capital city London has a lot to be proud of, the great
restaurants, the diversity of cultures… But one
thing London’s residents particularly love is the
open spaces and Hampstead Heath is one of the best.
The Heath has always been popular with Londoners and tourists
alike and the list of Hampstead Heath’s past admirers
includes some of England’s most notable artists,
namely poets Keats [map] and Shelley as well as painter John Constable.
Hampstead Heath consists of virtually eight hundred acres
of meadows, lakes and ponds, open fields, woodland,
and formal gardens that used to make
up the grounds of several individual residences. Even
today if you take the time to explore the heath, you’ll
find hidden gardens and small encloses each with their
own distinct features.
The real attraction of Hampstead Heath’s open spaces
can be seen most clearly when summer arrives and people
from all over the capital gather to make the most of the
sunshine, or in fact any day that the country has dry
weather! People use the Heath to simply have fun, by taking
a leisurely walk, playing sports or jogging, riding, sunbathing, picnicking or
whatever else comes to mind.
And when the sun comes out people use the bathing
ponds to cool down. Although the ponds are surrounded
by bushes, they do get quite popular so this is not an
activity for anyone who is overly body conscious. But
depending on your preference you can choose to swim in
the mixed or single sex ponds.
If you manage to overcome your shyness, you’ll enjoy
outdoor bathing in natural waters (no
chlorine here) in the heart of the city, for free!
Children and the young at heart can also enjoy activities
on the Heath including the animal and bird enclosures, adventure playground and the travelling
circuses and fun fairs that
often stop by.
To the north of the Heath is Kenwood House [map] which is renowned for its programme of outdoor concerts
and events in the summer. The Opera Gala and the Last Night of the Kenwood Proms are two of the
events popular with classical music fans, but the venue
also hosts popular music concerts and other activities
every year. To find out what’s happening this summer
visit the picnic concerts website.
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