Hampstead is known for its gorgeous hilltop views and huge parks. Obviously, the highlight is Hampstead Heath’s 790 acres of woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows and Parliament Hill providing some incredible views across the entire city. But it's not only the outdoors that make this neighbourhood in the north of London so great - it also boasts a number of incredible historical buildings, cute cafes, independent shops and some top-notch restaurants and pubs.
Walking around Hampstead makes you feel like you’re in another city, definitely a thousands miles away from London. Its small village feeling with the beautiful old houses, colourful front doors, independent cafes and narrow sidewalks help make you feel far away from the noisy and crowded British capital. Hampstead is one of the richest areas in London and this has allowed the area’s small independent shops to overcome the recession and in fact it is one of the few remaining neighbourhoods in London that isn’t filled with the big brands and chains, but still features the original, independent bookshops, small butchers and local traders. The best thing about Hampstead is its community feeling: I lived there for four years and I got to know all my neighbours as well as the name of the guy at my local coffee shop and the lady’s family at my dry cleaning shop.
FOOD in HAMPSTEAD
You will never be starving in Hampstead since it’s filled with a variety of cafes to get breakfast and/or a coffee including some chains like Le Pain Quotidien, Pauls and Gails. Here at Spotahome, we are all in for smaller, independent cafes and suggest the following:
If you are also tired of ridiculously expensive, milky, tasteless coffee, don’t worry! In Hampsted there is a great cafe which opened in 2009 that only serves local ingredients which come direct from the farm and incredibly good coffee beans from boutique roastery Square Mile Coffee Roasters. PS: coffees are made by a world champion barista. #justsaying.
- Address: 4a-5a Perrin's Ct, London NW3 1QS
"Good food for your table" is not only their tagline and philosophy, but also the title of their book that shares their manual on how to source, buy and store food. Here in this super cute grocery shop and kitchen you will only find healthy, locally-grown and fresh products and dishes. It’s a great place for a bite as well as to do some healthy food shopping.
- Address: Oriel Hall, Oriel Place, London NW3 1QN
Being Italian, I can swear by this Italian Ice Cream shop on Flask Walk. The taste is like one you'd have in Sicily or Puglia, and in the summer they usually have a long queue outside, but don’t fret, they are super fast.
- Address: 8 Flask Walk, London, NW3 1HE
A must-try in Hampsted is the crepe here. This place is pretty famous and you’ll most likely find a queue, but the wait will be well worth it, I promise!
- Address: 77a Hampstead High St, Hampstead, London NW3 1RE
This little French bistro offers some of the best French pastries and dishes in London. If you live in the area, this cute place will become one of your favourites.
- Address: 82 High Street, Hampstead NW3 1RE
Mimmo’s La Bufala is an award-winning pizzeria run by a cool Italian dude who certainly knows a lot about how to make pizza and only uses the best Italian ingredients. If you want to get a taste of what a real pizza should be like, this is the place.
- Address: 45 Southend Road, London, Hampstead NW3 2QB
BARS & CLUBS in HAMPSTEAD
It was historically known as the Lower Flask, to distinguish it from the Upper Flask, a pub near the top of Hampstead Hill, because the clientele of the Lower Flask was considered inferior. This old pub even appeared in Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa and till today is one of the most frequented taverns in north London.
- Address: 14 Flask Walk, London NW3 1HE, UK
Jasper, the boss, started brewing below the pub with the aim of making a few beers to serve upstairs. In 2010, the brewery outgrew the basement and moved down the road to Camden. Still today, this is a true local pub that mainly serves pints from Camden Town Brewery. Here you can come with your friends after work or even for a weekday lunch which comes with a pint for just £8.
- Address: 28 Heath Street, London, Hampstead NW3 6TE
This is the perfect place to step back in time and pretend to be an artist from the past. This listed building is over 200 years old and you will really feel cosy and spoiled while sipping on your ale on tap or eating something from their generous British menu. Also perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
- Address: 22 Hollymount, Hampstead, London NW3 6SG
## SHOP in HAMPSTEAD
This cute little street is truly lovely and filled with antiques shops, florists and other independent traders. It’s the perfect place for a stroll before a coffee in the neighbourhood.
- Address: Flask Walk, London NW3 1HE
Hampstead High Street
This is the heart of village life. Filled with shops, restaurants, cafes and boutiques and just outside the overground station, this is the perfect place to start your wander around the neighbourhood. While you are at it, don’t miss the little side streets, which also feature yummy cafes, galleries and more independent shops.
- Address: Hampstead High Street, London NW3
The window of this micro shop is filled with buttons and the knowledgeable and friendly owner will help you chose among thousands of different buttons.
- Address: 12 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3 6TE
After or before your stroll around the hood, you might fancy picking up a new book and luckily for you, Hampstead still has a few independent bookshops (two Daunt Books on top of the one in Marylebone, to be precise). The atmosphere here is great and the staff incredibly helpful and friendly.
Daunt Books, 193 Haverstock Hill, London
Daunt Books, 51 South End Road, London
This amazing interior design shop sells anything from furniture, lighting, accessories and textile. Basically it is the perfect place to visit if you recently rented your Spotahome property and are in need of a few pieces :)
- Address: 225A Brecknock Road, Tufnell Park, London N19 5AA
## TO DO in HAMPSTEAD
Read more at VisitLondon.com
Surrounded by amazing gardens, Kenwood House is truly one of the last remaining of London’s hidden treasures. The incredible interiors and impressive art collection of this 17th century Country House are free (!!!) to enjoy. Make sure to make a stop here to explore this beauty that few know about.
- Address: Hampstead Lane, Hampstead, NW3 7JR
Hampstead Heath is a pretty huge park and it’s the perfect place for a summer picnic followed by a dip in the popular ponds. You can also walk up to Parliament Hill which offers one of the best views over the city.
- Address: West Gate Lodge, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JP
I still love all, quirky cinemashat don’t offer lots of choice but instead have an incredible atmosphere. Everyman Cinema in Hampstead is exactly that and I used to love going there to watch movies while sipping on a cocktail or even be entertained during the wait by a little ive concert by the bar.
- Address: 5 Holly Bush Vale, Hampstead, London NW3 6TX
Hampstead Food Market
On a Saturday, this cute little market at Parochial School is a great place to visit, where you can find all sorts of fresh foods including macaroons, fruit and veg, cakes (including vegan cakes), wine and cheese.
- Address: next to Everyman cinema on Heath Street - from 10:00-15:00
What else? If you think we’ve missed essential Hampstead gems, let us know in the comments section below!
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