Hampstead Village in Inner London is the London address of the who’s who in the world of arts and showbiz. It has more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area in the UK. Past residents include Keats, John Constable, Henry Moore, Robert Louis Stevenson, Agatha Christie, T.S. Eliot … Some of its current residents are Boy George, Brad Pitt, Emma Thompson and Bollywood’s very own Katrina Kaif. However, don’t expect to bump into them as you walk around, because it won’t happen. 🙂
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I feel that to understand why I have this post here, you need to either have lived in England for a while or have a bit of English-ness in you. It is the only rationale for getting all dewy-eyed and ecstatic over tumbling English gardens, quaint clay bricked Georgian houses and moss-covered graves in the backyard of the local parish church. The fact that it borders Hampstead Heath, London’s 790 acres of open rambling green space, is the cherry on its cake.
And that is the real charm of the place. It is the quintessential English village, celebrating English’ness’ and even the stars are low-key here, superseded by the intellectual, literary, artistic and liberal associations that Hampstead has enjoyed over the centuries. Constable lived here. Keats and Shelley wrote here. George Michael sings here. I ended my explorations with a typical pub lunch, soup of the day and fresh sweet bread. It’s the simple stuff which wins in the end.
Charming houses big and small and all costing lots and lots of millions; Right: Robert Louis Stevenson used to live here
In 1766 an Act was passed which taxed houses according to its number of windows. This was because glass was expensive and seen as a sign of wealth. So what people did was they covered their windows with bricks!
The picture perfect informal English garden tumbling into the streets …
or enclosed as in the 17th Century Fenton House
Left: The local church—the Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead; Right: St. Mary’s, one of the few Roman Catholic churches in England
Constable lies buried in this graveyard behind the local church. Nope, this is not his. I just found it more picturesque. His is sacred ❤