Hampstead Heath 150: Picnics, walks and a community fun day

The exhibition celebrating the history of Hampstead Heath

The exhibition celebrating the history of Hampstead Heath on the 150th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which protected it from development - Credit: City of London Corporation

Between the City of London Corporation (CoLC) and the Heath and Hampstead Society, a busy programme of events will see the 150th anniversary of the the 1871 Hampstead Heath Act marked. 

The act saved the Heath for prosperity and prevented it

Hampstead Heath at 150: 'Always under threat, always being saved'

The City from Parliament Hill 20.04.21. 1

Hampstead Heath has not survived as it is today by chance. 150 years since the Hampstead Heath Act preserved it, we look back at a messy history.

It was signed on June 29, and that date this year will see a teatime picnic on the Heath as part of a community celebration. That's going to be from 5.30 and is a "bring your own picnic" event, celebrating the original 1871 boundaries. 

Already this year as part of the celebrations, the Household Cavalry rode through Whitestone Pond, while in April a series of biodiversity boards explaining the Heath's ecological value were erected seven of its entrances.

A second exhibition, highlighting the events leading to the 1871 Act, has  been launched. Find that along the path leading to the Heath from South End Green.

On Friday June 25 is a London Festival of Architecture event. Focusing on "caring for built heritage and open spaces", from 2-3.30pm Paul Vick, Rob Shakespeare and Jonathan Meares will lead a walking tour from Keats House across the Heath. Book for free at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lfa-heath150-walk-caring-for-built-heritage-and-open-spaces-tickets-153000579853

Keats House is the focus of festivities on June 26, with a "reimagining" of when John Keats met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, before the Hampstead Arts Fair organised by the Hampstead Summer Festival takes place in its grounds from midday. 


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Sunday June 27 is perhaps the showpiece – the community fun day. Children's music, a kite flying display, guided walks and bug hunting, art classes and even an egg and spoon race are on offer. Burgh House, the Heath and Hampstead Society and Heath Hands are all involved in what promises to be a joyful day. It's at 1-5pm at the Parliament Hill Bandstand.

A series of family workshops and walks will then take place over the summer holidays, before September 5 sees the annual Hampstead Heath Duathlon given a #Heath150 theme.

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Dates are still to be set for an end-of-summer music event and a tug-of-war at the Parliament Hill Bandstand.

Early autumn sees a special Hideaway Cinema (September 8), and a cricket match between the Heath and Hampstead Society and Hampstead Heath staff (likely to be on September 11 or 12.)

The traditional Christmas Day swim in the Heath Ponds is expected to mark the culmination of celebrations.

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