Moving to West Hampstead: Area Guide
Charming West Hampstead is one of London’s best-kept secrets; it’s managed to remain out of the spotlight, thanks to neighbouring Hampstead, a busy tourist hotspot.
This close-knit residential area offers a perfect alternative to Hampstead village, with an array of shops, restaurants and cafes to choose from.
There’s a real sense of community spirit in West Hampstead; it’s not unusual for families to move in and spend decades in the area.
If you’re looking for a cute, charismatic and community-focused neighbourhood, West Hampstead might be the perfect place. We’ve put together this handy guide with everything you need to know about moving to West Hampstead.
Where is West Hampstead?
West Hampstead is located in north London, in the borough of Camden. This beautiful Zone 2 area includes the postcodes NW3 and NW6.
It’s to the south west of Hampstead, nestled between Swiss Cottage, Kilburn and Belsize Park.
It takes just over 30 minutes to reach central London from West Hampstead, so it’s perfect for the quieter lifestyle many professionals and families crave, without being too isolated from the excitement of the centre.
A brief history of West Hampstead
The original West Hampstead was a village known as ‘West End’ during the 1500s.
The area remained a small hamlet with approximately 40 houses until the arrival of the railway in the late 1800s. This encouraged many property developers and landowners to build in the area, and West Hampstead began to expand slowly. It was also renamed West Hampstead in order to avoid confusion with the West End of London.
West Hampstead has been the site of some key moments in modern musical history. The one and only Dusty Springfield was born in the area in 1939.
There’s a rumour that the Rolling Stones were locked in the kitchen of their West Hampstead home by their manager to write an original song – previously, they had only released cover.
The Beatles were also told they had ‘no future in show business’ at an audition at nearby Decca Studios in 1962.
An in-depth look at West Hampstead
Who lives there?
Thanks to the quieter lifestyle that West Hampstead offers, families and professionals tend to live here, whereas students and younger people tend to flock to Camden and Kentish Town for the bars and nightlife.
Many high-profile media professionals dwell in the area, with former residents including author Evelyn Waugh and British national treasure Stephen Fry.
Types of property in West Hampstead
West Hampstead is home to some beautiful, quintessential London properties. These include red-brick Victorian and Edwardian mansion buildings, as well as large, detached homes, some of which predate the railway line.
There are plenty of flats, studios and other types of properties available to rent and buy, especially on West End Lane and around Fortune Green. The majority of the flats are in converted townhouses and exude modernity and style.
The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom property is £2,955 pcm in NW3 and £2,029 pcm in NW6.
West Hampstead really offers the best of both worlds. While enjoying the quieter lifestyle that the area has to offer, you also get the transport links of an inner-city postcode.
West Hampstead tube station is on the Jubilee Line, taking 9 minutes to arrive in Bond Street, 18 minutes to London Bridge and just 25 minutes to Canary Wharf.
West Hampstead Overground station is on the Richmond to Stratford line. The riverside idyll of Richmond is just 33 minutes away, while the exciting nightlife of Hackney is a 20-minute ride in the opposite direction.
West Hampstead also offers a Thameslink train. Perfect for escaping the city for a weekend away, the train goes directly through London towards Brighton and Gatwick Airport.
The area is also served by various buses.
Restaurants and shops
Shopping and eating out in West Hampstead centres around West End Lane, with loads of great cafés, restaurants and convenience stores within easy walking distance.
If you’re a fan of worldly cuisine, you certainly won’t be disappointed with West Hampstead, and its shopping is quaint and perfect for browsing.
The Wet Fish Cafe
Head over to The Wet Fish Cafe, offering a range of fresh fish dishes, all under the name of WTF (what the fish). Choose from curries, baked fish with lentils or a fish finger sandwich.
Searching for the perfect brunch destination? Then look no further than Roni’s Bakery. Much loved by locals, this bakery and café is famed for its excellent bagels, as well as a fantastic range of Mediterranean-inspired brunch and lunch options. Make sure to try one of their excellent coffees or smoothies.
For a relaxed modern dining experience, make your way to Ham. With imaginative cooking, quality ingredients and an Instagrammable interior, it’s perfect for a romantic dinner or tasty brunch.
The Alice House
The Alice House bar and restaurant is a local hotspot serving up a great range of craft beers and cocktails, as well as various food menus. Sit down in their spacious interior or outdoor terrace and get ready for some quality people watching.
Organico is a great location for a quiet coffee or plate of organic Mediterranean food. It’s part café, part shop, selling carefully sourced health-conscious food and beauty products.
West End Lane Books
Every credible north London neighbourhood needs an independent bookstore, and West End Lane Books is one of the very best. With lots of authors attending book signings and meeting fans, West End Lane Books is a hub for book lovers all over London. The staff are famously helpful, so be prepared to leave with a stack full of books and a stack full of recommendations for your next visit.
Looking for a gift? Flowerstalk in the perfect place. Specialising in everything from impressive occasion flowers to simple bouquets to brighten up the kitchen, this shop is the ideal place to purchase a gift for someone special (or for yourself of course).
Socialising in West Hampstead
- If you’re looking for somewhere to meet friends for after-work drinks, it has to be the Chicago-style underground club, The Salt Lounge. Serving stellar cocktails and a party-like atmosphere, it’s the perfect haunt for a Friday night when you feel like going out out.
- Make your way over to The Freud Museum, where the famed psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud spent the last years of his life. The home has been made into a museum which now houses his books, study and many of his notes.
- Head to Kiln Theatre if you want to watch a film or theatre production. The 235-seat auditorium is perfect for catching up on current releases or relaxing to your favourite classic.
- Get some fresh air at nearby Hampstead Heath or go for a dip in one of its famous bathing ponds.
- Get crafting at one of the Village Haberdashery’s many creative classes and workshops.
Moving to West Hampstead
If you like the charming, family-friendly and relatively quiet side of London, you’ll be in your element in West Hampstead.
Perfect for families and professionals, this north London hidden gem is just a stone’s throw away from the thrills of the city centre.
If you’re feeling tempted to move to this delightful part of London, then it might be time to start your property search.