Hampstead Heath is the closest thing you can find to rural bliss near central London. It covers over 790 acres and rises and falls from high meadows to deep woodland. There are countless different areas in the heath, there is a running track and a small zoo, Kenwood House with its tea rooms and beautiful architecture, there are beautifully designed bridges over the many small rivers that meander through the heath, and there are over 30 ponds. The main ponds were turned into reservoirs in the 17th and 18th century to supply London with fresh water; however three of these larger ponds are now reserved for swimmers. There is a mixed pond and then two separate ponds for males and females. Locals sunbathe here in the height of the British summer and the hardier bathe in the ponds throughout the year.
There is plenty of activity on the heath, plenty of kite-flyers, dog-walkers and picnickers. One of the most popular spots is Parliament hill which is the highest point of the heath. From here you can get a magnificent view of the London skyline, and spot such landmarks as Canary Wharf and St Pauls Cathedral, rising up out of the city’s horizon.
Tel: 020 7332 3322
Entry Charges: Admission Free