Come out of Finchley Road station and turn right, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in West Hampstead or Swiss Cottage, but you’re actually in South Hampstead, a lovely little neighbourhood in northwest London with its own history and identity. While its boundaries have bustling transportation hubs and vibrant Finchley Road with the O2 Centre is nearby, the essence of South Hampstead is of a leafy residential suburb defined by its large, semi-detached and terraced Victorian red brick (or sometimes cream coloured) properties.
Stroll down the streets of Broadhurst Gardens, Canfield Gardens or Goldhurst Terrace and you’ll notice the distinct rooflines with turrets, gables and tall chimneys. Some homes have varied decorative features including terracotta panels and ornamentation as well as tiled and patterned footpaths, elaborate ironwork, solid timber doors and beautiful stained glass or leaded windows. There is also a wide variety of porches from detailed ironwork porch canopies to striped brick arches to grand Baroque and Gothic revival arches, stones and carved brick; walk down Greencroft Gardens to find some of the best examples.
South Hampstead has origins as the southern edges of the medieval manor of Hampstead and is often still confused with its more notable neighbour across Finchley Road. The area developed on a grid like pattern with most streets running east west and dissected by two main roads: Priory Road to the west and Fairhazel Gardens to the east. Formal development of the area started around 1874 when Priory Road was opened. The two estates most associated with South Hampstead are Maryon Wilson and Colonel Cotton.
South Hampstead Conservation Area
Today there is actually a defined South Hampstead Conservation area as many homes enjoy access or views to private rear gardens and communal gardens as well as generous front gardens set back from the street and protected by tall hedges. Some of the communal spaces are managed as natural wildlife spaces and formal parkland providing a haven for wildlife and habitat for flowering shrubs, fruit trees, mature trees and communal vegetable plots.
Boundaries and Transportation
South Hampstead’s boundaries are commonly defined as West End Lane to the west, Belsize Road to the south, Fitzjohn’s Avenue and Finchley Road to the east, and Broadhurst Gardens and Nutley Terrace to the north. It has some of the best transport links with Finchley Road station’s Metropolitan and Jubilee lines providing direct access to Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Mayfair, Westminster and Canary Wharf. South Hampstead train station provides access to Euston and other key stops and Swiss Cottage station is also nearby. (Finchley Road station opened in 1879 by Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway line. Its simple Edwardian Baroque architecture and was later redesigned in 1914 incorporating access to a parade of shops).
While South Hampstead has only two schools that land within its boundaries, it has easy access to excellent schools nearby. Founded in 1958, Broadhurst School is a co-educational pre-preparatory school for children 2 ½ to 5 years old located on Greencroft Gardens. Rainbow Montessori on Woodchurch Road provides nursery and junior school. Across Finchely Road in Hampstead is South Hampstead High School, a prestigious independent day school. Founded in 1876 by the Girls’ Day School Trust, it is one of the UK’s most successful schools.
Want to live in this beautiful, little gem of London, then get in touch to see how we can help you locate your perfect home.