London NW3. Camden. London Property Area Guide.
Who Am I ?
I love the city, feel at home in the countryside, but won’t commute.
I work in a large, glass walled office block in central London.
I drive a 4×4 or prestige German saloon car.
My children attend Private Schools.
Either myself or my partner are from outside the UK.
Our friends have amazing dinner parties.
Answer: I am a typical Hampstead resident – and I’m proud to be!
Hampstead lies up the hill, 5 miles from central London (about 20minutes by car or bus, 15mins by Tube). Best approached through Regents Park, driving past St Johns Woods mega-houses on Avenue Road, and up Fitzjohns Hill. Aside to City workers and Foreign ex-pats, the Village attracts literary types, businessmen and women and the media creative.
Take Me Higher…
As you approach Hampstead two changes occur…. firstly you travel higher and higher – away from the hustle and bustle of the West End. Secondly the properties slowly change… to that of another era. By the time you see the quaint independent shops lining Heath Street, from Photography shops to Organic grocers, the houses you can see down the lanes are from the early 18th century (when the Wealthy first moved here to escape central london). To your left Church Row is the best example of Georgian property in the area.
Turn right at the Tube station and you’ll enter the High Street… filled with patisseries, cafes with outdoor seating and small retail shops from all the big chains.
Want to get a feel for property in Hampstead? Forget the internet… just browse the numerous estate agent windows on Heath Street and the High Street. Windows are filled with properties to rent and buy. Yes there really is an Estate Agent at every turn and corner – exhibiting the demand for properties in the area and also the supply – Hampstead is large and the property selection is good.
Continue down the High Street (every street in Hampstead is either ‘Up’ or ‘Down’, it’s slope city) and you’ll see the long queue for the Creperie de Hampstead – an institution, selling sweet delights outside the King William IV pub. Here you are in heart of ‘Hampstead Village.’ Get your iPhone out, pull up the Map and anywhere upto a half mile from where you are standing is true Village property.
We like to continue down the High Street onto Rosslyn Hill (note the little lane sweeping up and away to your right – there are many of these bringing in that country feeling), past the Carluccio’s and left onto Downshire Hill.
Any of the left turnings will take you onto beatiful residential streets, crammed with terraced houses in great condition. Downshire Hill itself is a favourite for grander (also terraced) properties with front gardens worthy of the Chelsea flower show.
Summer Garden, Friendly Locals
The Freemasons Arms is our preferred stop for a cold pint of lager, a chilled glass of Rose (or hot chocolates in winter) and a snack in the summer garden – teeming with friendly locals – before we cross Willow Road into the lower end of the Heath and walk for what seems like hours before reaching Parliment Hill or Kenwood House.
I would say many of Hampsteads residents love the well proportioned properties, enjoy the variety of shops and local restaurants, yet move here for the Heath. Inside of London, this (like Richmond Park) is one of the true spreads of green grass, woodland and water that let you feel as if you’re truly in the countryside.
If you love fresh air and country walks; own a dog or have children, this is one of the most indulgent areas of London that will give you a balanced life. From the middle of the heath you won’t hear any noise, can’t see any traffic and unless you are on the upper slopes won’t see any buildings.
For a view to beat Primrose Hill… climb right upto the top of the heath – bordered by Spaniards Road – and look down on a clear day to view everything from Canary Wharf to the East, the City and the Shard ahead of you and the London Eye to your West.
Now you can reward yourself with lunch at the Spaniards Inn – if it isn’t Londons oldest pub I’d be amazed – before taking on either Kenwood House or the Heath extension and Hampstead Garden Suburb.
Property in Hampstead is best described as on the Upper Slopes or Lower Slopes. Not every agent uses this description, for the newcomer though, it provides an easy measure. On the Upper Slopes you’ll find the grander houses – terraced, semi’s and detached. Property spreads across a wide area, so to divide it up:
East and West of Fitzjohns Avenue are grand houses, many still single dwellings, other sub-divided into very spacious family apartments. There is a new development of large lateral apartments at the bottom of the Avenue. This locale is favoured for proximity to many of the areas Prep and Private schools. Drive around here at morning rush hour or late afternoon and you will see every make and model of 4×4 car, driven by Mothers and Au Pairs, ferrying children in and out of the school playground (the local traffic wardens call this “feast time”) and turn up in packs.
Heath Street, west to the Finchley Road starts off as very villagey looking 18th century terraced houses then progresses into ‘ambassadorial’ mansions on Reddington Road, Templewood Avenue and Greenway Gardens. Footballers and Hedge Funders pay double-digit millions for these homes while entrepreneurs and Harley Street doctors buy the mid-size properties in the £3m-£5m range, or large apartments carved out of huge houses that command £1-£2m.
Frognal and the roads branching off it to the north (towards Heath St) offers a unique mix of older housing in lanes that truly feel like old English countryside. Regeneration means interiors are modern and polished, exteriors old and grand. On a misty day in autumn, you really will forget that central London is only 15minutes away.
The Crofts are a collection of roads bounded by the Finchley Road to the West and down the hill from Heath Street to the East. Hollycroft, Ferncroft and Rosecroft have lovely 3 to 4 storey homes, in tree lined roads with a good family and community feel. The Architectural integrity of these roads has been retained, so properties look very much alike – some of the most ‘homely’ roads in Hampstead we think. The majority remain single dwelling houses, rather than apartments.
Gentrifying by the week the Lower Slopes are easier thought of as properties in the vicinity of Hampstead Heath train station. These spread out towards Constantine Road, where you will find rows of cheaper and smaller terraced houses and find plenty of useful shops, sweet eateries and a very handy Marks and Spencer. In the shadow of the Royal Free hospital is a newer development of flats, mostly rented out now to young city professionals. Some of these have great terraces and in an area with little new bulid, they offer hi specifications. Even Liam Gallagher became a buy-to-let landlord with a flat here.
Past the train station, Parliament Hill road branches off into streets filled with well kept terrace houses, mostly split into flats. Ground floor and basement flats here often come with lovely, mid-size rear gardens. Top floor flats (many roof spaces have been converted) present wonderful views towards the heath, or catch unobstructed sunlight from the south. All these homes are spitting distance to the heath, making them great for families.
Ambassadors, Statesmen and those with matching finances go straight to Templewood Avenue and Redington Road for grand residences with over 5000 sqft of internal space and huge gardens. The Old School gentry prefer Gainsborough Gardens: moments from the Heath, property here rarely comes onto the open market, so a Buying Agent is suggested. Prices for Hampstead Super Prime are £7m to £15m.
Telegraph Hill is an often neglected thoroughfare on the outskirts of Hampstead. Look here (only a stones throw from the famous ‘Crofts’ Roads) for recently redeveloped grand family homes offering better value than elsewhere. For a true bargain, the handful of roads known as Golders Hill Park. West Heath Road, Avenue and Drive then the The Park Avenue and Drive still feel undervalued, being on Hampstead’s fringes.
South & West Hampstead
Across the Finchley Road (to the East) you will find South and West Hampstead. These areas are big enough to warrant their own guides.
+ Village feel on the Hill
+ Warm High Street feel
+ Family friendly throughout
+ Size and tranquility of Hampstead Heath
+ High quality and wide selection of property
+ Bordered by good areas such as Belsize Park and Hampstead Garden Suburb
– High starting price for properties, whether renting or buying.
– Long walk to public transport from many streets (and remember it will be uphill one way or the other)
– Drivers will encounter long rush hour traffic jams in and out of Hampstead. That 15 minute Sunday evening drive into the West End or City can take 45minutes at 8am or 6pm.
Adults and Kids can watch the latest Blockbuster Movie in sumptuous surroundings at the Everyman Cinema (5 Holly Bush Vale Hampstead London NW3 6TX)
Best Sunday Roast, with lashings of Gravy is found in a 400 year old Pub at the Spaniards Inn (Spaniards Road London, Greater London NW3 7JJ. 020 8731 8406)
Picnic in the Park at Hampstead Heath. You can grab supplies from the Cafe at Kenwood House and set out your blanket in front of the Regency mansion (Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR. 020 8348 1286)
Indulge your sweet tooth at Le Creperie de Hampstead (77 Hampstead High Street London, Greater London NW3 1RE. 020 7445 6767)
Fun lunch spot for the Kids: Giraffe (46 Rosslyn Hill Hampstead NW3 1NH)
Cappuccino and Cake at The Coffee Cup (74 Hampstead High St, NW3 1QX)
Antique Hunting: Hampstead Antique and Craft Emporium (12 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 6TE)
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Hampstead (Northern Line, Edgware branch)
Finchley Road (Jubilee, Metropolitan)
Belsize Park (Northern Line, Edgware branch)
Harry Styles of One Direction, Jonathon Ross, Rachel Weisz (Mrs James Bond!), Peter Mandelson, Martin Bell, Tim Roth, Liam Gallagher