Belsize Park tube station, London
|Day||Walk Type||Start Time||End Time|
|10 October 2020||Tour du Jour||2.30 pm||4.30 pm||Summer|
Short read: It’s all in the name. Belsize – it’s derived from Bel-assis – means “beautifully situated.”
Long read: Beautifully situated – high up on the south-facing slope of Haverstock Hill – and beautifully curated. The people who are fortunate enough to live here don’t just live here – they love the place, guard it, tend it, nurture it. Curate it. Belsize Park Village is so fine, so fetching, so felicitous it’s hard to find something it doesn’t have going for it. It’s venerable, indeed ancient. The sub-manor was first recorded in the early 14th century. Belsize House in 1496. It’s got bizarre, let alone fascinating historical hand-holds (well, we are scaling the white cliffs of NW3 after all). A choice example: in the American Civil War Belsize Park was the roost for London-based representatives of the Confederacy. It’s got a Daunt bookshop. It’s got an old-fashioned cinema. It’s got great shops. It’s got fab street art on the village square (Make Tea Not War). It’s got a “good-heavens-look-at-that” World War II bomb shelter. It’s got celebrity plumage – Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Hugh Laurie, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton, Sadie Frost, Agatha Christie, Jerome K. Jerome, David Baddiel, Frederick Delius, Frank Skinner. It’s got a couple of fabulous old-style village pubs. It’s got stucco to die for and Italianate architecture that would do the Isle of Capri proud. It’s got a village green and lodges and villas and leafy streets and discrete mews (for servants and horses, don’t you know). It’s got a diminutive village square. It’s got continental-style cafes that are historical runes. Runes that can – and should – be “read. Which is by way of saying, in the 1930s refugees from central Europe established a synagogue and a Viennese theatre-club and opened “continental-style cafes” in the village. It’s a place where the living’s good – its mixture of easy assurance and style is pitch-perfect. (Note: the stylishness – the architectural detailing, for example, of Belsize Park richly repays special attention. Hats off to the care Karen and Jan have put into the route and “the particulars” – it’s the walking tour equivalent of bird watching, knowing exactly which grove to approach and where to direct the gaze. And that’s by way of saying, here’s yet another London Walks “perfect fit” – world-class guides for a world-class place.)
Belsize Park Village takes place at 2.30 pm on Saturday, October 10.
To go on the Belsize Park Village walk meet Jan just outside the exit of Belsize Park Tube.
If you can’t make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Belsize Park Village walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Belsize Park Village Walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing. Or indeed a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.
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