If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of London life, you might not have to go as far as you would first imagine. With its peaceful streets, leafy outlook and endless green spaces, Hampstead Village – just 4 miles from the centre of town – is more countryside than capital.
Housing in the area is an attractive mix of rare Queen Anne and Regency properties, as well as Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian and modern developments. From detached houses on leafy avenues to charming cottages on winding lanes, there’s something for every taste – if not budget!
Church Row, with its elegant Georgian terraces, is one of the most beautiful streets in the village – don’t expect to snap up a bargain here though, prices range from £2 million to £8 million.
There are blue plaques aplenty revealing famous residents past – Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, John Constable and DH Lawrence amongst them. They seem to have set something of a trend, and the area is still home to its fair share of famous faces including Ricky Gervais, Russell Brand, David Gray and Gwyneth Paltrow.
One of the village’s biggest draws is the nearby Heath where 800 acres of wild grass and woodland invite exploration. The Heath is also home to the famous swimming ponds, which are open for hardy souls year-round. The village itself is not short of shops and restaurants, most independently owned, and the plush Everyman Cinema is a favourite among residents.
Residents are spoilt for choice educationally, with a number of excellent options including The Maria Montessori School, Lyndhurst House Prep School, University College School for boys and South Hampstead High School for girls.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re miles away from it all as you gaze down on London, but with a multitude of transport options, you can be in the heart of the action in under half an hour. Served by numerous bus routes through nearby Camden, Hampstead Village also has its own Northern Line Underground station, and Hampstead Heath Overground station is a short walk away.
Hampstead first became fashionable in the 18th century, when the discovery of spring water transformed the village into a Georgian spa town. Affluent types came in their droves to enjoy the health benefits, and to make the most of the fresh air and open spaces.
What the agents say
“A magnet to the rich and famous, Hampstead’s population contains a remarkably high proportion of artists, writers, actors, musicians, diplomats and professionals, all drawn by the lure of village life set against the rural backdrop of Hampstead Heath – 800 acres of open land, wooded meadows and natural ponds. All this and the bright lights of the west end are no more than a cab ride away.” Philip Green, Goldschmidt & Howland
“A leafy village by a vast Heath but located only ten minutes from Regent’s Park. This exclusive and cosmopolitan suburb offers some of the most valuable and picturesque property in London. With its eclectic mix of shops, cafes and restaurants, this is the preferred home to bankers, entrepreneurs and celebs.” Jeremy Karpel, TK International
Eating and drinking:
Giraffe – they do a tasty breakfast here with fantastic pancakes – it’s so good, sometimes we go there and have it for lunch! The restaurant is a real family favourite too; they give out crayons, so that your kids can make art while you eat. 46 Rosslyn Hill (020 7435 0343; www.giraffe.net)
Gaucho – don’t miss this place for a special meal. They serve amazing marinated Sirloin steaks and simply perfect mojitos (not too syrupy). 64 Heath Street (020 7431 8222; www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk)
Paradise – this local curry house is a favourite of mine. The people who work here are delightful and so accommodating, and the service is always impeccable. The food is great too – try the King Prawn Puri for starters – it’s delicious. 49 South End Road (020 7794 6314; www.paradisehampstead.co.uk)
The fruit stall outside Hampstead Heath Station – the produce stocked here is always amazing and we think it’s no exaggeration to say that the strawberries you can buy from here are the best you’ll ever taste. Every Halloween head to these guys for my pumpkins…
Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe – it’s a real nostalgia trip and a true 80s paradise, which stocks every sweet you’ll remember from your childhood (and more!). 9a Hampstead High Street (020 8616 0717)
Cop.Copine – this French fashion boutique is one of our favourite local shops. It’s only small, but stocks some really lovely stuff. 42 Rosslyn Hill (020 7794 7900; www.cop-copine.com)
Paul Marco Hair Design – We’ve been having our hair done at Jean Noel Hair Design for years. We always see Noel who does a great blow dry. Unfortunately the salon has recently changed hands after 40 years and Noel is off to Paul Marco Hair Design in Belsize Park, so we’ll have a bit further to travel to see him! 70 Belsize Lane (020 7435 5519)
Entertainment and culture:
Everyman cinema – one of our favourite Hampstead haunts. It’s so comfy, just like being at home but with a big screen. The best bit is that you can tuck into yummy cheesecake and other goodies while you watch the film – and they do the best hot chocolate. 5 Hollybush Vale (0871 906 9060; www.everymancinema.com)