If you have become accustomed to Kensington Accommodation, you probably will never settle for anything less. However, that also means you probably spend a lot of time in the area, enjoying what the neighbourhood has to offer. This can also mean you miss out on some of the top-class areas of London, which includes the wonderful Hampstead. Don’t worry, though, you can still get the best of your hotel’s local experience – like Park Grand Kensington Afternoon Tea – while visiting absolute gems in London: one of which is Hampstead.
Travel tip: If staying at Park Grand London Kensington, your quickest route to Hampstead is to head into the center of London (via the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square), then ride the Northern Line up until you hit Hampstead.
This guide aims to give you an under-the-skin approach to the neighbourhood of Hampstead, so it feels important to start off with Hampstead Heath which, of all the recommendations, is probably the most popular for a stroll or a dip in their famous Ladies, Mens, and Mixed Pools. Hampstead Heath is beautiful and huge (320 hectares), so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the main reasons visitors flock to the area. However, the whole area has so much more to give, so make sure you sink your teeth into the following experiences. Expect to see a lot of very happy dogs.
The Freud Museum
Grand Park Kensington London is pretty much on the doorstep of some of the city (and even the world’s) most impressive museums, including The Design Museum, The Science Museum, The V&A Museum and of course, The Natural History Museum. But London is the city that just keeps on giving when it comes to museums, and venturing north opens up the opportunity to visit the small but fascinating The Freud Museum. Signmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, with a lasting impact on psychological theory, and he spent the last year of his life living with his family in this beautiful house which later took his namesake as a museum dedicated to him. The bookshop is also a great little independent contribution to the London indie-bookshop scene.
There are a number of one-day extensive courses which take place, as well as monthly exhibitions, with Ida Applebroog: Mercy Hospital starting 28 February 2020 and running until 7 June 2020. It takes the form of a presentation of the drawings of American artist, Ida Applebroog, which are from her Mercy Hospital series.
Address: 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX
Another museum of a more literary nature is Keats House, which is where English romantic poet John Keats lived and wrote. His contributions to the world of poetry is evident in the number of places named in his memory – even the road on which you will find Keats House is called Keats Grove. Prior to his lasting success, the road was known as John Street (coincidence?), and Albion Grove. Presently, to make the museum as good as it can be, the exterior of the property is undergoing maintenance, meaning you can only visit Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
Entry to the garden is free, but admission is required for the house and the exhibitions within. There are tours which take place from 1pm to 3pm by volunteers, but you are free to explore by yourself outside of these hours.
Address: 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR
Hampstead High Street
While a shopping spree on Oxford or Regent’s Street is definitely something the tour guides will tell you, a high street shopping meander in Hampstead should be right up there on the list of musts. The frankly beautiful surrounds make you feel like a movie-star looking for their next socialite-dinner frock to wear. With boutique stores to choose from like Hobbs, Nicole Farhi, Jane & Dada and more, you will definitely not be leaving empty handed.
Hampstead hack: this is quite an upmarket, high-class area, which means that the clothes found in the various charity shops are always of very high quality. If you love a good thrift shop, Hampstead is the area to do it: many of the clothes are often designer, knocked down to an affordable price and proceeds going to charity. A winning combination!
La Crêperie de Hampstead
When you cast your eyes on this little window-serve fixture on Hampstead High Street, you might think the following description to be a bit inflammatory, or an exaggeration. But there is no ad libbing involved when we say that La Crêperie de Hampstead serves the most rustic, delicious crêpes in the city – a little outpost of a Parisian street crêperie. People line up down the street to get their hands on a crêpe or galette from this spot
Address: 77 Hampstead High St, Hampstead, London NW3 1RE
A number of Hollywood’s London-based elites live in Hampstead, and it isn’t wholly uncommon to see them having a croissant in a bakery, or taking their dogs for a walk on the Heath. Though we don’t recommend you interrupt their residential jaunts (as the feeling of community interspersed with individuality is what makes the area so great), here are some of the famous people you can expect to spot: Rowan Atkinson, Judi Dench, Michael Palin, and more. You will also see many blue-plaques, which demarcate where late famous people lived, like John Heartfield or Lee Miller (or, of course, Sigmund Freud and John Keats).
After a fuelling encounter with the Park Grand London Kensington Breakfast, you are ready for a day exploring Hampstead and all the wonderful quirky elements it has to offer. It is by no means a “mainstream” day-trip as far as London-tourism goes, but it is unquestionably an important one which enhances your perception of London and giving you an understanding of just how multifaceted it is as a city.