Golders Hill Park and Hill Gardens
North End Road Hampstead London, NW3
Golders Hill Park is part of Hampstead Heath’s west extension – and signals the end of Hampstead and the start of Golders Green. It’s a more formal park area than the rest of the Heath: dogs have to be on leads and it is closed at night. There’s much to be enjoyed, though, especially if you have kids. There are water gardens, a duck pond, a putting green, a playground, tennis courts, a bandstand that often has live music on summer weekends, and a little zoo with lemurs, alpacas and tropical birds. A little further afield is a deer enclosure. Perhaps most important, near the entrance gate on North End Road is rather a good Italian cafe, which does substantial pasta dishes and has a window selling a nice range of authentic gelati,
Outside of the park gates, a couple of hundred yards south, through the woods, is Hill Gardens, entered through a fabulous 800-foot-long, wisteria-clad pergola – part of the original mansion here, Inverforth House (now flats), created by the Edwardian soap magnate Lord Lever. The pergola and its gardens feels more like Tuscany than Hampstead and offers spectacular views across north London to Harrow church.