Travel Report: Hampstead Heath, London.
April 2017. There are worse things one could do in London on a sunny Sunday afternoon than strolling around Hampstead Heath shooting the shit with an old friend. With a rich two hundred year history, Hampstead Heath is a huge, 800-acre park of giant ponds, open fields, dotted woodlands and rolling meadows. This is the place that inspired C.S. Lewis to create his magical land of Narnia and where Constable came to paint in his final years. In such company, Steppers and I considered it a fine location for our latest annual reunion.
April 2017. We were blessed with some unseasonably gorgeous weather that day on Hampstead Heath. It was the perfect afternoon to admire the heath ponds, which we passed on our walking route to Parliament Hill. The handsome Hampstead Heath Viaduct was constructed in the mid 1840s by Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, who had hopes of transforming the park into his private estate. But his plans never came to fruition as protests were lodged and the heath remained a public space. Hooray!
April 2017. The sun doesn’t often shine in London and certainly not in April, so we were joined by throngs of Londoners that afternoon who flocked to Hampstead Heath to picnic, nap and blare shit music out of their phones.
April 2017. Hampstead Heath is also a popular spot for people to come and practice their crafts, from juggling and yoga to this guy strumming away on his acoustic guitar. Steppers and I sat watching him for a bit before launching into one of our infamous spells of nonsense talk, as is our way. Our ridiculous chatter that day was about a BRILLIANT (awful) idea for a screenplay called Simon Dick.
A young man called Simon finds his life thrown into turmoil when his tennis partner gets abducted by a great white whale! Determined to save his old chum, Simon sets off to SERVE the beast some justice and save the day.
April 2017. I’ll always remember that Hampstead Heath visit because it was the first time in probably thirty years that I saw kids roly-polying! I mean seriously, I couldn’t even imagine that being a thing anymore what with all of mankind’s technological advancements. Good old fashioned English fun!
April 2017. The views over London from Parliament Hill aren’t too shabby at all! In fact, some say Hampstead Heath offers some of the best free views in the city.
April 2017. From Parliament Hill you can pick out The Gherkin, The Walkie-Talkie and The Shard, nicely juxtaposed with historic landmarks such as The Palace of Westminster and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s incredible just how much London is transformed when the weather is behaving and this day was a testament to that.
April 2017. Steppers and I worked up quite a thirst that afternoon. So on the way back to Hampstead Tube Station we nipped into The Roebuck Pub for a pint. Dating back to Victorian times, this traditional pub on Pond Street features a sizeable lounge and a pretty garden in the back. As we ordered our drinks, I couldn’t resist the temptation of a house-baked pork pie served with sweet piccalilli.
For more on my hometown wanderings, check out my other reports from around London.
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