Littlest Londonist: Hampstead And Area

By chloeg Last edited 122 months ago
Littlest Londonist: Hampstead And Area

For our very first Littlest Londonist, we meander to the most salubrious of localities - that of Hampstead and Belsize Park. Think of it as the Mercedes of the Littlest Londonist canon, if you will. With wide, tree-lined streets, celebrity inhabitants and a heath so bursting with flora and fauna that it makes the London Wetlands Centre look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Hampstead is a choice stamping ground for the young family. But it's not all baby yoga with Gwyneth Paltrow, you know - Hampstead has many a more humble trick up its sleeve.

First up, it's the much-loved Songsters at Fleet Community Centre (Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30am and 11:00am). It's run by musician Neal Whitmore of 80s electronic cyberpunk band Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and although the kids regularly look as though they might explode with anticipation, the parents often look like they're pipping their offspring to the post in the enjoyment stakes. Worth a mention too is the breastfeeding-friendly pub The White Horse on the corner of Fleet Road just a few minutes away, offering great food and a welcoming environment - The White Horse, we salute you.

Down the road is tantalizingly-named Talacre Treetops, a soft play centre for kids up to 11 years, where your little ones can throw themselves off things without you having a minor heart attack. Afterwards everyone is exhausted, and you will be extremely smug.

Although a one-off visit isn't the cheapest of activities, London Zoo does a very reasonable annual membership which means you can visit the zoo as the seasons change and make the most of its child-friendly facilities. A visit never seems to fail to amaze kids of any age, and what parent/uncle/babysitter doesn't get a little bit excited at the thought of the bugs' house or a monkey so tiny it fits into a pint glass?

If you and your buggy fancy some more exercise, check out Pushy Mothers who meet on Downshire Hill at 1pm on Mondays (this one is just for mums, sorry men). And if you do bump into Gwynnie, tell her we said hi.

Any more hints and tips for young families in Hampstead? Please comment below. Image of Littlest Londonists, twins Sadie and Tom.

Last Updated 28 November 2008