phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
A Cultural Guide to Hampstead

A Cultural Guide to Hampstead

25 November 2016

Stepping off of the Northern line at Hampstead, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d ventured out of London entirely. As one of London’s greenest areas, Hampstead truly is a hub of intellectual and literary history, with beautiful forest and grassland to wander around as well as grand homes that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported into a period drama. Delve into Hampstead’s illustrious history and the fantastic selection of historical attractions, fascinating walks, ghostly pubs, unique cafes and restaurants.

Things to do

Apart from the Heath, Hampstead is perhaps best known for its majestic period buildings that were home to some of the world’s greatest literary figures and intellectuals. Meandering through Hampstead Heath you’ll discover Kenwood House, a fantastic example of 18th century architecture. See the impressive art collection hanging on the walls and the grand library designed by famed Georgian architect John Adams, then amble through the impressive gardens. Described as one of London’s hidden gems, on Hampstead Grove you’ll find Fenton House, the former home of a 17th century merchant. See the 300 year old orchard, enjoy live music from on the museum’s early keyboard instruments and experience an unrivalled view of London from the balcony, akin to Parliament Hill (and not nearly as crowded). One of Hampstead’s star attractions is Keats House, the original home of the world-renowned Romantic poet John Keats. It is now a museum of his life and work, where you can experience Keats’ life and inspirations through fascinating preserved manuscripts and artefacts.



Visit the home of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud, filled with memories and examples of his extraordinary life. Learn more about his work and influence on psychoanalysis through regular exhibitions and gain an insight into his life at Hampstead, with his original psychoanalytic couch on display and his study preserved exactly as it was in his lifetime. When you’ve exhausted the homes of prominent figures and intellectuals, make sure to head to Highgate Cemetary, a London landmark of gothic architecture and one of London’s true gems. See the incredible architectural variety of the tombstones, partially shrouded by the overgrowth of beautiful flowers, ivy and centuries old trees. Continuing the literary theme, some famous writers are buried here, including Karl Marx, George Eliot and Christina Rossetti.

Where to walk

Hampstead Heath is the most famous attraction in the area and arguably London’s best-loved green space. There are vast expanses of grassland where you can enjoy summer picnics or Autumnal walks, as well as incredible ancient woodland to lose yourself in (hopefully not literally). It’s also one of London’s highest spots, and you’ll have panoramic views across the whole of London on Parliament Hill. One of London’s hidden treasures can be found in Hampstead, the beautiful Pergola Hill and Gardens. Walk through a raised walkway and look the spectacular gardens below, overgrown and somewhat faded from a lack of upkeep, but still fantastically moody and atmospheric, perfect for a Winter walk with a difference.



Where to shop

If you’re something of a bookworm, you will be completely spoiled in Hampstead. Just outside the station is Oxfam Books, which has an impressive selection of reasonably priced secondhand books as well as a brilliant music department if you prefer your vinyl over MP3s. The independent booksellers Daunt Books also have a large store here, with a wonderful atmosphere for mulling over books for hours. Finally, in Hampstead Village there is Keith Fawkes bookshop, a slightly chaotic but nonetheless charming little shop, stacked so high with secondhand books that you’ll probably have to maneuver yourself around them.



Where to eat

The baristas at Ginger and White take coffee seriously, with a methodical approach and the very best ingredients sourced from local brewers. It’s the perfect place to grab your coffee before embarking on a trip to the heath. La Creperie de Hampstead is a favourite with locals, bring a little Parisian flavour to the streets of Hampstead. The queues are legendary as people wait patiently to enjoy their handmade crepes and galettes. The Japanese restaurant Jin Kichi is an overwhelmingly popular choice for Asian food, try their famous meat or vegetable skewers and their delicious sushi. The traditional Jewish bagel bakery Roni Bakery is a must-visit as it is an exclusive chain to North London, with an incredible range of delicious artisan options including bagels and salads to grab on the go.



Where to drink

Hampstead is known for its ancient pubs, many of which have some fascinating stories and legends attributed to them. Near Kenwood House you will find The Spaniards Inn, a pub with an impressive history – it was featured in Charles Dicken’s The Pickwick Papers, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and John Keats also allegedly wrote Ode To A Nightingale here. If you’re into ghost hunting it is also said to be home to a few spirits, including 18th century highwayman Dick Turpin. In Hampstead Village you’ll discover the Grade two listed public house The Flask, with preserved Victorian features, a welcoming feel and a gorgeous conservatory. Built in the 17th century, The Holly Bush is a charming pub with low ceilings and cosy corners in the heart of Hampstead, ideal for enjoying a warming beverage after a long walk on the heath.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

National Theatre River Stage 2017 Preview

National Theatre River Stage 2017 Preview

Now in its third year, the National Theatre’s outdoor River Stage returns for 5 weekends throughout late July and August, with a different arts and culture…

Top 5 American Smokehouse Restaurants in London

Top 5 American Smokehouse Restaurants in London

BBQ season is upon us, so of course the heavens have opened. As such, we’re passing on the disposable barbies in the park and getting suited…

An interview with jazz musicians Nubya Garcia and Alfa Mist

An interview with jazz musicians Nubya Garcia and Alfa Mist

There’s something stirring in the London jazz scene. In fact, stirring is somewhat of an understatement. A new wave of jazz musicians have arrived to shake…

A first look at London’s new Postal Museum

A first look at London’s new Postal Museum

London’s new Postal Museum has opened its doors to visitors with a packed programme of family-themed activities over the summer holidays. Unfortunately its main attraction, Mail…

Frau Welt at Hackney Showroom

Frau Welt at Hackney Showroom

A concept cabaret detailing the incredible career of Frau Welt

An interview with photographer Terry O’Neill

An interview with photographer Terry O’Neill

Over the course of his illustrious career, photographer Terry O’Neill has uniquely captured the evolution of pop culture. Through his lens, the charismatic Londoner witnessed and…

Pietro Consagra at the Italian Cultural Institute

Pietro Consagra at the Italian Cultural Institute

The second instalment of the ICI's two part exhibition series on the renowned post-war sculptor.

Dreamers Awake at the White Cube, Bermondsey

Dreamers Awake at the White Cube, Bermondsey

Dreamers Awake charts the lasting influence of Surrealism on female artists. Featuring more than 50 practitioners, from the 1930s up till the present day, and…

+/- Human at the Roundhouse Preview

+/- Human at the Roundhouse Preview

Art and technology intertwine at the Roundhouse next week as award-winning choreographer Wayne McGregor premieres +/- Human, an immersive experience featuring an installation and dance…

Top 5: Vegetarian Restaurants in London

Top 5: Vegetarian Restaurants in London

Meat-free eating is steadily on the rise, with London being named PETA’s most vegetarian friendly city in the world and 2% of the British population identifying…

Most popular

Win a Viennese Afternoon Tea for Two

The Delaunay - Win a Viennese Afternoon Tea for Two

Treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon tea with an Austrian twist at The Delaunay in Covent Garden.
Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

On Blackheath - Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

Travis, The Libertines and De La Soul all perform at this weekend festival on Blackheath Common.
Win Film Tickets and Cocktails!

Rooftop Film Club - Win Film Tickets and Cocktails!

Watch Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, The Breakfast Club, or The Godfather on a London rooftop!
Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

BFI - Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

Don’t miss the BFI’s tribute to The King of Horror this autumn!
Win Tickets to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

Win Tickets to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

We've got a pair of tickets to give away to this hilarious show.
Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Strawberry Hill - Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Watch cycling troupe The Handlebards perform one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies at Stawberry Hill House & Garden!
Win Tickets to a Bank Holiday Vaudeville Extravaganza!

Puttin' On The Ratz - Win Tickets to a Bank Holiday Vaudeville Extravaganza!

Puttin' On The Ratz is a glamourous vaudeville comedy cabaret set in the Golden Age of the 1930s.
Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

The Other Palace - Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Australian performer Christie Whelan Browne takes her acclaimed show Britney Spears: The Cabaret to London for one week only.
Win Two Tickets to the Gladiator Games

Museum of London - Win Two Tickets to the Gladiator Games

Forget Westeros, it’s all about Londinium this summer!
Win 4 Tickets to The Night Pirates PLUS Ice Cream!

Rose Theatre Kingston - Win 4 Tickets to The Night Pirates PLUS Ice Cream!

Your chance to win a family ticket to a much-loved high seas adventure from Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!