Take in a different view of London; from kite-flyers to the graves of some literary greats, Liberty London Girl and The Great Boden Diaries’ Sasha Wilkins takes us to her favourite corner of the UK capital and reveals her suggestions for that perfect day out with family…
Iconic London is glorious: Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s… However, it’s the hidden corners that I love the best, the parts of the city where Londoners live and play, and which I take great pleasure in showing friends and visitors.
My bit of London is north of the river, close to Camden and Hampstead Heath – one of London’s largest open green spaces, where I exercise the sausage dog. It’s there, by the stretch of Parliament Hill Fields, that I would spend my ideal day.
I would jump on the bus from Camden to Parliament Hill Fields (about a 20-minute journey) to start my day with strong coffee and a bowl of granola at Kalendar Cafe on Swain’s Lane. The rest of my morning would be spent wandering around the atmospheric and overgrown graves in Highgate Cemetery, a brisk five-minute walk up the road.
The cemetery is well-known, but it’s surprising just how few Londoners have actually visited the extraordinary final resting place of so many of the great, good and wholly unknown – from Karl Marx to long forgotten Victorian novelists.
Then I would amble back down towards Parliament Hill Fields to meet my best friend, mother of my godson and his sister, for delicious pasta in the cafe right inside the Heath’s boundaries. This tranquil spot welcomes dogs and a bill for lunch for two rarely tops £15 – the children love the smoothies, too.
After lunch, a brisk pasta-burning walk uphill to the highest point of the Heath – the aforementioned Parliament Hill – to watch the kite flyers and check out the extraordinary views over London, before taking the godchildren down to the excellent Parliament Hill Fields adventure playground for frolics and ice creams whatever the weather.
Sasha’s three must-see spots
- Parliament Hill Fields, London NW3
This is one of the essential spots to take in the London skyline – 98 metres high, it’s a climb but worth it.
- Kalendar Cafe, 15 Swain’s Lane, London N6, 020 8348 8300
A popular spot with families on the weekend, take the papers and order breakfast.
- Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane, London N6, 020 8340 1834
One of London’s most fascinating and beautiful places to visit, it’s a great destination for out-of-towners.