Since the opening of the College Bilingue de Londres (CFBL) in 2011, and of the International Lycée of Wembley in September 2015, the neighbourhoods around Hampstead have gradually become the new “Frog Valley” of London.
Ideally located between these two French schools, Hampstead offers a chic and vibrant quality of life along the two beautiful parks of Hampstead Heath and Regents Park.
Historically, the area has been welcoming the French community for a long time! Indeed, during the Second World War, General de Gaulle had already fell for the pretty tree-lined streets of Hampstead. He used to live on “Frognal” avenue.
Families will appreciate the Edwardian houses, larger than in West London, with real gardens! The nature lovers will walk in the Heath in the middle of the forest, in the high grass and around the ponds!
North London has the most beautiful parks in the city: Hampstead Heath (Vast wilderness park with two lakes where you can swim in the summer), Primrose Hill (the park with the best views across London) and Regent’s Park (known for its zoo, a lake with pedal boats and its charming canals).
Happy mix of genres, in the same area, you can stroll in the ultra chic streets of Hampstead Heath, go for a Chinese lunch in the Camden Town neighbourhood and have a glass of Pimm’s in the posh village of Primrose Hill. All these neighbourhoods are full of life and trendy!
Popular among Americans (American School in St John’s Wood), Hampstead has always had a reputation of chic and glamorous residential area offering a larger habitat than in most other parts of London. In fact, Hampstead houses are wider than elsewhere and have large gardens.
This is especially the case of the Hampstead Garden Suburb, the northern part of the area, reminiscent of American cities with wide streets, lined with large, independent houses with off street parking and a huge garden at the back.
The area around the Heath is full of pretty red brick houses of the Georgian era, chic and quaint. Streets such as Windmill Hill or Downshire Hill are lovely and worth a stroll.
The Belsize Park neighbourhood is called by the locals “Belsize Village” to highlight the strong sense of community that prevails. Its heart, Belsize Lane is full of nice little shops and the surrounding streets hide many charming mews.
Primrose Hill is a small, trendy triangle between Primrose Hill Park and Regents Park where movie stars and other celebrities live in Victorian homes. Its park is perched on top of a hill and offers beautiful views across London.
Kentish town: no French knew this area before the arrival of CFBL (French Bilingual College London) and now it’s all about Kentish Town! Bordering Hampstead and Camden Town, Kentish Town is a popular area originally; it is more affordable than other areas but is already increasing more and more in value as the influx of French is growing. The CFBL, which welcomes children from Year 1 to Year 10, has indeed given a boost to the neighbourhood. It consists mainly of Victorian houses and families who have settled there do not want to leave!
Finally, West Hampstead is a neighbourhood that attracts young professionals because of its direct link to Canary Wharf on the Jubilee Line. With its beautiful Victorian houses, the “mansions” of West Lane are appreciated because they are home to large apartments enjoying private access to beautiful communal gardens. Thanks to the Jubilee Line and the over ground station, this area is the only area with easy access to both the International School of Wembley and CFBL.
Living in Hampstead best places, tips, activities not to be missed :
- Swim in one of three lakes in Hampstead Park but we recommend to do so in the summer only!
- Brunch on the beautiful terrace of the pub “The Freemansons” on Downshire Hill
- Picnic on the heights of Primrose Hill to admire one of the finest views in London
- Come across Jude Law while shopping in Highgate
- Catch a movie in the oldest cinema in the world: Everyman Cinema on Holly Bush Vale
- Contemplate the most famous sofa in the world in the Freud Museum on Maresfield Gd-
- Buy English organic produce in the farmers’ market on Parliament Hill on Saturday morning
- Let yourself be caught up in the past in the famous cemetery of Highgate, steles and magnificent mausoleums covered with vegetation
- Take your cousins or teenaged nieces to spend the day in Camden Market, a vintage and hippie market
- Organize your daughter’s birthday at Mystical Fairies in Hampstead
- Have tea at the Kenwood House after walking in the Heath
- Take a snack at the Primrose Bakery on Primrose Hill
- Decorate your mug at Art 4 Fun in West Hampstead
- Take your kids to Rascal in Swiss Cottage, an inside playground
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