First fashionable for its spa waters in the 18th century; Hampstead has long been London’s most gorgeous hilltop hideaway. It resisted the Victorian expansion of the city by conserving Hampstead Heath, a wonderful high open countryside and by preserving its rural character. It is quite simply the most beautiful spot of greenery in London with bucolic scenery. The steeply inclined High Street, lined with trendy clothes shops and arty café’, has not lost its charm, though the most appealing area is the network of alleys, steps and streets north of the tube. Christchurch, east of Heath St, is particularly delightful, a warren of winding lanes with raised pavements, old houses and charming atmosphere. Freud settled here, in Maresfield Gardens after fleeing Vienna and his home now is a museum. The Heath is of course one of the area’s biggest asset. It contains three open-air swimming ponds and a fully equipped kids’ playground. Local tips: Everyman Cinema in Hampstead is a real treat – enjoy the luxury as you order drinks from your seat.