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January 2021 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

Area Guide: Belsize Park

Sandwiched between Hampstead, Primrose Hill and Chalk Farm, Belsize Park’s location couldn’t be better. Like its well-heeled neighbours, it boasts a village-like atmosphere, and a buzzing community of independent businesses, while architecturally, alongside the typical white stucco villas, you’ll find Arts and Crafts houses, and flats in Art Deco and Modernist blocks.

Photography by Emmanuelle Peri & Georgia Watson

MEET THE LOCALS

Holly Pollack, Director, Go Get Personalised

“I moved into the area with my partner in October 2019, having grown up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. We always knew that we wanted to get a puppy as soon as we moved out from our family homes, so we focused the search for our first home together on locations that offered great outdoor space and local parks, while still being close to central London. Belsize Park seemed like the perfect area. And when we got our French Bulldog puppy, Kiboko last January, he really affirmed that decision by highlighting the sense of community here – lots of locals now recognise him on our daily walks and the local shops in Belsize Village always welcome him in. 

My business, which launched five years ago, originally focused on make up for festivals and events, all of which lockdown very quickly put a stop to. My business partner Sophia, who also lives locally, and I would meet daily for walks on Hampstead Heath, brainstorming ideas on how to adapt during these unprecedented times. It was on these walks in the local area that we came up with the concept of our new brand, Go Get Personalised.  

Fast forward a few months and things are going well, but we regularly find ourselves working long hours, late into the night – on those days we’ll often pop into the Late Late Store in Belsize Village to stock up on essentials (their selection of snacks is unrivalled!) 

When working from home, I often start my day with a walk around the area with Sophia to run through the events of the day. We usually stop off at Gail’s for a much-needed coffee. We both love a big fresh salad, so next stop is Crescent Fruiterers to stock up on lots of fresh vegetables for lunch.  

Though we haven’t been here long, in a year like no other, we feel like we’ve really grown to know our new area. We absolutely love living in Belsize Park and hope to be here for many more happy years, supporting local businesses and mixing with the lovely people in the community.”  

gogetpersonalised.co


On Lawn Road stands the arresting Isokon Building. Acknowledged as one of the finest achievements of Modern Movement architecture, it was designed by architect Wells Coates and completed in 1934. With a Grade I listing from English Heritage, it is among the most historically important buildings in Britain. Former residents include Bauhaus members Walter Gropius and László Maholy-Nagy.


TAKE THREE
Street hearts

Princess Mews
As if you couldn’t tell from the name, this postcard perfect cobbled mews is a royal treat. No surprise it’s in the Belsize Park Conservation area

England’s Lane
While Haverstock Hill might officially be considered as the high street, lined with shops and cafés, there’s plenty going on on this buzzy thoroughfare, too

Belsize Lane
With pavement cafés spreading on to a leafy square here, and grocers’ wares spilling out of the shops, this pretty pastel terrace is the heart of Belsize Village

RECOMMENDED
Local heroes

Artichoke, NW3
Amy Odell from Chancellors recommends this family run grocer, florist and juice bar. “The shop is perfect for the health conscious among us and for those who like to cook with the finest produce,” she says. “They also offer a beautiful array of flowers and it is the place in NW3 to get a fabulous Acai bowl.” But it’s Artichoke’s community spirit that really sets them apart. “They offer first job opportunities to local youngsters helping them on their way into the working world,” Amy tells us. “A great addition all round.”
20 England’s Lane, NW3

Chamomile Café, NW3
If its abundant window display of freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries isn’t enough to tempt you inside, Dexters’ Chris Cooper tells us why this independent café is his local go-to: “Chamomile prides itself on serving locally sourced produce and freshly prepared food. There’s a wonderful welcoming atmosphere and a real sense of community,” he says, adding that it’s his favourite place to visit for brunch, “as their scrambled eggs are incredibly light and delicious. I’d recommend it to anyone visiting Belsize Park.” We’ll raise a coffee and a croissant to that.
45 England’s Lane, NW3 (020 7586 4580; chamomilecafe.co.uk)

 

Impressed London, NW3
For those gearing up for 2021, this multifaceted swim, bike, run and juice shop comes highly recommended by Aston Chase’s Mark Pollack. “It’s run by an Italian wife and husband duo who are hands-on and passionate about their business,” he says. And as if to further cement their local hero status, Mark adds: “They have been trading throughout the pandemic, servicing bikes for many of The Royal Free Hospital staff, thus indirectly helping to keep the local community both healthy and mobile.” We really are impressed.
12 England’s Lane, NW3 (020 7971 1019; impressedlondon.com)