Known for its fashionistas, academics, high-brow artists and architects, Hampstead is one of the most affluent areas of London. Not even McDonalds is good enough for these style-conscious folk – the single McDonalds restaurant in Hampstead closed in 2013 – and no one is complaining. Instead you will find quality food, perfectly pulled pints and some of London’s top-end brand names.
The relative wealth in the area has allowed the small independent retailers to weather the recession and stick around and you can still find bookshops, grocers, butchers and cheese shops that have passed down through generations and are still going strong.
This is a nice relief to other parts of London that have been taken over by the big names – there is a great community vibe in Hampstead and it doesn’t look to be dissipating anytime soon.
How to get there
Hampstead is located in the borough of Camden in the north of London city centre. It has a major bus terminal (Hampstead Heath) in South End Green and multiple underground tube stations including Hampstead, Belsize Park, Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road. You can also get on the Overground. So many options!
Cost of living
Let’s be frank – living in Hampstead is not cheap with the average property price sitting at £1,300,000 at the end of August 2014. It's one of the most expensive areas of the UK in which to live so for those on a tight budget this may be a good area to just visit. However you are getting quality for your hard earned pound with some very beautiful properties available.
Houses tend to be larger than average in this area so are good for families or people who own a lot of furniture.
Lowest rental prices for a decent two bedroom flat cost around £425 per week.
Highest rental prices for a two bedroom flat cost around £900 upwards per week.
Where to eat
Did someone say cake? This petit bistro offers some of the best French pastries and dishes outside of France. As soon as your spot the cakes on offer at Aubaine, your taste buds will march you into the restaurant to sample a buttery, creamy, chocolaty delight. This is quality French cuisine at its best.
Address: 82 High Street, Hampstead NW3 1RE
Discover the fresh produce at the Hampstead Community Market. Here you will find fish, fruit, vegetables, cheeses and more to tempt your taste buds and get your brain into “What should I cook for dinner tonight?” mode. Opening times for the shops vary and there are additional Saturday markets with even more on offer.
Address: 78 Hampstead High Street, London, Hampstead NW3 1RE
Once you have seen Mimmo’s award-winning grin, you won’t be able to help but smile. He is one cool Italian and he knows how to make pizza. On his pizzas he uses the best Italian ingredients and then puts them into a wood fired oven. No imitations here, these are the real deal. We’re not so sure about Mimmo’s tan, though.
Address: 45 Southend Road, London, Hampstead NW3 2QB
For some beautiful Japanese food, try Jin Kichi, considered one of the best restaurants in Hampstead. This tiny little eatery is always full (so remember to reserve a table) and rightly so – their food is worth queuing for. They have a very extensive menu offering more than your average sushi and tempura. We recommend trying everything – it’s all good.
Address:73 Heath Street Hampstead London NW3 6UG
Bars and pubs
Serving pints of beer from Camden Town Brewery just down the road, this is a true local pub. The comfortable and relaxed nature of this place means it is a great place to come for a drink with friends, or head here for their great value weekday lunch menu with their dish of the day and a pint for just £8.
Address: 28 Heath Street, London, Hampstead NW3 6TE
Step back in time and soak up some ye olde heritage at The Holly Bush. One of Hampstead’s most popular pubs, this place oozes charm. Originally the studio of artist George Romney, this listed building is over 200 years old. Thankfully, the beer isn’t and you will find a great range of ales on tap, plus a hearty British menu for if you’re feeling a bit peckish. A fantastic cosy pub for a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon.
Address: 22 Hollymount, Hampstead, London NW3 6SG
Located within the Mexican restaurant, Mamacita, Frida’s is a great place to come for a Friday night out. Their exciting cocktails are not your average mojito – expect a few unusual flavours such as elderflower and hibiscus in your drink. Their wine selection is extensive and very well chosen. While you’re here, sample some of Mamacita’s spicy Mexican cuisine. Olé!
Things to do
Hampstead is well known by Londoners for its beautiful expansive park land of Hampstead Heath. With 790 acres of meadows, woods, and gardens to explore, you could spend a week here. Come on a sunny day and take a dip in the Hampstead Heath ponds if you’re brave enough to step into the chilly water. There are three ponds separated into men’s, women’s and mixed.
You can also visit the zoo, spot birds and other wildlife in their natural environments and or join the fitness buffs making use of the open running space.
Lovers grab your picnics and sparkling wine (non-alcoholic, of course) and head to Parliament Hill for a romantic sunset. From this high point of Hampstead Heath you get beautiful views across the city. How’s that for a bit of inner-city romance?
This beautiful regency home located within Hampstead Heath is open to the public and is noted for its gorgeous 18th century-style landscaped gardens. The walls of the house display an incredible collection from artists such as Rembrant and Vermeer and the gardens are used for opera performances throughout the summer. And with free entry to the house, this is a Hampstead bargain.