Hampstead Area Guide
It is a vibrant, cosmopolitan village with a rich history in the heart of London. It is known for its numerous intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations as well as the magnificent Hampstead Heath with its protected view across the city skyline. It also boasts some of the most expensive housing in the capital so it is perhaps unsurprising that more millionaires live within Hampstead’s boundaries than any other area of the UK.
Although Hampstead is mentioned in the Domesday Book and became fashionable as a spa in the 1700s, it was only after the opening of its railway station in the 1860s that it expanded dramatically. Much of the luxurious housing created in the decades that followed still stands today. Hampstead’s diverse housing stock ranges from conversions, elegant mansion block and penthouse apartments to substantial detached houses near the Heath and beautiful Regency, Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian period homes in Hampstead Village.
But there is more to Hampstead than some seriously impressive homes. Its narrow, winding lanes, quaint cobbled streets and alleyways give it a quirky character and charm that seem, in part, to belong to another age. The high street is full of upscale boutiques, fashionable restaurants, cafés and bars and, in contrast, also a thriving community market where cottage industry stallholders include a greengrocer, fishmonger, florist and cakemaker.
There is a reminder of Hampstead’s rich literary heritage at almost every turn. Alfred Lord Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s lover, lived in Church Row where, further down, HG Wells wrote some of his most prophetic works. Benham’s Place was home to Robert Louis Stevenson and John Constable lived at nearby Well Walk, while at Byron Villas DH Lawrence dreamed of creating a home for like-minded writers.
Excellent schooling is a big draw for the area and includes the well regarded University College School, Southbank International School, St Margaret’s Girls School and South Hampstead High School for Girls.
A calendar date of note is the Hampstead Fair in December which has a Christmas theme and attracts thousands of people including many celebrities. Other local attractions include Keats House and the National Trust properties 2 Willow Road, the Burgh House & Hampstead Museum and Fenton House.