Home LondonHampstead 30 Things To Do in Hampstead & Hampstead Heath, From a Local!

30 Things To Do in Hampstead & Hampstead Heath, From a Local!

by TheWanderingQuinn

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Known to locals as Hampstead Village, Hampstead does have a very village atmosphere to it thanks to its relaxed vibe, green areas and historical buildings, but plenty of things to do in Hampstead London and although it feels far, it’s still in zone 2 on the London tube and only 3 stops away from the craziness of Camden Town!

I know Hampstead pretty well as I lived there for a few years, I’ve spent many weekends wandering its streets and I’m always telling people that they need to visit Hampstead!!

So in this Hampstead blog, here are the best places to visit in Hampstead, Hampstead Heath things to do, where to eat in Hampstead and some unique things to do in Hampstead, and in London too!

Get a day blocked out in your diary because you’re going to want to visit Hampstead in London after reading this!

Things To Do In Hampstead!

Things to do in Hampstead
Keep reading for a locals guide of things to do in Hampstead!

Things To Do in Hampstead London:

1. Go House Spotting in Hampstead

Hampstead is a wealthy area of London and this show’s in its houses. Hampstead is full of huge mansions- old and new, to smaller quirky houses and cottages with colourful doors.

One of the easiest things to do in Hampstead and the best way to see these houses is to wander the streets and take any little street that takes your fancy, you’ll bound to come across a house you want to move into!

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead Houses
House Spotting is one of the best things to do in Hampstead!

2. Go Plaque Spotting in Hampstead

Hampstead is full of History, it’s been home to many famous writers, poets and artists like George Orwell, John Galsworthy, John Keats.

It also has some really important and iconic buildings so when you’re wandering around Hampstead be sure not only to look at all the pretty houses with the nice doors but also look out for plaques.

When you start looking out for them you’ll soon realise that Hampstead is covered in them and it’s fascinating to read who used to live in that house and what they used to do.

If you like literature, this needs to be on your list of things to do in Hampstead!

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead House Plaques

3. Walk around Hampstead Heath

Going up onto Hampstead Heath is a must-do!

The Heath is absolutely huge and you won’t see it all in one day but it’s a lovely area to walk around taking in the fresh air, the ponds, the footpaths and basically feel like you’re in the middle of the Countryside.

Keep reading for Hampstead Heath things to do!

Read my Hampstead Heath Guide here for all the information you need to know about Hampstead Heath!

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead Heath

4. See a view of London from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath

A popular place in Hampstead Heath is Parliament Hill and rightly so.

From the top of Parliament Hill, you can see an awesome view right over London and see most of the cities main landmarks.

Even on a cloudy day, the city skyline seems to pierce through the clouds so don’t let the weather put you off visiting because this is a top Hampstead Heath things to do.

Things to do in Hampstead, Parliament Hill Hampstead Heath View

5. Go Swimming in the Hampstead Bathing Ponds

A unique thing to do in Hampstead and something slightly different is to take a swim in one of Hampstead Heaths swimming ponds!

Hampstead does have a lido but who needs a man-made lido when you can swim with the ducks in a pond!?

Open all year round there is a male bathing pond, a female bathing pond and a mixed pond. As you can imagine they are considerably busier in the Summer than in the Winter.

Check out my tips to bathing in the Hampstead ponds post including costs and their locations.

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds

6. Visit Kenwood House in Hampstead

Another place to visit on the Heath is Kenwood House. It’s a beautiful former stately home located in a really quiet and tranquil area of the Heath.

You can head inside to see the interior of the home which is one of the museums in Hampstead or enjoy the gardens from the outside.

There’s also one of the Hampstead cafes called The Brew House and toilets at Kenwood House so it’s a lovely spot to stop at on a walk around Hampstead Heath.

To find out more about Kenwood House click here.

Things to do in Hampstead, Kenwood House

7. Explore Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

This is a pretty unique and one of the different things to do in Hampstead.

Everyone will tell you to go to Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill as I have above, but not as many people seem to know about Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden, and because of that it’s a hidden gem!

Located in the North-Western section of the Heath, closer to Golders Green it is quite hard to find but Google Maps knows the way and when you see it, you’ll know about it!

The Pergola is absolutely gorgeous and the gardens are totally immaculate. For some history, a relaxed walk and a beautiful spot be sure to head here!

Read my full guide of how to visit Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden here!

Things to do in Hampstead, Pergola Hill Garden
The Hampstead Pergola is one of the unique and hidden things to do in Hampstead!

8. Search in Keith Fawkes Antique Shop

Located in the narrow street of Flask Walk is Keith Fawkes Antique shop, you can’t miss it as it’s more often than not spilling out onto the street.

You can find all sorts here- furniture, artwork, rugs, and many many books.

It’s one of the best antique shops in London and a bit of a Hampstead institution and well worth a look even if you’re just passing by whilst walking up the pretty street that is Flask Walk.

Things to do in Hampstead, Keith Fawkes Antique Shop

9. Check out the Antiques and Craft Emporium

Inside the Hampstead Antique and Craft Emporium are 25 independent shops that offer something for everyone from antique artefacts, jewellery dealers, silverware, painting and furniture, so it’s a nice, friendly place to pop into on a visit to Hampstead.

On a Sunday they host an artisan market in here.

To find out more and check the opening times, click here.

10. Go to the Cinema in Hampstead

If it’s a rainy day you could make use of Hampstead having a cool Everyman cinema to pass a few hours and then go for food and a drink in one of the pubs I’ve mentioned below afterwards.

11. Go on a Walking Tour around Hampstead

Hampstead is full of history with many historic people having lived there as I mentioned.

It’s also full of different styles of architecture which you can view on your own, but if you really want to see and learn about Hampstead properly I would recommend doing a walking tour.

London Walking Tours offer a great walk which you can view and book here.

The Heath and Hampstead Society also offer Plaque Walks, Flower Walks and General Walks around Hampstead and the Heath. You can see their next guided walk on their website here.

If you would prefer a self-guided walk of Hampstead, have a look at my walking guide to Hampstead blog post.

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead Houses

12. See a Futuristic 1930’s house

2 Willow Road in Hampstead is a really interesting building and worth a visit if you like history and architecture.

It was designed by architect Ernő Goldfinger and completed in 1939 however it was designed to be a modernist home and at the time was very futuristic.

These days you can visit the inside of the house and see all of the original furniture.

It does cost to go inside and you can find out more here.

If you like museums, here are 5 museums in Hampstead I recommend you visit with opening times, entrance fees and directions!

Things to do in Hampstead, 2 Willow Road

13. Visit Keats House Museum

John Keats, a famous Romantic Poet used to live in this house and it’s now a museum and literary centre.

Again, it costs to enter but inside you can explore the life and work of Keats which tell the story of how he found inspiration, friendship, and love in this house in Hampstead.

For more information on Keats House Museum click here.

Things to do in Hampstead, Keats Museum

14. Visit Hampstead Museum

Inside Burgh House is Hampstead Museum. This museum is free to enter so it’s worth going in and finding out a bit more about Hampstead.

It’s located between Hampstead High Street and Hampstead Heath so it’s a good place to pop in when walking between the two.

It also home to The Buttery Cafe, one of the many cafes in Hampstead and as an outdoor terrace courtyard to enjoy your tea and cake on!

To check out it’s opening time click here.

Things to do in Hampstead, Hampstead Museum

15. Visit Fenton House

Fenton House is Hampstead’s oldest mansion, a 17th-century merchants house.

If you’re into music or art, you can go inside and see hidden treasures and collections of early musical instruments and ceramics.

There is also a 300-year-old walled garden that you can walk around too.

For prices and opening times click here.

Things to do in Hampstead, Fenton House

16. Check Out the Admirals House

Just behind Fenton House is the Admirals House so if you see one, you should see both.

This is a really unique building and is said to have inspired the character Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins.

The house is meant to look a bit like a ship as a past owner and eccentric former naval officer, constructed two decks on the roof and used to fire salutes from the cannon, not impressing his neighbours!

Things to do in Hampstead, Admirals House

17. Do Yoga in Keats House, Burgh House and on Hampstead Heath

If you’re looking for a unique place to do yoga in London. Nicole Rose offers classes in Keats House, Burgh House and on Hampstead Heath in the Summer.

To check out her website schedule have a look here.

18. Keep a lookout for Celebrities in Hampstead

This is not what you may think of when you think about what to do in Hampstead but Hampstead and Belsize Park, which is just down the road, are popular places for celebrities to live.

I remember my mum telling me that years ago she saw Jonathan Ross here, I’ve seen Ricky Gervais a few times.

Sting, Judi Dench and Boy George are all said to live in Hampstead and are Hampstead Celebrities so always keep your head up and eyes open as you never know who you might see!

19. Check out the Charity Shops

There are lots of Charity Shops in Hampstead, some are on Hampstead High Street close to the underground and some down by the overground station.

What makes these perhaps better than any other charity shop is that you can often find some really great bargains in them because as I said, Hampstead is quite a wealthy area and you never know who has donated some items!

20. Shopping in Hampstead

Talking of shops, Hampstead does have some pretty nice shops along its High Street too.

They’re a little bit more upmarket as you may expect but there’s a Gap, Oliver Bonas, Kiehls, Reiss, Hobbs, Petit Bateau, Zadig & Voltaire, Waterstones, Brandy Melville, Jane & Dada, Sweaty Betty and Kurt Geiger to name a few of the best places to shop in Hampstead!

Things to do in Hampstead London High Street Shops

21. Go to the Fair

Ok so the Hampstead fair isn’t on all the time in Hampstead but a fair does come to Hampstead on pretty much all of the bank holidays and is on for at 2-3 days.

It’s a great thing to do with children in Hampstead and it’s located in the car park of Hampstead Heath closest to the overground station.

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Hampstead London:

22. Get a Coffee at a Red Phone Box

Start your day by visiting a telephone booth on Hampstead High Street for your Coffee, Tea or Smoothie fix!

Yes, that’s right, Kape Barako is a converted red phone box just in front of Barclay’s bank selling an array of drinks.

It’s open from 8:00am-2:30 pm every day except Sundays and it’s a pretty unique thing to do in Hampstead.

Things to do in Hampstead, Coffee Telephone box

22. Go for Brunch

Another way to start your day off right in Hampstead is to go for brunch! Hampstead has loads of cafes, both chain and independent cafes that offer brunch.

I put together a full list of recommended brunch places in Hampstead because there are so many options!

23. Get Ice Cream at Oddono’s in Hampstead

This isn’t the only ice cream shop in Hampstead but it is the only one that has a line out of the door on pretty much every day of the year, even in the winter!

So you know the ice cream at Oddono’s on Flask Walk is good!

I can recommend the Salted Caramel, the Pistachio, and since turning Vegan the Banana Sorbet.

If you go and there is a queue I promise you it’s worth the wait!

Things to do in Hampstead London Oddono's ice cream

25. Go for a Beer or Meal in an English Pub

Hampstead has some gorgeous pubs perfect for enjoying a beer, lunch or dinner in.

They’re very traditional English pubs and that’s because most of them are so old and do hold so much history.

Most of the pubs have outside seating which is used all year round and offer great Sunday Roasts!

Here are the top 6 pubs in Hampstead that I recommend you visit for a true English pub experience and amazing food!

Things to do in Hampstead, Wells Walk Pub

26. Have a Sunday Roast at The Holly Bush

The Holly Bush deserves its own point. The Holly Bush pub is a bit of an institution in Hampstead.

It’s located down a beautiful old side street and really shows what Hampstead, and even London, used to look like many many years ago especially if you consider the fact that it was built in the 1790’s!

The Holly Bush serves food all day, all week but if you want a truly British experience in Hampstead then I would recommend going for a Sunday Dinner and a beer on a Sunday afternoon.

Things to do in Hampstead, Holly Bush Pub

27. Get a Crepe

Another food place in Hampstead that you’re bound to see a huge queue for is La Creperie de Hampstead, selling a mixture of sweet and savoury crepes known to be London’s most typical Parisian Street Crêperie.

Located on the High Street just a few meters from the underground station, it’s been there since 1980 and the crepes are well worth the wait I promise.

Things to do in Hampstead London Crepe

28. Have the Best Pizza in Hampstead

One of the best places I have had pizza (including pizza in Italy) is at Mimmo La Bufala opposite Hampstead overground station.

It’s a really authentic Italian restaurant, the food is incredible and the staff are really nice and hospitable!

Hampstead is home to many Italian restaurants, if you want more ideas, here are the best Italian Restaurants in Hampstead and near Hampstead!

29. Have the Best Fish & Chips in Hampstead

Who knew Fish and Chips could be so fancy but The Fish Cafe in Hampstead has made it pretty fancy and very tasty.

You can sit in or dine outside on a nice day, you can also get a takeaway and take it to the park or sit on a nearby bench and enjoy them.

This is one of the best restaurants in Hampstead and here are more high quality restaurants in Hampstead!

30. Go to a Fancy Italian Restaurant in Hampstead

If you want to go somewhere a bit fancier for lunch or dinner then Villa Bianca is the answer as one of the best restaurants in Hampstead.

It’s a long-standing Italian restaurant down the laneway of Perrin’s Court.

It’s gorgeous from the outside as it’s covered in flowers and in the warmer months, you can eat on the small terrace overlooking Perrin’s court.

FAQ About Hampstead:

Is Hampstead Heath worth visiting?

Yes! Hampstead Heath is a huge green space with plenty of walks, ponds and viewpoints! Hampstead Heath makes you feel a million miles away from the city of London but from Parliament Hill you can see an amazing view of the city!

Is Hampstead posh?

Yes, Hampstead is one of the most affluent areas in London with many celebrities, millionaires and billionaires living here. This is why it’s a good area of London to visit.

What is Hampstead famous for?

Hampstead is famous for the many writers and artists that lived there in the past. These days it is famous for that history and the many celebrities that live in the area. It’s also famous for Hampstead Heath, one of the biggest parks in London.

And there you have it! All of my local, insider tips and things to do in Hampstead London in 2021!

  • I have so many blog posts on London including area guides for Camden, Greenwich, Kings Cross & Kensington, plus some Walking Guides, find them here:
  • All London Posts

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jacqueline holmes March 21, 2019 - 9:41 am

Hi Ellie
I loved your blog it was so informative thank you!
Would you be interested in doing a paid walking tour around Hamstead?
My husband and I will be in London for a few days early June and would love some help looking around.
here’s to wishful thinking!

TheWanderingQuinn March 21, 2019 - 10:01 am

Hello. Thank you for your message. I’m afraid I won’t be in London in June but thank you for asking and if I still lived there I would have loved to. It’s such a beautiful area.
Just make sure you give yourself as much time as possible there to fully enjoy it and see it and you’ll see a lot 🙂

Chelsey March 28, 2019 - 9:14 pm

Hi Ellie,

I recently found your blog and love seeing all of the places you have traveled to!

I’m thinking about planning a solo trip to London in either August or September, and your posts make me really want to stay close to Hampstead! I’ve been to central London before so I’ve seen all those big touristy sights, so if I stay in the Hampstead area, how much time do I need to explore the area to its fullest?

Thanks and happy travels 🙂

TheWanderingQuinn March 28, 2019 - 11:13 pm

Hello Chelsey, thank you for having a read of my blog. One day in Hampstead will show you a good amount of the area but two days would be great too. There’s not much accommodation in Hampstead but Camden is really close by and you can visit primrose hill and walk all the way along the canal from there too which is a great side of the city. Alternatively staying around Euston or Kings Cross is a good idea as they’re just a few stops on the tube away but they’ll be more accommodation options and then you’re in central London too 🙂

Hope that helps, you’ll love it, it’s such a nice area!!


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