A leafy village retreat in the heart of London, Hampstead offers a wealth of desirable destinations. Discover a different side to NW3 with our essential guide
While there’s nothing more horizon-broadening than travel, there’s also nothing quite like coming home after a long trip abroad, with the welcome feeling of having somewhere to call your own. Whether they hail from UK shores or places more far-flung, it’s no secret that today’s worldly wanderers are increasingly looking to put down roots in London, drawn to the city for its iconic culture and unique energy.
Of course, when it comes to the capital’s property market, location, location, location really is everything. While hotspots like Chelsea and Knightsbridge are highly sought after, their bustling central London settings don’t offer much in the way of rest and relaxation. For well-travelled buyers on the hunt for fresher air, a slower pace of life and beautiful green spaces – just the tonic after an international expedition – sights are being set just a little further afield, on a true London gem.
A peaceful, verdant oasis in the heart of the capital, Hampstead embodies the essence of village life without compromising the advantages of city living. A mere 30 minutes from central London, it is also exceedingly well connected with a number of frequent bus services and nearby tube stations. Steeped in history and bursting with culture, the area has long been considered a tranquil city retreat by countless intellectuals, writers, artists and creatives over the centuries, and counts the likes of DH Lawrence, George Gilbert Scott, Florence Nightingale, Harold Pinter and Lord Byron among its long list of famous residents.
A stone’s throw away from the rolling hills of Hampstead Heath – where many an hour can be lost exploring ancient woodlands or taking a dip in the bathing ponds – a relaxed stroll through NW3 soon reveals its charms. Those with cultural leanings can immerse themselves in Hampstead’s numerous attractions, from Keats House, a museum dedicated to the famous Romantic poet, to the Freud Museum London, where visitors can explore the former home – complete with signature couch – of psychiatry’s most eminent figurehead.
Alternatively, retail therapy aficionados can browse the latest styles by designer labels Nicole Farhi and Kurt Geiger, which both have stores in the village. Independent boutique Question Air is always worth a visit, housing such brands as Rag + Bone and Acne Studios in an airy red-brick space. Make time to peruse the characterful local shops too, such as Hampstead Butcher & Providore – it houses a delicatessen, charcuterie and wine merchant alongside free-range meats – or Melrose & Morgan, which stocks a variety of artisan groceries and hand-baked goods to take home, although the on-site kitchen will prove a sore temptation, where chefs prepare both hot and cold dishes before your eyes. There is also a range of salons to indulge in a spot of R&R, from Trevor Sorbie’s contemporary hairstyling to French & Corry’s bespoke beauty hub, offering everything from facials and manicures to specialist massages.
All that pampering is bound to work up an appetite, so be sure to stop in at one of Hampstead’s many foodie spots. For the perfect caffe latte, head to Ginger & White, a coffee shop that combines relaxed Antipodean charm with a British-inspired twist, while sweet-toothed snackers will delight in the Parisian-style crêpes and galettes of the bijou La Crêperie de Hampstead, a favourite among locals. Residents are spoiled for choice with top-notch pizzerias, from Villa Bianca to Mimmo La Bufala, while restaurant 28 Church Row is ideal for evening, serving up a tasty mixture of Spanish and Italian dishes that are designed for sharing.
Round off the day with a well-deserved nightcap at one of NW3’s acclaimed watering holes, whether it’s a pint of authentic British beer at The Holly Bush – a cosy wood-panelled pub that dates back to the 18th century – or a glass of full-bodied red in the leafy heated garden of The Garden Gate.
With such a plethora of attractions on offer, and the unique village-in-the-city location, it’s no wonder that properties in the area are in such high demand, as earnest buyers seek to own their own patch of Hampstead history. With the value of sites only increasing and new locations snapped up as soon as they hit the market, there has never been a better time to invest in NW3.
Hampstead Manor is one of the most exciting yet elegant new developments to come to the area in recent years, constructed to encapsulate Hampstead’s hallmark heritage, natural charms and refreshingly serene way of life. The site also boasts a prestigious history of its own with Kidderpore Hall at its centre; a stately white-stuccoed mansion built by entrepreneurial East India leather merchant John Teil in 1843. In 1890, the building took on a new role as Westfield College, a leading academic institution for women, before half of the property became a campus for King’s College London students in 1989.
Located on Kidderpore Avenue, just moments from the heart of Hampstead Village, there are 125 residences to choose from. From contemporary studio apartments and a light-filled new builds to beautifully renovated Grade II-listed, multi-bedroom houses, each property has been built with a unique character and sophisticated design. Seamlessly blending past and present, rare and restored features are brought up to date to suit modern living.
Surrounded by trees and greenery, each home – created by specialist property developer Mount Anvil – also comes with access to a variety of amenities, including a town car service, 24-hour concierge service and underground parking facilities, as well as a private gym and swimming pool, while the central Hampstead location also puts would-be residents in close proximity to shops, eateries and stations, in addition to the local tennis club on Harman Drive.
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” Samuel Johnson once declared. Nowhere in the capital is that more true than in Hampstead, where setting up home affords the best of both worlds in every sense – city and country, tranquillity and community, then and now.