There is an unspoken rule among we Londoners that appearing awestruck at the extraordinary places dotted around the metropolis we inhabit would somehow betray us as being one who didn’t belong. I adhere to this code along with my city comrades, and accordingly don’t gush when sitting in the hallowed bar at Claridge’s, squeak at the sheer beauty of the dining room in The Connaught, act as if the pastel houses of Notting Hill are anything but quite standard in my opinion, and have even managed to successfully suppress the urge to sing Wouldn’t It Be Loverly every time I walk through Covent Garden.
But on the subject of Hampstead Heath, I – and my fellow Londoners – fail spectacularly to appear blasé. It undoes us all, eliciting excitement and coos of anticipation in even the most hardened urbanite. Perhaps it’s because it feels so very unlike bustling London, with it’s hidden pockets of forest and winding paths, wide planes and sprawling woods. Unlike most city parks, it doesn’t suck you in one entrance, allow for a trot around a manicured garden and then spit you out, but rather offers up proper escapism in what feels like the wilderness – hence the esteem in which it is uniquely held by Londoners.
I took my camera along on my last visit, poking my fingers out of my gloves to take photos and almost instantly regretting it each time – don’t let the golden sun fool you: it was mighty chilly out that day and the treats (mulled wine for me, beer for hubs, dog treats for Monty) that awaited us at The Holly Bush were much, much appreciated. Here are some of my favourite shots //