While West London may have the Royal Family, the chic, affluent suburb of Hampstead in North-West London has attracted prominent cultural figures, captains of industry and highly influential families since its development in the 19th century. DH Lawrence, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Charles de Gaulle and Sigmund Freud have all been lured here by the charms of the area, as have current residents such as Lady Antonia Fraser, Dame Judi Dench and the Saatchi family.
Due to its position on a hill overlooking London, the area was largely cut-off from the rest of the capital until the arrival of the railways. While central London is now just a short drive away, Hampstead has managed to retain the atmosphere of a picturesque village. Residents can enjoy a thriving cafe culture with many independent boutiques, award-winning restaurants and classy bars situated in central Hampstead.
Architecture in Hampstead
Many Hampstead residents are attracted to the area due to the diverse range of beautiful architectural styles found here. It boasts wide, leafy streets, charming cobbled Georgian lanes and detached 1930s properties with large gardens. Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and more contemporary properties are all available, and a number of older houses also have historic connections due to the high level of culturally significant former residents.
What makes Hampstead special
Living in Hampstead can often feel like stumbling onto the set of a historic film. The evocative blue plaques, charming streets, and famous literary names lends an artistic atmosphere to the area, and an inspiring cultural ambience. Home to intellectuals, avant garde artists and emigrées over the years, current and future residents will be welcomed into a creative and stimulating community impossible to find anywhere else in London.
Hampstead property types
Properties for sale in Hampstead are largely historic houses, with the occasional mansion block which has been transformed into apartments. South End Road in central Hampstead has some lovely Georgian cottages, semi-detached and detached family homes, while Downshire Hill is a sought-after street full of stucco-fronted Regency properties with original period features. Holly Walk and Church Row offer charming, character-filled detached and terraced houses, although getting a large car down these streets can be difficult.
Other popular roads include Heath Street, Hampstead Grove and Keats Grove, where the former house of poet John Keats is located. For those seeking an apartment, Mount Vernon is an impressive former hospital built in the style of a 17th century French chateau. Along with luxury homes, the building offers residents a 24 hour concierge, swimming pool, gym and beautiful communal gardens.
As for new developments, current residents are particularly vigilant about maintaining the classic charm of the area, so modern apartments are rare in this area.
Schools in Hampstead
North London, and Hampstead in particular, offers many highly-rated independent schools for all ages. Single-sex and co-educational schools are both available, and different curriculums are catered for with both a Montessori School and The American School nearby.
Things to do
Despite the village ambience of Hampstead, it benefits from all the amenities of a busy London area with restaurants, sports facilities and many cultural attractions within walking distance, as well as having easy access to the rest of the city.
Keen golfers will be enticed by the excellent Hampstead Golf Club, while runners and swimmers can enjoy the beautiful expanse of Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Lido. The cultural significance of Hampstead is partly due to the many theatres and museums in the area, including the Tricycle Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Freud’s House Museum, Keats House Museum and Camden Arts Centre.
The area has also become somewhat of a fine-dining destination with restaurants such as Gaucho, Lemonia, Villa Bianca and Jin Kichi popular with discerning locals.
Shopping in Hampstead
Hampstead is well-provided for when it comes to shops, with both branches of designer chains and many bespoke independent boutiques. Fashionable residents can often be found perusing the garments in designer French stores Zadig et Voltaire, Comptoir des Cotonniers and The Kooples, while English fashion is well-represented by Hobbs and Whistles.
Sweaty Betty is the chic choice for luxurious sportswear, and post-run treats or decadent desserts are best found at patisseries and delicatessens such as Ginger & Spice, Maison Blanc, Gail’s and Melrose and Morgan. For high-quality organic meat make sure to try the renowned Hampstead Butchers, followed by Jeroboams for vintage wines.