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Hidden Hampstead

It was Sunday that we realised that we were middle aged and really didn’t care about it! We got up at 7.30…yes AM…YES on a Sunday! After a coffee and a quick play with the cat we thought what better way to shake off the winter cobwebs than to go for a walk and an explore somewhere else we hadn’t been.

We walked from Finchley Road station up to Ginger and White in Hampstead, which although not Tim’s favourite branch (that’s the Belsize one), was still excellent. Packed full of middle class yummy mummys, dads with no control over their kids, and too many handbag-sized dogs to mention, we picked a spot outside to people watch, under the heaters. What was supposed to be a stop for coffee obviously turned into a full blown breakfast. Tim always likes to make sure I’ve eaten, plus he’s a glutton for a good breakfast menu. Lattes, flat whites, eggs and the most beautifully cooked sourdough with rocket, parmesan and truffle oil later, we set back off down Hampstead high street to our first stop.

Before we got to stop number one, we walked by Hopkins’ House. Great you say. Well behind the fancy glass and blinds, aside from it being at the perfect level for nosy parkers like myself to look in, it’s won loads of awards. Awards for the design, architecture and eco-friendliness of it…and we’re sure it was on Grand Designs or a show of that nature!

First stop was Keat’s house. Keat’s house was amazing. And we learnt so much about him too. Neither of us massive poetry buffs it was a really nice insight into his life and work, and unrequited love, without being patronising. Different rooms with different stories, plenty of things to touch and sit on, and a 10 minute summary video in the basement. Such a good place.

The best part about it though was the gardens. You enter the property down the path between the Keat’s Library and the house, on a perfectly normal residential road. The gardens are so serene and you don’t have to pay to enter the gardens. Even though it was frosty, the weather was beautiful so we just sat for a bit and watched the parakeets!

The house itself is amazing, and completely free with a National Art Pass!

From there we walked down to what was going to be the surprise key part of the day, but someone, yes, it was me, for the first time, had forgotten to check the dates it was open…so we’ll have to go back to the national trust site of 2 Willow Road (the architect and designer Goldfinger’s place) in March!

We then went down to the Magdala Pub by Hampstead Heath station, which although has closed its doors to the public, is still there for what we went to see. In 1955, Ruth Ellis shot her racing driver boyfriend outside the pub, and she was controversially the last woman submitted to capital punishment and hung in Britain. Well, the bullet holes from this murder are still very present and prominent, but some say the landlord at the time may have made them more emphasised to cash in on the event!

The final stop on the tour was the South End Green Conveniences which are supposed to be the best looking public toilets in London, a big Victorian tiled epic, a popular haunt for the Hampstead gay scene. Unfortunately for us, they too were locked shut. We weren’t sure why it if they would ever be open to peer at!

We stopped of for some lunch and then went to the British Museum to see our favourite artefacts (soon to be a blog post on what to see there) and had the sundayest Sunday we had sundayed for a long time!

Where would you like us to tell you more about next weekend? Let us know in the comments below!