The Small-Town Community Just Ten Minutes from the City
What is it about Hampstead that makes it one of is the most desirable parts of London to set up home?
Hampstead is one of the best loved residential locations in London – yet it is not until you visit it that you really understand why. Stroll around its ancient market, visit its high-end designer stores and independent restaurants or amble across the famous Heath, and you would think you are a hundred miles from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan London.
Yet in reality, Charing Cross is just four miles away as the crow flies, and Bond Street takes nine minutes on the tube. If you want to live in a small, affluent town or village that is literally on the capital’s doorstep, Hampstead estate agents are the ones you need to be talking to. Nowhere else ticks the boxes in quite the same way, and so it is little surprise that the list of residents, past and present, reads like a who’s who of thinkers, actors, writers and other famous figures.
What to do
If you want theatres, nightclubs and hustle and bustle, a ten minute tube ride has you in the West End. Hampstead’s unique quality is its peace and rustic setting so close to the city. Explore the numerous independent stores on the High Road, then pick up the perfect picnic ingredients at the Community Market before taking a walk on Hampstead Heath.
The Heath covers almost 800 acres, so there is plenty to explore, including its very own zoo, which is home to a variety of deer, birds, lemurs and more.
Where to eat
Hampstead is a wonderful place for something a little bit special. To call Mimmo La Bufala a pizza joint is like calling the Bugatti Veyron a set of wheels. Long established as part of the Hampstead furniture, it is a favoured haunt of the rich and famous, and with good reason. Just up the road, Jin Kichi has a similarly fantastic reputation for serving the best Japanese food in North London.
It’s not all exclusivity and fine dining, however. There is also a great choice of character pubs, such as The Horse Shoe, where you can get a pie and a pint for less than £10, or the ever-popular and very historic Holly Bush with its great range of beers, wines and traditional British favourites on the menu.
There’s no getting around it, as one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in London, Hampstead does not come cheap. The average property price is around £1,000,000 – studio apartments start around the £400,000 mark, while at the other end of the scale, there are seven and eight bedroom houses that easily run to eight figure sums.
There is certainly no shortage of choice for families when it comes to schools in and around Hampstead. There are currently eight state-funded primary and four state secondary schools, plus twice as many private schools.
The largest secondary school is Hampstead School on Westbere Road, which has around 1,300 students and counts novelist Zadie Smith, tennis star Alex Bogdanovic and actress Sadie Frost among its former pupils.