Hampstead has long been one of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods. It first became popular back in the 17th century when it was advertised as a spa town, before expanding further in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the arrival of the railways. All that remains of the spa now is a water fountain, but the area’s beautiful architecture is a telling reflection of its rich and idyllic history: elegant tree-lined streets feature picture perfect 18th century cottages; large Victorian terraces are popular with families today; and the world-famous Hampstead Garden Suburb, designed by Lutyens, is Arts & Crafts splendour. The Bishops Avenue is one of the most expensive streets in the world, characterised by its vast mansions.
Families are drawn to Hampstead for the exceptional range of private schools, such as the King Alfred School, Devonshire House (featured) and South Hampstead High School for Girls.
Much of the action in Hampstead is centred on and around the High Street. Ginger & White (featured) is a popular neighbourhood café, 28 Church Row is a good restaurant serving food inspired by Spanish and Italian cuisines. La Creperie of Hampstead is a much-loved local crêpe stand.
Hampstead features a number of popular gastropubs, such as Freemason’s Yard, the Flask and the Wells (featured), which has a lovely outside terrace.
Hampstead Heath (featured) is one of the largest open green spaces in London and enjoys expanses of both grassland and woodland, and a wealth of recreational facilities, such as swimming ponds, a lido and sports pitches.