London by Foot – the Vale of Health

Sunday morning and we knew we couldn’t be trusted to stay at home and look at Zoopla (the best property website and the most depressing dose of reality) and so we jumped on the Northern Line and set off to Golders Green.

It was one stop past Hampstead and an area of North London as yet unexplored. Amazingly we haven’t looked at any property in Golders Green and so we thought it was worth a look. 

First impressions, not bad and after getting our bearings, we set off to walk up the hill towards Hampstead.

On the way we discovered Golders Hill Park, a lovely park with rolling green lawns, a Chinese pavilion and koi pond. Little cottages were hidden along the path and there was a twinge of house-envy.

A glorious day on the Heath

Before long we came over the brow of the hill, along the edge of the Heath and down into Hampstead village. We discussed the possibility of moving out of London into “The Country” but soon realized that the Heath was enough country for us when Letad talked of getting a taxi if one got lost.

In The Country – Hampstead Heath

We stopped for lunch and a reviving ale at The Horseshoe in Hampstead where we enjoyed excellent fish and chips, one of the best and then off we went to walk off lunch.

Heading back to the Heath, we discovered the Vale of Health. A beautiful enclave of houses with their own lake. It was stunning and I imagined how it must have been a Victorian health spa founded by early hippies.

It really is the Vale of Health

How wrong I was when I looked it up on Wikipedia later. It was originally a bog and the houses had been poor houses. The name had been given to it as a euphemism.

The map

If only they could see it now where houses sell for millions despite having a small group of gypsy caravans and a fairground nearby. 

Houses in the Vale of Health

Still, it felt like a little bit of paradise to me and I certainly wouldn’t mind living in the Vale of Health one day!

The lake

We continued around the Heath for a while as it was a gorgeous afternoon. 

Glorious Hampstead Heath

Past the ladies’ pond where some brave or foolish souls were swimming. Past the mens’ pond where gentlemen were making new friends and suddenly we were back in Parliament Hill.

Hampstead Ponds
Afternoon sunshine

We’re like pathetic homing pigeons as we walked past the end of the road we almost moved to and then, we turned right and walked away, past Gospel Oak through Oak Village, a lovely terrace of unspoiled Victorian cottages surrounded by council estates and home to Chalk Farm.

It had been a very long walk and four hours later we were too exhausted to look at flats on Zoopla… or so we thought.

Self-inflicted torture.

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