in the park!
The Freud Museum
The Freud Museum was, unsurprisingly, the home of Sigmnud Freud and his family after they escaped the effects of the war in 1938.
It now serves as a well preserved homage to the father of psychoanalysis, where you can view Freud’s personal library and even the couch used by his actual patients.
Gaze Deep into Space
Visit the lovingly refurbished Hampstead Observatory, for a tour of the dome and an insight into the incredible telescope that resides there.
Although the skies of London are pretty bright these days, there is still something to be said for the stunning view from this gorgeous building.
Syrup Pudding and Jazz
Polly’s is a very traditional old cafe that has been in Hampstead for who knows how long. It’s like a little time capsule, and the quaint interior puts you in mind of 60s Britain.
The main thing to try here is the Syrup Pudding- it’s stunning. Based on an old traditional recipe this steamed sponge and caramelised syrup is to die for- you’ll also enjoy the jazz that plays 24/7.
The Spaniards Inn
The Spaniards Inn is pretty much the perfect way to end any day in Hampstead whether it’s been spent exploring the wondrous Heath or shopping at the market.
Oak panelled walls, cosy corners and roaring fires make this perhaps one of the best pubs in the city. The fact that Charles Dickens and John Keats both frequented, and even wrote about this pub should be more than enough reason to spend some time here.
The food is great, the beers are eclectic and the atmosphere is perfect. Wind down with a pint before heading back to the best hotel London City has to offer; The Barbican Rooms on Chiswell Street.
So there you have it, 10 reasons to visit the amazing Hampstead.
It’s one of the most picturesque and exciting areas in the city, and you’ll have plenty to do if you’re visiting for a day, a week or a month!
If you’re working during your time in the city, Hampstead is a great place to break up the work day- have a swim in the great outdoors before returning to the best meeting room City Of London offers at The Barbican Rooms facilities.