Wednesday, 15 February 2012

London Life: Highgate

Highgate, North London, is without a doubt one of my favourite places in the Big Smoke.  I've been lucky enough to have joined the crowds of yummy mummies, multi-millionaires, super models (including a certain Miss Moss) and aristocrats that live here and call Highgate my home for the past couple of months (although not for much longer, sob!).

Perfectly situated away from the centre, but not too far that it's still an easy commute, Highgate has escaped the crowds of tourists that flock to Camden Town.  Walking around the streets lined with beautiful houses and even down the High Street it has a feel of being somewhat like a village - making it difficult to believe that you are only eight miles from the centre of London.

Below are some personal highlights that I feel are definitely worth heading up north for:

The Flask  77 Highgate West Hill, N6 6BU
Without a doubt The Flask has one of the best beer gardens you will find in London during both the summer and winter.  Outdoor heating and sheltered seating areas make it enjoyable to sit outside throughout most of the year and in summer it's the perfect place to enjoy a glass of Pimms.  Its appeal and popularity is clear with it sometimes difficult to find seating both indoors and outdoors.
Inside it offers a cluster of rooms, mixing traditional wooden beams with some modern refurbishments and be sure to try some of the great gourmet pub grub it serves up!

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High Tea of Highgate 50 Highgate High St, N6 5HX
Situated on the main High Street in the village, High Tea of Highgate is a quaint little cake and coffee shop and the ideal place for a spot of afternoon tea, scones, jam, butter....the lot!
Offering a variety of homemade classics and a wide selection of teas it's no surprise you often have to wait for a seat here as well.  During the spring and summer it's the perfect stop off to pick-up some carrot cake on the way to Hampstead Heath for a picnic.

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 Hampstead Heath
Ok, so the photos below of Hampstead Heath don't immediately feel you with the desire to pack-up your hamper and head outside but in the summer it is a sun worshippers paradise.
The Heath is HUGE, so huge I definitely don't think I've explored it all. It's a great place for exploring and I've even spotted people tight rope walking between two trees as well as acrobatics performing.
A highlight is Parliament Hill which offers spectacular views over the city and is a hot spot to escape the crowds and catch the New Year's Eve fireworks on the Thames.  It's also by far the best place to go tobogganing down when it snows.
Ideal for sports fanatics there is a running track, tennis courts, bowls club and ponds which the dedicated few take a plunge in EVERY day of the year.  

Below are some photos taken during the recent snow where the ponds frooze over but normally it is a beautiful vast area of greenery.

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So Londoners, take a deep breath...escape the comforts of central London for an afternoon and explore the wonders u' north!!

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