It’s nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Central London once in a while, even just for a day. And Hampstead — a charming village in North London with a rich literary, artistic and cultural history — is more or less 30 minutes away from Central London via the Underground. It’s perfect for a quick day trip, if you have limited time or don’t want to wander too far off from the city center.

We spent one day in Hampstead, and here we listed 7 things that you could do here in a day.

How to get to Hampstead from Central London

You can get to Hampstead via the London Underground from Charing Cross station in Central London. You can alight at Hampstead or Belsize Park stations on the Edgeware branch of the Northern Line (marked black on the Underground map). One of the other ways to get there is via the Overground.

Best to check Google Maps for options and recommended routes, buses or trains to take. It’s fairly accurate and updated regularly with regard to transport maintenance or issues.

Our experience: We stayed in the Hackney Central area. From the Hackney Central Rail Station, you can take the Overground and alight at Hampstead Heath Rail Station. We went on a Sunday. The Overground lines usually have planned maintenance in certain lines on Sundays, so we had to get off at Highbury & Islington and switch to the Underground to get there in the morning. The maintenance work was done by the time we went home late in the afternoon, though.

! Remember to double-check Transport for London’s status alerts for any line closures or transport issues before heading out. We recommend downloading Tube Map (free, for iOS | Android) and London Live Bus Countdown (free, for iOS | Android). We find both to be very helpful with bus and train schedules. Google Maps works pretty well too!

7 things to do in Hampstead in a day

This lovely North London village has a lot to offer visitors! Here are some of our suggested things to do and places to visit in Hampstead.

1. Hampstead High Street

You can start off with a visit to these areas, which are right outside Hampstead tube station. The streets are lined with various kinds of shops, restaurants, cafés, galleries and boutiques. There’s also a particular pedestrian alleyway known as Flask Walk off the corner from the tube station. When you see a quaint Victorian pub named The Flask, you’re heading in the right direction!

Just go where your feet take you! It’s really nice to just walk around the area and Hampstead’s little side streets and explore.

 

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2. Keats House

Where: 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR, United Kingdom
See where in Google Maps

Keats House, originally known as Wentworth Place, was home to English Romantic poet John Keats from December 1818 to August 1820. Keats wrote several of his works here, including “La Belle Dame sans Merci” and “Ode to a Nightingale”. This is also where he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne.

The Keats Community Library is also in the area.

Keats House, Hampstead
Keats House, Hampstead

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3. Commemorative Plaques

Hampstead is abound with commemorative plaques marking historical landmarks around the village, including buildings of significant or architectural note and houses where famous and influential people — such as George Orwell, Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles de Gaulle — have lived. You can join guided walks around the village, or have a bit of fun with a self-guided tour and spot the plaques yourselves!

George Orwell lived here, Hampstead
Writer George Orwell lived here

4. Hampstead Heath

See where in Google Maps

Hampstead Heath is a massive grassy space in London that is open to the public. Southeast of the heath lies Parliament Hill, which offers an amazing view of the London skyline. There are also a number of ponds, among which are three swimming ponds — one for men, another for women, and a mixed bathing pond.

For the curious, “heath” is a large area of open land that is not used for farming and is covered with rough grass and other small wild plants, as defined by Oxford Learner’s Dictionary.

 

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5. Pubs

Hampstead has lots of pubs to choose from! And among them is one of the oldest pubs in London — The Spaniards Inn.

Built in 1585, The Spaniards Inn (see where in Google Maps) boasts having the likes of Charles Dickens, John Keats and Lord Byron grace its tables. It also offers a menu that is filled with traditional British pub meals.

Some of the other popular ones housed in centuries-old buildings are The Flask, The Holly Bush and The Wells Tavern. Best to check and book in advance (especially on a Sunday!) if your heart is set on having lunch in one of the more popular historic pubs.

Vegetable and Ricotta Wellington with mushroom sauce, at The Horsehoe, Hampstead
Trying out some British Sunday roast at The Horseshoe. Here’s their Vegetable and Ricotta Wellington with mushroom sauce.

Our experience: We were there on a Sunday, and the British do take their Sunday roast quite seriously! Thus the more popular pubs were more crowded than usual for lunch. We decided to eat at The Horseshoe, the birthplace of Camden Town Brewery, and ordered one of their Sunday roasts.

6. Burgh House

Where: New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 1LT, United Kingdom
See where in Google Maps

If you’re interested in learning more about Hampstead and its history, you can add visiting the Burgh House to your list of things to do. It is home to the Hampstead Museum and also has a garden café that serves brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.

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7. Kenwood House

Where: Hampstead Ln, Highgate, London NW3 7JR, United Kingdom
See where in Google Maps

Originally built in the 17th century, Kenwood House is now a museum with fine interiors and furnishings and beautiful gardens. This beautiful neoclassical villa, located on the northern boundary of Hampstead Heath, also houses an impressive collection of notable artworks, including paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Does that make you want to visit? Worry not, admission is free!

Next to the house are two cafés: the Brew House Café and the Steward’s Room, where visitors can buy something to drink and eat. The Brew House serves full lunches, cakes, tea and coffee that guests can enjoy at the café’s indoor and outdoor seating areas. Meanwhile, the Steward’s Room offers hot and cold drinks, salads, soup sandwiches and cakes for take away only.

Note: Brew House Café is closed for renovation from January 3 until early Spring 2020.

Have you been to Hampstead? Which places there would you recommend?

~ Safe travels, everyone!
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Traveler, writer, booklover, coffee and tea drinker.

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