A great little outing from central London is to take the tube to Hampstead (Northern line) and Hampstead Heath park, it is a great walk to one of the great viewpoints of London at Parliament Hill. The little hamlet of Hampstead has grown into Greater London but was once a small village on the edge of a forest. Now it is a charming little village with a high street filled with small independent shops, pubs and one of the best creperies in the UK.
From Hampstead High Street it is a 20-minute walk or so to the park itself, made easier by a few good and hidden very local pubs like the Duke of Hamilton and the Wells Tavern. The whole area oozes with charm, and you can see why the cost of houses in the area is astronomical.
Hampstead Heath, or the Heath as it is known to Londoners, is an ancient heath covering 320 hectares. This grassy public space is one of the highest points in London, and this can be easily seen on the south-eastern part of the park where the views from Parliament Hill over central London is so good it’s protected by law. The heath is rambling and hilly, encompassing new and ancient woodland, a lido to swim in, playgrounds and training tracks, and a dog walker’s haven (last time we visited we saw a pint-sized dog carrying a man-sized stick – it was both fierce and proud…).
It is great to escape the London hubbub and get to a very tranquil and green oasis like this. The view from Parliament Hill can be enjoyed from several benches, and has been used in films and series, last in the 80s London drama It’s a Sin. If you continue across the heath you will reach Highgate with its awesome haunted graveyard. Take the tube back to central London from Archway (Northern Line).