There are parks aplenty in London: Regent’s Park, with its open-air theatre and wild animals (don’t panic, they’re contained within the London Zoo), and Hyde Park, home to the Serpentine Galleries and the capital’s oldest boating lake. My favourite, however, is a tad less trim than these manicured lawns: for me, hilly Hampstead Heath is perfect for a summer romp.
This rural patch of north London also has its attractions. At the northern end of the green sprawl is the cream-coloured façade of Kenwood House, which was transformed into a neoclassical villa in the 18th century by architect Robert Adam and contains historic interiors and a stunning collection of Old Master paintings.
If you’d rather stick outdoors, take in the view from Parliament Hill; on a clear day, beyond the high-flying kites, you’ll spy the rather different domes of the Gherkin and St Paul’s. And if the sun’s really shining? Take a dip in one of three swimming ponds. Bobbing along in the (admittedly chilly) water, surrounded by leafy branches and undulating fields, you’ll feel a world away from the Big Smoke.
Hampstead Heath, London, NW3 1BP.
Photo: Hannah Hoskins.