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hampstead heath

Hampstead Heath

As England’s 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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