Moving to Hampstead: Area Guide
If you were to think about cobblestone streets, winding, hilly roads and acres and acres of green space, there’s every chance that you would conjure up an image of the countryside. Which is why it might come as a surprise to learn that rural living is accessible less than four miles from central London.
Hampstead is located in North West London and offers a slice of the village lifestyle right in the heart of the capital. For that reason, it has become one of the most sought-after postcodes in London and sees plenty of rental demand.
But what’s it really like to live in the prime NW3 postcode? That’s what we’re here to tell you with our renting in Hampstead area guide. So, read on, and discover everything you need to know about living in Hampstead.
Where is Hampstead?
Hampstead is located in North West London and lies four miles from Charing Cross. Its postcode is NW3, and neighbouring areas include Belsize Park, St. John’s Wood and Camden. Hampstead forms the north-west part of the London Borough of Camden.
A brief history of Hampstead
Hampstead’s name derives from the Anglo-Saxon words ham and stede, which mean “homestead”. It wasn’t until the 17th century that Hampstead experienced significant growth when trustees of the local well began advertising medicinal qualities in the area, which came from the chalybeate waters.
The result saw Hampstead become a popular spa town, a title it held until the 1800s when competition from other London areas reduced its popularity. The 1860s came with the opening of a railway station, which saw the area expand further.
By the early 1900s, many luxurious houses were constructed. The result meant that Hampstead regained its popularity and became one of the most affluent areas in London. It was also known as a hub of creativity, with famous poets like John Keats settling in the area during the 1800s.
An in-depth look at Hampstead
Who lives in Hampstead?
Hampstead is known for its international flavour, with many families from France and the United States, in particular, finding appeal in the NW3 postcode. It has also become somewhat of a celebrity hotspot over the years. Ricky Gervais, Boy George, Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons and Sting have all called Hampstead their home at one point or another.
Types of property in Hampstead
Many of the houses in Hampstead are grand buildings with five or more bedrooms. These rent for astronomical amounts, with renters paying in excess of £30,000 per month in some cases. Fortunately, there are more realistic options available. Many properties have been converted into one and two-bedroom apartments that sit on the “more affordable” end of the price scale.
Hampstead Village is the most sought-after part of the area, while Hampstead Heath and Frognal are also popular spots. If you’re thinking of renting in Hampstead, expect to find plenty of charming houses and cottages from the Georgian and Edwardian eras.
A one-bedroom apartment costs in the region of £1,880 per month, two-bedroom properties fetch around £3,100 per month and three-bedroom homes achieve an average of £5,500 per month.
The NW3 postcode is well connected, thanks to underground and overground options. Hampstead tube station is on the Northern Line and provides direct access to Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Tottenham Court Road and Bank in around 15 minutes.
Hampstead Heath Overground station also runs a service to other parts of north London, such as Highbury & Islington and areas in East London. Regular busses go to nearby St. Johns’ Wood in 15 minutes, where there is another tube station on the Jubilee Line.
Restaurants and shops in Hampstead
Hampstead’s appeal reaches further than local residents. Many people regularly visit to sample the local boutique shops, cafes, delicatessens and restaurants. Heath Street is particularly popular and is where you will find most of the food and entertainment options.
Piccola has been a staple in Hampstead for many years. The family-run restaurant offers an authentic slice of Italian cuisine that includes a large selection of pizzas and pasta. The laid-back atmosphere makes it an ideal place to enjoy both casual and formal dining.
Hidden down a cobbled alleyway, Ginger & White is a big hit with the locals thanks to its assortments of cakes and muffins. You can also tuck into all-day breakfasts, a delicious cup of hot brew and a selection of sandwiches.
Located on the cobbled street of Flask Walk, Keith Fawkes Antique Shop has a collection of furniture, rugs, books and artwork to browse. It has been part of the furniture at Hampstead for a long time and is a must-see for anyone new to the area.
Heath Street is the primary shopping street in Hampstead and features a range of shops that include fashion boutiques like Jane & Dada, The Kooples, NW3, Hobbs, Reiss, Zadig & Voltaire, Sandro and many more. There’s also a Waterstones bookstore and some of the best charity shops in London.
Socialising in Hampstead
As a tourist hotspot, there is plenty to do and see in Hampstead. The area is steeped in history and is home to Hampstead Heath, 790 acres of open space that is one of the most visited green areas in the capital.
Things to do and see if you’re renting in Hampstead
- Head to Hampstead Heath for a scenic stroll
- See panoramic views of London from Parliament Hill
- Visit the many blue plaques dotted around Hampstead of famous writers, poets and artists
- Admire the many pretty cottages
- Stop by one of the many cafes
- Go swimming in Hampstead Ponds
- Visit Kenwood House
- Enjoy a movie at Everyman Hampstead
- Taking a walking tour of the NW3 postcode
Moving to Hampstead
There’s no doubting Hampstead’s appeal, whether you’re a family looking to settle down or a young professional who enjoys the area’s scenic and peaceful settings that are just a few miles away from the centre of London. With one of the best open spaces in the capital, cultural and historical places to visit and see, and a lively village full of restaurants and shops, there’s never been a better time to live in Hampstead.