Thursday, August 14, 2014

Village life in Hampstead

On Saturday we ventured to the village of Hampstead in North West London, somewhere we'd never been before.  It was such a beautiful day, the calm before the storm that hit on Sunday.

We got the tube to Swiss Cottage and then walked, up hill, to Hampstead. Along the way we passed some beautiful buildings that still showed the signs of how stunning they must have been when they were first built - most of them are now split up into flats, but they still have a sense of grandeur.  If you take the time to look closely at the buildings as you walk past you will notice beautiful ironwork, carved tiles, and touches of coloured glass in windows and doors.

On our walk up the hill we also came across the following statue - the father of Psychology, Sigmund Freud.  Freud died in London and lived not far from where the statue sits and apparently there is also a museum to visit (another day).

Hampstead village is lovely, and even though there are some chain stores there are even more independent stores and great little cafes and restaurants.  Again, older buildings have been made use of which gives the high street a really lovely look.

Gorgeous pink building

I took a picture of this property  for rent advert to give you an idea of how prestigious people consider the area of Hampstead to live in - if someone rented this flat out for one year it would cost them £273,000.

What you can't quite see in the picture below is that underneath the building that used to be the Express Dairy Company is a Tesco Express - a little ironic I think.

We came across an artist on the street, he was painting the street scene and from what we could see he was very good.

We had lunch in a funky little restaurant and to my delight they had Bundaberg root beer on the menu - for those that don't know, that is an Australian brand. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can take the girl out of Australia but you can't take Australia out of the girl.

To make lunch even more perfect I had a fish finger (home made fish fingers) burger and sweet potato fries all served on an enamel tray.
 This church looked really interesting but unfortunately was not open to the public to view.
This statue was outside an art gallery which had some fantastic paintings and sculptures inside - I think they were a little out of our price range. The statue reminded me of Sally Field in the Flying Nun (I think that's showing my age).
Our next place of interest was Hampstead Heath, which is an area of over 700 acres of grass and woodland, including bathing ponds.  It's a beautifully peaceful area in amongst the urban sprawl that is London.

Mixed bathing ponds

Whilst we were walking up the hill to see the amazing view of London we had a sit down on a seat and a man who looked like he'd stepped out of history walked past us - full Scottish regalia and a fantastic walking staff.

Sunny selfie on the heath

View over London including the Shard
On our way back to the station to head home we wandered round more of the streets to look at some of the lovely houses - here's a selection of my favourites.

Lovely purple house
George Orwell lived in this house
As always I managed to find a furry friend to have a bit of a chat to, this time a very regal looking cat.
We also visited Keats's House, which as the name suggests is where John Keats, the poet, lived in London.  The gardens are lovely and while we sat there it was amazing how little of the traffic noise that we could here, so a very peaceful spot.
We would really recommend you visit Hampstead if you're in the area as it's a special part of London with lots of different things to interest all people. 
Until next time, be good, keep smiling, and do something that makes you smile.
Pamela & Ken
P.S:  Final pictures are of a short poem by an Iranian writer on one of the Hampstead Heath benches which I found quite haunting.  In case you can't read it, it says:  I was born tomorrow, today I live, yesterday killed me.

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