Monday, 3 December 2012

A visit to Hampstead Heath (or What I did at the weekend)

When I start thinking about traveling from my area, Brixton, I think about the places that are easy to get to and not the ones that will take an hour or more with lots of changes on the underground and buses. So I had written off  the idea of popping to Hampstead Heath for the weekend.

How wrong was I? Using the Thameslink, it's pretty easy to get there. In fact the journey between  Herne Hill and West Hampstead station is 30 minutes- yes you heard me correctly - 30 mins!! North London here I come!!!

So lets start at the beginning, the other Sunday we decided to enjoy the changing shades of leaves in one of London's top tree hot spots, Hampstead Heath. From Brixton we walked to Herne Hill as this is the Station with a lift that takes us swiftly north of the river. On our travels we took the opportunity to peruse the new Herne Hill market -it's a goody - lots of foods and crafts, well worth a visit. Boo-boo even met a dinosaur (and was pretty unimpressed).

The dinosaur was terrified of Princess Boo-boo of Brixton.

After having a nose, we headed off to the station, up the lifts and waited for the next Thameslink train. Now this train isn't the best for buggies - the aisles aren't wide enough for you to push the buggy through so you need to find a seat where you got on. The back carriage tends to have seats along the side rather than facing forwards or backwards which does leave room for the buggy.

So quickly we travelled through London zipping through the south, the city and then into the north. We decided for the West Hampstead stop as the station has a lift and a bus would take us to the Heath. However, I didn't read my bus map properly and we ended up at the bottom of the Heath with a big hill ahead of us. But the sun was shining so with determination we trundled up the hill, stopping at the top to take in the breathtaking view of London although this wasn't really a moment for quiet contemplation as there was about a hundred people up there all doing the same thing.

Golden leaves
 On we ambled through the red, brown orange and gold leaves laid on the path to lead us to warmer pastures of cakes and hot coffees. Yes, we were heading to Hampstead via the trees and plants, listed buildings, little cottages and old churchyard.

Autumn Reflection

Upon arrival we had a look at the shops - the place was heaving and the tea shops were full! However a poor consolation was the fact that the place with the best looking cakes wasn't buggy friendly anyway. We need a babysitter too visit that cake shop or just wait til the child grows up!

Boo-boo enjoys the art
After a hot beverage and a sugary snack we found an art exhibition located in a local church. So we had a wander, took some photos and generally enjoyed what felt like a grown up experience. Then slowly we pottered back to West Hampstead Station as the sun set on our little adventure. All in all, it was a lovely day - great views, sugary snacks and a swift and pleasant journey across into the North of London.

The Thameslink (First Capital Connect) train from Herne Hill to West Hampstead cost £1.80 each way with pay as you go Oyster card. The journey takes 30 minutes.

From West Hampstead take the C11 to Gospel Oak where you will get off at the bottom of the Heath - there is a cafe and toilets near by.

Go visit!

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