Getting to know all the unique neighborhoods is a challenge worthy of accepting after an international relocation places.  While many neighborhoods may not be a great place to call home due to prices or impracticality visiting them on Saturday afternoons is always an option.  Of all the London neighborhoods in and around the central part of the city Hampstead is one of the best for families wanting to escape a cold, gray, London winter afternoon.

Neighborhoods – Hampstead’s History

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Hampstead was popular with British aristocracy due to a natural well.  After competition from London spas caused the well to close in the late 1800s it became a center for art and politics.  Liberalism was king of Hampstead and Hampstead Liberalist was a (at times derogatory term) to describe the liberal humanists of the 1960s.

Neighborhoods – Kenwood House

This majestic estate was built in the early seventeenth century, changed hands several times over the centuries and was finally left to the state in 1927 by Lord Iveagh of the Guinness family. It was opened to the public in 1928.  The home houses numerous pieces of art work and the gardens are spectacular.  Next to the home is the ancient Hampstead Heath, an area of pristine, undisturbed British forest and wild land attracting visitors from around the world.

Neighborhoods – Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a 790 acre park north comprised of ancient forestland, ponds, swimming areas, hiking trails and playgrounds.  Londoners have visited the park and grounds for centuries benefitting from the clean air and water.  The swimming ponds at one time were drinking water reservoirs.  Today visitors include the park much as visitors did centuries and decades ago.  With one of the highest points in the this area located in the park visitors experience a breathtaking view of London.

Families having recently moved, interested in visiting neighborhoods should consider a Saturday trip to Hampstead.  If the weather is agreeable a day can be spent wandering the gardens of Kenwood House and enjoying Hampstead Heath.  If the weather is cold and dreary Kenwood House beckons with its charm and epitomized British appeal.  With so many neighborhoods to visit while living in the city every weekend should be spent making the most of it!