Hundreds of years ago, Londoners would escape the city and head to the hilltop village of Hampstead for some clean air. This was especially true during the plague when people fled the disease ridden city streets. Today, although now considered part of London, Hampstead has kept its village feel. Choose hotels in Hampstead and Finchley to stroll around the cobbled streets, explore the wilderness of the Heath and enjoy stunning views of the city in the distance.
Enjoy the wild grasslands and ancient woodland of the Heath, one of London’s best loved green spaces. If you like the water you can go for a swim in the Lido (open 365 days a year) or go wild and dip into Hampstead swimming ponds. There are ponds for ladies, men and mixed groups, to try out when the weather is good. For panoramic views, head to Parliament Hill, in the south-east corner of the Heath where you’ll spot the Gherkin, the Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral and London’s other iconic landmarks in the distance. It’s also a popular spot for kite-fliers who take to the hill when conditions are right.
It’s also worth visiting the historic houses in the area, from Kenwood House to Keats’ House. Take a wander around Kenwood House to see its stunning interiors and impressive art collection including Rembrandt’s self-portrait before exploring the landscaped gardens. And the best bit is, it’s free to enter. Literary fans can pop into Keats’ House, the home and place where the Romantic poet wrote his most famous works. Get a better understanding of the man behind poems such as Ode to a Nightingale with a visit to the museum and the special events held here. Another National Trust property worth a visit is 2 Willow Road, a Modernist home designed by architect Ernö Goldfinger which contains Erno’s innovative furniture and impressive collection of modern art.
If your hotel is closer to Finchley than Hampstead, you’ll also find many attractions on your doorstep. You can catch a film at The Phoenix Cinema (one of the oldest cinemas in the UK). It’s a beautifully preserved art deco cinema showing new and classic films as well as live opera and ballet screenings. Or, take a wander along the High Street and Ballards Lane to explore the boutiques and specialist food shops.