Someone who knows me well said to me earlier this year that family days out soothe my soul. She’s right. Nothing makes me more happy than packing a picnic, throwing a blanket in the car along with all the other paraphernalia that comes with babies, and driving off somewhere to make happy memories.
While friends of ours choose days out centred around their kiddies, such as the zoo, theme parks, and activity barns, we are off exploring nature; the forests, manor houses and open parks. I’ve never been a fan of “false fun” (as I you read this I’m probably at the local soft play centre), but I’m keen for Lex to create his own fun, be it outdoors, at museums or the arts. Get me!
Nothing makes me more content than visiting beautiful places, and I hope Lex will be raised in a way to feel cultured, appreciative of old buildings and open spaces, because who knows how long they’ll be here for…
Earlier this month we packed our things and set off for a stroll around Hampstead on a sunny Sunday. It was fabulous, we arrived just in time for a spot of brunch (lunch for Lex), and then with happy, full bellies walked the winding cobbled streets of Hampstead admiring the beautiful houses, old brick walls and leafy roads offering dappled sunlight and beautiful silhouettes for Lex to enjoy as he looked up from his pram.
The best time to visit Hampstead is on a Sunday when parking restrictions do not apply, so you can park on most roads and even a yellow line. We parked in Gayton Road off the main high street and wondered up to Flask Lane, a personal favourite of mine, leading to Flask Walk and the High Street.
We then had a spot of brunch at Mani’s down Perrin’s Court, a beautiful pedestrianised lane lined with Georgian houses, hanging baskets galore and cobbles beneath your feet to make it oh-so-quaint. It was tucked away from the hustle and bustle yet had plenty of atmosphere and a likeable ambience. The food was great too!
We then walked to the top of the High street and down Elm Row losing ourselves around the back of Hampstead oohing and ahhing at all the pretty houses. This year I have particularly enjoyed looking at people’s gardens to see what’s peaking out of the borders and whether I can source the same plants to recreate the look.
Eventually, we walked down Well Walk and stroll onto the Heath where Lex is in his element watching the dogs, feeding the ducks and learning to walk in the open space that the Heath has to offer. His smile as he enjoys the sunshine & open air on Papa’s shoulders is huge.
We head up to the viewpoint for a cheeky (rather windswept) family selfie before heading back down for an ice cream from the van at the end of Devonshire Hill. Here you will also find a children’s play park which is totally secure and gated with no dogs allowed. Right next to it you’ll find one of my fave pubs and a total hit for many a Londoner; The Freemasons Arms. On a sunny day you might wait for a table outside, for despite it being large with ample seating, it is very popular. The food, the drinks, the general vibe is all spot on.