Often losing out to the grandeur of London’s Royal Parks, Hampstead Heath remains the underdog of the city’s tourist attractions, but Londoners flock to enjoy the park’s unkempt charms.
The park encompasses 791 acres of natural countryside, stretching from Hampstead to Highgate in North London and provides a change to the manicured gardens and pristine flowerbeds of the inner city. Here, kite flyers add a splash of color to the vast grasslands, dog walkers weave among shaded woodlands and the windswept meadows have provided the backdrop to films like Notting Hill, as well as inspiring C.S.Lewis’ famous novel ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’. The most famous spot on the heath is the iconic Parliament Hill, where the incredible panoramic view from the summit is renowned as one of the capital’s best lookouts. The view takes in the entire London skyline, with the Thames River, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard and Buckingham Palace all visible.
A number of walks run through the Heath and one of the most popular is the walk between Parliament Fields Hill and North London’s other famed peak, Primrose Hill. Make sure you stop along the way at the grand Kenwood House with its beautiful 18th-century gardens and the renowned Highgate Cemetery, where Karl Marx is famously buried. The park’s public swimming pools also draw in the masses, with the three ponds crammed with sun-seekers in the summer months and hosting freezing-cold swim-a-thons in the winter months.