Hampstead is in “Zone 2”, just 16 minutes by tube from Leicester Square but it feels like you’ve left London and travelled several hours deep into the English countryside, before finally coming across a rural, picturesque village full of life, colour and greenery. You won't find any of the famous landmarks or tourist attractions in this little quaint corner of London but the subtle charm will make this one of the most memorable things you can do in the city.
Flask Walk, just a few seconds away from Hampstead underground station
The town has an attractive shopping street (Hampstead High Street) full of restaurants, cafe's and high-quality boutique shops but away from the this Street, Hampstead is peaceful and tranquil and a walk around the town reveals plentiful of cute, little independent café’s, narrow alleyways and beautiful rustic old houses way in excess of my budget! The best way to explore the area is just by wandering around on foot, getting lost and discovering the gems hidden around each corner. Although saying that, it is always nice to have a few ideas up your sleeve before arriving in a new place so here are just a few of my favourite streets and locations around town...
New End Square: Burgh House and Hampstead Museum with the Buttery Cafe hidden on the lower ground floor (outside seating is available and in the summer or on a good day this is hugely popular)
Heath Hurst Road
There are plenty of places to stop for a coffee and cake, a snack or lunch. Here are just three suggestions.... Gail's Bakery on Hampstead High Street, Buttery Cafe on the lower ground floor of the Burgh House and Hampstead Museum, and La Creperie de Hampstead again on Hampstead High Street.
If you've had a look at the map of Hampstead, you will probably have noticed that the town is bordered to the east and north by a huge green park (unsurprisingly called Hampstead Heath). This park is great for walks and picnics, but the view from Parliament Hill makes it even more special. From here you can get a magnificent view of the London skyline - look out for the Shard and all the other towers in the City of London.
How to get there?
Hampstead underground station is located in "Zone 2" on the Northern Line (Black Line). There should be direct underground trains from Waterloo, Charing Cross, Leicester Square, London Bridge, Bank and St Pancras - at these stations to find the correct platform look for "Northern Line Northbound" and then once on the platform board a train heading towards "Edgware". If for some reason all the trains are going to High Barnet or Mill Hill East, then board one of these and change at Camden.
A Contactless or Oyster pay as you go ticket from central London to Hampstead is £2.40 to £2.90 depending on the time of day. Cash fares are much higher. Paper style day tickets (known as Travelcards) costing £12.70 for Zones 1-4 are also valid, but Oyster and Contactless tickets are the best option.
Hampstead underground station entrance / exit
If you happen to be based in either West London (i.e. Clapham Junction or Richmond areas) or East London (i.e. Hoxton or Shoreditch areas) it is probably easiest to catch the Overground train to Hampstead Heath station. Look for the Orange Lines on the London transport map.
Hampstead Heath train station