This is where I feel like a terrible expat, even though I have been in London for over two years I had never visited the oasis that is Hampstead Heath. It may be because it’s North London (its like another country), or because the weather in London is dodgy as fuck, but I was just never motivated to go.
Where did I find the motivation? Usual answer… coffee. I’ve been following the Fields Beneath on twitter for a while now, mostly for the food porn but also a little because they rock at marketing (tea bag through the door as bribery? Yes please). So on a Sunday when it looked like I might get a solid five minutes of sun it was time to mission it.
The Fields Beneath is a super tiny, super awesome cafe underneath the railway arches in Kentish Town West station. There is one table inside, but on a sunny day there are plenty of spaces outside to relax and enjoy the caffeine. Oh the caffeine, I am still on the iced coffee kick and they do it really well – I may or may not have had three and jittered my way through the rest of the day.
They have a good food selection as well, with home made sandwiches just waiting to be eaten. I of course ignored all the healthy offerings and just stuffed my mouth with the giant eccles cake. And the other reason I was beaming like a nutter throughout my visit? They were playing pirate shanties the entire time. Whats not to love?
Jittering my way to a bus stop I thought I may as well check was was around me, lo and behold there was Hampstead Heath just up the road. Sold, it was time to venture to the Heath.
My god it was like I was no longer in London. Just endless rolling hills and not a single car horn or angry commuter in site. I wandered past the bathing ponds, with a short stop to watch the dogs jumping in, and kept going until I found the perfect combination of shade, solitude and still enough people nearby so I wouldn’t get murdered (this is still London after all).
It was such a foreign concept to take off my shoes and walk in the grass. To just stop wherever I wanted and read my book. And most of all to take that damn iPod out of my ears and not be assaulted with the background noise.
Next time I venture out to Hampstead Heath (this may be 2015 given how quickly the weather has turned) I am going to stock up at the Fields Beneath and take a picnic with me. An entire day in that London oasis just sounds like heaven.