Walk 12: Hampstead

This is the final of the 12 walks from the 1980s AA guide book.

Walk 1 was around Westminster and Millbank.

Walk 2 around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral.

Walk 3 around St James.

Walk 4 was around Mayfair.

Walk 5 Bloomsbury and Holborn.

Walk 6 was ‘A walk around Soho’.

Walk 7 The Strand and Covent Garden.

Walk 8 The Inns of Court and Fleet Street.

Walk 9 The heart of the city

Walk 10 City Streets and Alleys

Walk 11 The Highways and Byways of Chelsea

The final walk in this series was around Hampstead, and I completed this on 16 December 2018.


The walk commenced at Hampstead Station, on the boundary of zone 2 and 3 – making this walk the furtherest out of central London.

The first stop was Church Row, a street with a number of 18th century terraced houses. At the end of the street was St John’s Church, rebuilt 1746-7.

Then the walk took me past St Mary’s Catholic Church on Holy Street, through to Hampstead Grove. Here I got to visit Fenton House, and use my National Trust membership to walk around the property. Fenton House is a 1690s mansion which housed a number of musical instruments and a nice garden.

St Mary’s Catholic Church.

Next the walk took me to the Admiral’s Walk. On this street can be seen the Admiral’s house, which according to the guide book is “supposed to resemble a ship.”


The view looking up Hampstead Grove

From here the walk proceeded to Jack Straw’s Castle, known to authors Dickens and Thackeray.

From here I walked up Spaniards Road to the Old Toll House and The Spaniards Inn. I stopped at the latter for liquid refreshments.


After this I walked to the next stop on the tour, Ken Wood. This House and gardens is looked after by English Heritage, which I am also a member of, though entry to the house is free. The House and gardens were laid out by William Murray first Earl of Mansfield, and the house enlarged by Lord Mansfield in 1967.

One feature in the 1980s guide book of Ken Wood that no longer exists is Dr Johnson’s summer house. A replica of this was created in the 1970s(?), and a photo of it can be see in the guide book (see above). When I asked the grounds keepers about this, they said that this summer house burnt down in the early 1980s.

The site of Dr Johnson’s Summer House. 

From here the walk took me through Hampstead Heath, one of London’s larger and more famous green spaces. This took me to Parliament Hill, where you can get panoramic views of the city.

From here I left the Heath and headed to Downshire Hill, which has Regency period houses and then down Flask Walk.

After this the walk concluded on Hampstead High Street and I caught the tube back from Hampstead underground.

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