What is Hampstead like?
Hampstead is synonymous with sophisticated living and a cosmopolitan community. Of all the London villages, it has the most timeless appeal, thanks largely to its dense, 18th Century centre and the semi-rural feel lent by the adjacent Heath — 800 acres of open countryside and woodland that has long been London’s weekend playground.
It’s a thriving area that attracts a constant stream of prospective buyers and renters. An array of private schools that is almost second to none is a huge draw for families, while having Hampstead Heath on the doorstep makes this a truly idyllic setting, just a short journey from the West End and the City.
Property in Hampstead
The area’s wide range of properties provide plenty of choice, from one-bedroom flats and high-value portered apartment schemes to small town-centre cottages and substantial double-fronted mansions.
Cottages and village houses dating from the 18th century remind us that Hampstead was very much an idyllic village until the late 19th century. These properties, elegant on pretty tree-lined streets, or tucked away in village-centre walks and lanes, are quintessential Hampstead.
The Victorian stock tends to be larger: terraced family houses close to the station are always popular. Later development includes gracious late-Victorian and Edwardian villas and the Arts & Craft perfection of Hampstead Garden Suburb, spaciously designed by Lutyens around beautiful squares and gardens.
At the top of the market, The Bishop’s Avenue is one of the world’s most expensive streets; it is noted for its lavish mansions, many of which are contemporary replacements of the original Edwardian or interwar houses.
For 18th-century village property look for the quaint cottages and elegant houses in Downshire Hill, Keats Grove or Church Row, perhaps the finest Georgian street in London; or try the myriad byways close to the station, like Flask Walk and New End. In nearby Highgate, The Grove is an exquisite set-piece.
For Victorian townhouses, look in Gayton Road, Gayton Crescent, Willoughby Road or, for properties fronting the Heath, East Heath Road.
For substantial Edwardian houses, head to Redington Road and Templewood Avenue.
For classic Lutyens-type houses in Hampstead Garden Suburb, try North Square, Northway and Heathgate.
The local scene
The splendid swathe of open space extends to Parliament Hill, with its breathtaking views of the city, and to Kenwood House, the elegant setting of popular open-air concerts in the summer. Hampstead’s vibrant cultural scene also includes the Hampstead Theatre and the Everyman Cinema, and renowned literary heritage is recalled by the Keats House museum and the Hampstead and Highgate Literature Festival.
A buzzing café culture centres on the High Street, where numerous individual retailers add to Hampstead’s highly individual ambience. Across the Heath, Highgate is a similarly sophisticated village. Both attract numerous celebrities, high-ranking professionals and sports stars, yet the scene here remains relaxed and welcoming.
Northern Line services from Hampstead provide direct access to the City in 25 minutes. Finchley Road station provides Jubilee and Metropolitan Line trains to the West End and Canary Wharf and a fast connection into the City.
Hampstead Heath railway station is on what was known as the North London Link, connecting Richmond to Stratford via Highbury & Islington.
The M1 begins just to the north of Highgate, providing fast access to Luton and Stansted Airports, and the M25 and Heathrow Airport.
Schools in Hampstead
Hampstead’s extraordinary concentration of superb schools makes the area a magnet for families. The leading private schools include Devonshire House School, St Anthony’s, University College School, Hampstead Parochial Primary, South Hampstead High School for Girls, The Hall School, St Mary’s and Northbridge House. Further afield, the American School in London in St John’s Wood attracts a flourishing American community to the area.