Hampstead HeathOne of London's extraordinary green lungs
That this large rolling slice of ancient heathland remains untouched just four miles from Trafalgar Square is remarkable, and largely thanks to Victorian foresight and campaigning locals protecting its unique character.
In 2019, a small flock of sheep were the first to graze here for 60 years, an experiment to manage the land in a more eco-friendly way.
‘The Heath’ as Londoners refer to it, is actually several parks in one; up here, you could be in the deepest reaches of the countryside. At the southern end, Parliament Hill Fields has an imaginative playground, running track and refurbished Olympic-sized lido. More adventurous swimmers head to the three Ponds, havens for wild swimming for women, men and mixed groups.
The view from Parliament Hill of the city skyline makes you feel like Dick Whittington surveying the land he eyed up to conquer. Climb a tree, spot a famous actor walking their dog (or child), have a picnic, and relax. Walk north and you’ll find Kenwood House, a day out in its own right. You can just keep going all the way up to Golders Green Park or the Hill Garden & Pergola.
What’s amazing about The Heath is you can still find something new here even after years of frequent visits.
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