Nesting in zones 2 is one of London’s finest villages, Hampsted. A time-honoured contrast in comparison to its neighbours.
Drawn to the carpet of greenery, undeterred by the lack of sunshine, I made an early afternoon visit to the stunning ancient woodland. Our journey started at the entrance opposite Hampstead Heath station. Using good old Google maps to guide us, we walked on the paths closest to the ponds. Typically taking pictures of approaching swans. Satisfied with the photography skills we moved on, only to stop after a few steps to take more photos, this time of ourselves with the thicket background.
The further in we walked the more untamed and rugged the trails became. The paths gradually inclined up a ridge towards the peak of parliament hill. Leading us to one of London’s highest points. Descrying a striking view of the distant city skyline, that’s hidden behind clusters of foliage, apart from a linear opening. Despite the grey day, the panorama was still remarkable. The skyscrapers bored through thick clouds.
Turning away we were still surrounded by uphill views of highland trees and jutting Church spires. Walking of the hill, our next mission was to see Kenwood House. At the time it seemed like mission impossible. Our route wasn’t straightforward, instead, it would divide into twos or threes. Getting directions from cordial locals and following google maps as best as we could, we still ended up on awry paths. That took us through darkened tree tunnels, leaping over branches and carving our way past protruding branches. Some detours are worth it.
Getting closer to Kenwood House I was relieved to see the white exterior of the former stately home appearing through leafy gaps. Sitting prettily on the crest of a gentle hill the 17th-century villa overlooks the north of the parkland. Unable to see the interior, I focused on everything outside, not missing a single planted flower. Beside the house is a picturesque garden, quaint cafes and a miniature cottage housing a gift shop and bookstore.
Two hours of walking, hilltop views, 790 acres (almost), meadows and natural ponds later, we made it to the end of our stroll. An entire day is needed to properly explore Hampstead and all that it has to offer. But for now, I could do with putting my feet up and a warm cup of hot chocolate.