After nearly 2 years, I've finally begun to feel like a local Londoner. It's hard to not be immediately swept away by the city's frenetic energy when you first arrive. However, once you slow down a bit, you really start to appreciate London's quirks and curious nooks and crannies.
I'm a pretty restless person. The thought of "staying in" used to scare me. The thought of a "staycation" was even more ridiculous. However, I'm (gradually) learning to dial back my FOMO. In fact, some of our favorite weekends have been spent entirely at home or in our North London neighborhood.
As our stay in the British capital winds down, I thought I'd spend a bit more time sharing some favorite "hometown" spots. Over the next few weeks, we'll feature various London 'hoods, including our top restaurants, cafes and shops. It only felt appropriate to start with our own neighborhood: Belsize Park.
Belsize Park is relaxing and quaint neighborhood in North London. There's nothing extremely remarkable or exciting about it, but that's precisely why we love living here so much. This may sound a bit silly, but Belsize Park has a refreshing "local" feel to it. When you're here, all the stresses of living in a big city completely dissipate. It's this unassuming quality that makes the neighborhood so livable. No wonder numerous "low key" celebs like Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helena Bonham Carter call Belsize Park home.
Aside from its own undeniable charm, Belsize Park's greatest strength is its location. Serviced by its own station along the Northern Line and within walking distance of the Overground and Jubilee Line, Belsize Park is extremely well connected. Many of London's top attractions, including Convent Garden, Leicester Square and Oxford Circus are less than 15 minute away via the tube. However, there's no need to venture that far. Belsize Park is a great starting point if you want to spend a day in North London. It's nestled in between 2 of London's most beautiful neighborhoods and picturesque parks: Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill. Both deserve their own posts, so I'll save them for later.
- Daunt Books: Local outpost of this small bookshop chain. Great selection of non-fiction and fiction titles, all of which are arranged geographically. Perfect for the avid reader and frequent traveler!
- Everyman Cinema: Our favorite neighborhood cinema. Comfy leather sofas and delicious snacks make this the perfect date spot.
- Franco Manca: Specializes in brick oven-baked sourdough pizzas. Large heated outdoor patio is ideal for a dinner out with friends.
- Ginger & White: Neighborhood specialty coffee shop that also happens to serve up a delicious brunch. Great spot for celebrity spotting!
- Black Truffle: Our "go-to" deli. Great selection of sandwiches, salads, pastries and Climpson & Sons coffee.
- The Washington: Local Victorian pub. Nice spot to hang out on a Sunday afternoon after a stroll through Primrose Hill.
- Sir Richard Steele: Inviting pub with a quirky interior and a spacious patio