Fun Family Weekend in Hampstead

According to legend, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators planned to watch the Parliament burn bright from Parliament Hill in Hampstead. A doubtful (albeit famous) story. Nevertheless, walk up the hill and you’ll see why such a legend was created.

With Bonfire Night this week (“Remember, remember, the 5th of November”), our family took advantage of late autumnal sunshine and ventured out to Hampstead.

I never get tired of the beautiful iconic view of London from the heath but there are also other reasons why I love Hampstead so dearly: a quaint yet cosmopolitan village, a fantastic adventure playground at the foot of Parliament Hill, great restaurants and gelateria, Flask Walk (filled with many old shops) and Well Walk (where D.H.Lawrence and John Constable lived) between the High Street and the heath, the magnificent Kenwood House, a number of historical pubs with fantastic food, a picnic on the heath, its long literary intellectual connections (D.H. Lawrence, John Keats, Wilkie Collins, Sigmund Freud, Kingsley Amis were some of its famous residents), and the list goes on.

L’Antica Pizzeria is one of the best pizzerias in London. It’s tiny so book a table. 66 Heath Street.


They import “Caputo flour” from Naples and let the dough ferment for 24 hours before they put it in the wood fired oven.


Cass Art: I love this art supply shop down the road from L’Antica Pizzeria on Heath Street. These made in France giant coloring rolls will keep children entertained all winter. 58-62 Heath Street.


Ginger & White: this tiny space is a super popular brunch spot among the locals. If you have no patience to wait for a table pick up their exceptional take-away coffee, like I do. They also have a cookbook. 4a-5-a Perrin’s Ct



Ah, the view! (seen from Parliament Hill)


Adventure Playground with Parliament Hill in the background.


John Keats lived in this house until tuberculosis forced him to move to Rome, where he died. He wrote his famous ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ under a plum tree in this garden. 10 Keats Grove.


La Creperie de Hampstead is a Hampstead institution. It’s been around since the 1980’s. Always popular and the lines get longer on weekends and during the summer months. 77 Hampstead High Street.


Try gelato at Venchi. This legendary chocolatier is originally from Turin, Italy. Exceptionally good quality. 65 Hampstead High Street.


One of the best children’s clothing shops in London, La Coqueta offers timeless classic Spanish clothing. They’re all made in Spain. 5 Heath Street.



If you (mostly your children) don’t mind venturing out a little farther walking toward Highgate, try Sunday roast at The Bull and Last, one of the best gastro pubs in London (or The Best, by many critics) for the exceptional food and atmosphere. Booking is essential.