For the past 2 weeks here at KOMPAS, we’ve had the great pleasure to have Joel, a 16-year old work experience student, join our team. Joel shadowed members of our marketing and business development departments, learning about what we do here at KOMPAS. As one of his projects while here, Joel wrote a blog post about his favourite place in London, Hampstead Heath, which we are happy to be sharing with you below.
Hampstead Heath is one place that I will never forget. This place is popular with locals and tourists alike, and there’s just something about the park that I can’t shake. No matter how many times I go to this place, whether I am just walking through or exploring with my friends, I seem to enjoy myself. There are so many things to do and so many things to see there that you never get bored very quickly. So here are some suggestions on what to do if you ever decide to visit Hampstead Heath.
Take a Walk around Kenwood House
This is best to do during the summer, as that is when all of the plants and trees in the garden flower. The gardens of Kenwood House are quite the sight as you look at all the pinks and reds in the garden. The house is now a museum and is worth a tour around – what’s more, it’s completely free. They have amazing artwork and old toys to see. If you are peckish or thirsty you can go to the attached cafe – but this is not free and is fairly expensive as far as a cup of coffee goes.
Go for a Long Walk and Get Lost in the Amazing Scenery
Hampstead Heath has plenty of viewpoints to get a great look at London’s landscape and skyline. There are also some beautiful views of the ponds. The park also has amazing patches of woodlands that will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the days of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
A Lovely Place for a Picnic
Whether you’d like to stop and eat on top of a hill or on a quiet patch of grass surrounded by trees, there is a place in the park for you. With open spaces big enough for any size of party or family gathering, this is the best place in London for a picnic. The huge green fields are great for kids to run and play, and it is easy to keep an eye on them too.
An Amazing Place for a Walk Alone, with Friends or with the Dog
Hampstead Heath is an amazing place to go for a walk with your dog. There is so much space for your beloved pet to run and play, and there are even places for the dog to swim. There are also plenty of other dogs and people for you and your companion to meet. Nearly all of the people and pets there are completely approachable and friendly. If you are there alone or with friends you can go on great long walks discovering as you go.
Fancy a Swim?
There is a children’s paddling pool, a swimming pool called the Lido and three ponds you can go for a swim in. The paddling pool is free and incredibly popular with the locals. The Lido is an open-air swimming pool which attracts people from far and wide during the summer months. You have to pay to get in, but you can stay as long as you like. Plus, there is a cafe for when you get hungry or thirsty. There is an all-male pond, an all-female pond, and a mixed pond. Just pay a small amount and then you can swim to your heart’s content. But be prepared: the water is freezing, from what I hear!
Listen to Live Music
Every now and then during the summer, a band plays on the bandstand. It’s free to listen, and you sit and enjoy the music these people have decided to play. The music is usually pop or jazz and is really enjoyable. The whole thing is child-friendly and right next door is a small cafe that has great food and drinks.
Every so often, events are held by the national services and there are dog shows. There are more types of events but these are the main two. They always take place in the summer and are free. The events often include live music at the bandstand, and at events run by the national services, the police often give out free things. It’s great because kids get to interact with them and learn about the work they do. Sometimes you can go inside fire engines when the fire brigade is there. When there is a dog show, you can watch the trainers and their hounds show off their skills with obstacle courses and talent shows.
Watch the Chinooks Landing
Every so often near the running track, you’ll hear a helicopter before you see it. You can watch the Chinook land – but make sure you are holding onto something, because if you’re light you may get blown over! Once landed, soldiers come out. This is where they land when they come to London from far out. After that, they are picked up and driven to the barracks. For young kids, this is an amazing experience as they probably will not have been this close to a Chinook before.
Watch the Athletics
The local athletics team often has competitions and this causes a big scene. Teams from across the country come to compete. This makes for a great day out for the whole family. There is always an ice cream truck, and sometimes if the team wins there’s an afterparty. If you are a local, you can even join the team!
Football or Rugby, Anyone?
Hampstead RFC is a rugby and football club that you can join at any age. Every so often, the football team has a home game, which can be nice to watch. The rugby team trains every Saturday morning so you can come watch the training, but most of their games are away from the club. Both teams are welcoming to visitors.
These are ten of the top things to do while in Hampstead Heath. There are plenty more things you can do while you are there. I recommend exploring it at your own pace, with family or friends. It is always a good day out, especially in the summer.