Kenwood: A stately home at its heart, surrounded by leafy avenues lined with mansions
PUBLISHED: 09:16 05 May 2016
Kenwood and its surrounding area is bursting with history, shopping opportunities on Aylmer Parade, and plenty of provisions for young children says Lucy Daltroff.
The area around Kenwood is on the cusp of Camden (postcode NW3) and Barnet (postcode N2). Camden properties in Band A will pay £906.25 council tax; those in the average Band D will receive a bill for £1,397.07; and the most expensive homes in Band H will pay £2,794.14. In Barnet the figures are £931.38, £1,397.07, and £2,794.14 respectively.
The area around Kenwood is dominated by the many large houses in the surrounding streets that include both Winnington Road and The Bishops Avenue, which can achieve breathtaking prices topping the £20 million mark.
There are some prestigious blocks of flats in Hampstead Lane and in some of the roads off it such as Sheldon Avenue, and along the A1 and Kenwood Road.
The private school Highgate has its pre-prep for three to seven year olds situated here and nearby is the school’s junior school, for ages seven to 11. It has close links with the senior school founded in 1565, which is nearby in Highgate village and most boys and girls transfer there at the age of 11. The state nursery, Highgate Primary is also in the area.
Bus 210 and Bus H3 are within a short walk of Kenwood House. The nearest underground station is Golders Green but its a short bus ride or longer walk to get to Kenwood House.
Landmarks and history
In 1754 William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, purchased Kenwood for £4,000 as a weekend retreat. Lord Iveagh a member of the Irish Guinness family, eventually bought the house from the family in 1925 and furnished it with some iconic paintings from many old Masters, before leaving it to the nation on his death in 1927. It is now cared for by English Heritage and is one of the great treasures of London.
One third of the estate is a site of special scientific interest particularly the ancient woodlands which is home to many birds and insects and the largest Pipistrelle bat roost in London. The well tended grounds also have works by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. The beautifully laid out gardens provide a wonderful scenic area which is great setting for the annual summer concerts and it and was even used to shoot a scene for the movie Notting Hill.
Shopping and culture
Aylmer Parade on the A1 has a number of shops including Forget Me Nots Vintage, selling renovated furniture, alongside gift items including jewellery. fascinators, wall art, handmade cards, candles, soaps, soft furnishings and Lego cufflinks. The Aylmer Pantry is a cute cafe with fresh baked breads, sandwiches and cakes.
Behrooz of Rugmaster (also known as erugsdirect) is a fourth generation rug expert who not only sells rugs as well as running a rug mending service where they use all sorts of faded and vintage silks and wools to mend faded and vintage rugs.
The Dacha Shop has been established for over 14 years and sells a range of Russian, Lithuanian and Eastern European style delicatessen, including baking basics and seasonal fruit and vegetables. It also offers Russian food home delivery.
The English Heritage shop inside Kenwood House includes a selection of items including books, mugs, stationery tea towels and leather notebooks.
Near the café is a garden shop selling plants.
Eating and drinking
The Spaniards Inn is an iconic London pub built in 1555. Dick Turpin’s father was once the landlord and is thought that his infamous son spent a lot of time simultaneously drinking and keeping an eye on the road for possible coaches to rob. It is even more famous for its artistic and literary clientele. Keats, Lord Bryon and Dickens all imbibed here and it is mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The belief is that the Inn’s name derives from two early Spanish landlords, who fought a duel, after falling in love with the same women. The loser, Juan Porero, was killed and buried nearby, maybe, in what is now the pub’s attractive garden. In winter the place is known for its homely feel and roaring fire. The good selection of beers includes those from Meantime and Brewdog as well as Doom Bar, on cask and the owners pride themselves that each dish on the menu is inspired by a particular beer. The Inn is a great place to visit after a walk on Kenwood – although it can get rather crowded at weekends.
Weirdly, the ancient tollhouse situated across the road is in the London Borough of Camden while the pub itself is in Barnet. Both are listed buildings and their presence means that all traffic is reduced from two lanes to one on the busy Spaniards Road, resulting in many a traffic pile up.
Kenwood House is famous for its Brew House Café. Although the inside is a good a space in the summer the outside seating area is a tranquil and popular place to eat. A hot breakfast and pastries are served from 9am and the menu changes daily for lunch from 12 noon and includes soup, salads, sandwiches and a vegetarian option of the day. Homemade cakes are also available together with a wide selection of teas and coffee.
The Steward’s Room serves a take-away menu only including soup, salads, sandwiches and cakes together with hot and cold drinks. The gardens of the House are also well known as a scenic picnic area.
Sports and leisure
Just 15 minutes from Kenwood House are the famous Hampstead Heath bathing ponds which comprise Highgate Men’s Pond, Kenwood Ladies’ Pool and the Hampstead Mixed Pool. These have been used for bathing for over 100 years and were originally reservoirs to supply London’s water supply. Now they provide a lovely setting especially in the summer, for a slightly murky swim.
The Mallinson Sports Centre is open for general early morning swimming sessions from 6.30 am – 7.45 am. During school holidays the gym is also available.
The Hampstead Golf Course in Winnington Road is a nine-hole private members club dating from 1893 and is known as the nearest golf course to the centre of London. The attractive gardens and clubhouse is open to members and their guests.
Good for kids
On Fridays during term time, families with under 5’s can join in the craft making, storytelling, and sing-alongs held at Kenwood House.
Each month there are free creative workshops to bring Kenwood’s world famous paintings to life. Families get to work together to try out different art and crafts whilst exploring the house and finding out more about its collections. Participants just need to turn up between 12pm - 4pm to take part.
Explorer backpacks are favoured for families with under fives – to discover Kenwood with their families. Children between five and 11 years old, can discover Mac’s Kenwood trail to discover stories from the whole estate.
The Mallinson Sports Centre at Highgate Junior School offers multi-activity children’s holiday courses to the public from 9.30 to 3 pm during school holidays.