London’s Hampstead Park and City District, description and photos
The original village within the city, with quaint winding streets and perfectly preserved houses from King George’s era.
Hampstead is one of London’s most picturesque and expensive neighborhoods. Hampstead Village is what most call a quaint village. Life in Hampstead Village is very quaint and lively, much like the quiet villages in Agatha Christie’s stories.
It’s a quaint village within the city, with quirky winding streets and well-preserved houses from King George’s time. It is home to prominent Londoners past and present. Hampstead has become synonymous with sophisticated living and a cosmopolitan community.
If you ask the English where the heart of London is, many people will tell you Hampstead is located at the top of the hill and provides some of the most dramatic views of the city and surrounding area.
Hampstead has long been a favorite place for creative types of artists, writers, journalists, actors and singers to live.
In the 18th century Hampstead was a balneological resort, which was valued for its iron waters. And by the 1860s, the railroad had been built, connecting the area with central London and making life in it even more attractive and comfortable.
The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and the young English Romantic poet John Keats lived here at different times.
Today on the streets of Hampstead you can meet many celebrities who have made this place their home: Tim Burton, Bjork, Melanie C, Kate Winslet, Ridley Scott, Sting and others. Popular singer George Michael also lived here until his death. In Hampstead, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov owns a mansion that he purchased for $82.37 million.
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Average property value in Hampstead as of August 2021: £1,325,682
- Average price of an apartment: £959,828.
- Average house price: £3,978,125.
Hampstead is a neighborhood that provides everything you need to live, including excellent private schools.
The top 10 schools in Hampstead look like this:
- South Hampstead High School GDST
- Highgate School
- The Henrietta Barnett School
- University College School, Hampstead
- Channing School
- The Camden School for Girls
- The King Alfred School
- Parliament Hill School
- Harris Academy St John’s Wood
- Hampstead Fine Arts College
Of all of London’s villages, Hampstead has a special timeless appeal because of its atmosphere, the preserved charm of the 18th century and the semi-rural ambiance of the surrounding heathland. We are talking about the magnificent Hampstead Heath Park. It’s London’s largest park, essentially a wooded area. Its area is 320 hectares. It’s one of London’s most popular parks for walking, jogging, kite flying, bird-dogging and picnics.
A walk through this park leaves a lasting impression of intimacy with nature: not only can you take a walk in the shade of the trees, but you can also swim in several ponds. Hampstead Heath has three swimming ponds: women’s, men’s, and mixed. The women’s and men’s ponds are open year-round, but a Hampstead Heath Winter Swim Club membership is required to use the mixed pond in the winter.
The park is located on a hill and buildings are prohibited throughout the park that would disturb the view of London. The park is home to the valuable architectural and museum complex of Kenwood House, built in the 17th century and the former residence of William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield. It is now a public art museum with about a million visitors a year. Recently opened after a major renovation. Kenwood House boasts exceptional architecture, peaceful landscaped gardens, breathtaking interiors and a spectacular art collection.
Adjoining Hampstead Heath to the west is Golders Hill, a more formal park with a flower garden, water garden, small zoo, butterfly house, tennis courts and golf course.
Hampstead is also home to two National Trust properties in England: Keats House and Burgh House. It is also home to the Freud House Museum, which is recommended to all visitors to London.
In eighteenth-century England, the quiet hamlet of Hampstead was swallowed by the sprawling city of London.
In the modern world, where everything is rational and clear, there is a town that is a complete exception to the general rule. It has been chaotic and unpredictable for 2,000 years of its history, growing and evolving as fate would have it, without any hint of a plan.
It might seem, if anything, more likely to be somewhere on oceanic islands or in the thick of the South American jungle. And yet this city is the capital of a European country that cannot even be suspected of anarchism, England. For centuries, people settled along the banks of the Thames, villages and later factory towns merged to form what is now called London.
Today you can reach Hampstead from the center of the capital in half an hour by the legendary red double-decker, while back then you had to travel for several hours. Still, it wasn’t the first time that provincial Hampsteaders had experienced an invasion of Londoners. The hillside area was the capital’s choice for fleeing the flood of 1524, and it was also the place where people fled the plague in 1666. Hampstead remains a haven of prosperity and unshakable tranquility today.
Just as three centuries ago, Hampstead’s residents prefer to call it a village, so too do the clouds float over its tidy streets and houses bursting with green and flowers. Just as then, the green Hampstead hills, blown by the wind with the faint scent of young leaves, offer a view of the humming, boiling and fuming capital.
You can’t help but get the feeling that everything around you is ripped from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, where there’s a Shire with a completely different world swirling around it. This impression is augmented by Hampstead Heath, the oldest woodland park in the world, which name literally means heath… no! Not of Smaug, but of Hampstead. A huge expanse within the city limits, covered with ancient woods, patches of natural meadows, and lakes. Animals of all kinds abound here. Tits jump from branch to branch, jays scurry between trees, and hares and foxes are as plentiful here as pigeons in some cities. There are no dragons, of course, but someone directly related to Smaug regularly swims in Hampstead Heath’s men’s pond. That’s iconic actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who lives in Hampstead. Another famous Briton, Gary Oldman, also swims here. So, the local native writer and actor Stephen Fry was absolutely right when he said that this is the place where the naked kings walk.
Not quite naked, but clearly not covered by the mantle of his own fame, you can easily find Tim Burton chatting nicely with some lady in a huge pink hat, or looking at the treasures of bookie Sting’s shop.
Hampstead seems to have retained its rare ability to attract people with its calmness, once on the run from the dangers of the world but now seeking a place of concentration and creativity. Walking through the streets of Hampstead, through the flowering branches of the hydrangeas here and there you can see round commemorative plaques on the walls of the houses. In the early nineteenth century John Park wrote that Hampstead was a friendly, respectful and pleasant place to live. His opinion was shared by poet John Keats and master detective Agatha Christie, Sigmund Freud and John Galsworthy.
Could it be that all these remarkable people knew and know something about their unusual village that the rest of us do not know? For example, the secret of tolerance and peacefulness.
Here is a well-known dentist, who lives in a neat mansion, knows exactly, and that is why he walks barefoot all year round. The feet of this weirdo are perfectly capable of walking on the sidewalks of Hampstead at any time of the year. This man is not a sectarian or a lunatic, but like the hobbits in Tolkien’s book, he likes to feel the ground beneath his feet. And no one looks down on him for it.