Things to do in West Hampstead on Sunday 17th September!

Our top ten things to do lists are proving popular but new things are coming in all the time.  In fact there is so much happening in and around West Hampstead next weekend we felt it was worth a mini-article of it’s own!

If it is architecture you are after it is Open House weekend. Your chance to visit great architecture across London. Locally there is the chance to go inside a couple of flats on the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate.  But there is so much else to explore – search the site for yourselves.  Or if you are planning to ‘do’ Open House they have a useful app. Last year there were 250,000 visits!

The Rowley Way Estate (aka Alexandra and Ainsworth) the final flourish of brutalist housing. Image: Open Buildings

The Rowley Way Estate (aka Alexandra and Ainsworth) the final flourish of brutalist housing. Image: Open Buildings

Looking for something sporty?  Well arm-chair sporty.  It’s (West) Hampstead Cricket Clubs annual celebrity match , organised by actor and cricket fanatic Jim Carter. Gates open at 12:45 with the match starting at 1:30 (ends around 6pm). Be bowled over by Emma Thompson’s performance – she is bowling the first ball.

Look for something literary? It’s the Ham & High Literary Festival at JW3 . There is a whole host of things from the 14th to the 18th but the main day is Sunday 17th.  We’d like to her Claire Tomalin talk about her autobiography. But there is much else on.

And even the littler literary residents of West Hampstead don’t get left out! Local author (yes, another one..) Jeff Norton is launching kid’s picture book Stomp School at WELBooks at 4pm. If you want to go though please let WELBooks know.  If you ain’t on the list you ain’t gettin’ in.

Looking for something arty? It’s the final weekend of the Daniel Richter exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre.  If you haven’t seen it and you like contemporary painting it’s a must.  (And welcome to Martin Clark, who took over running the centre from Jenni Lomax, who stepped down after 25 years). Or a bit closer to home Hannah Lees is turning ‘Existence into it’s Opposite’ down at the Kingsgate Workshops Project Space.

Something a bit more ‘left field’ and further afield; Selfridges is running an art project/charity shop  by American artist Miranda July. It’s running to October 21st so not hurry but we think it sounds cool.

And finally, over the ‘other’ NW6 it’s Queen’s Park day.  I know, I know it’s the ‘other’ side of the KHR but still we like Queen’s Park and it’s always a great day.

It’s a pint at the next Whampgather if anyone manages to fit these all it (with photographic proof) – all on one day in Whampstead.



Explore behind closed doors with Open House

Coming up this Saturday and Sunday is Open House 2016 . Open House, which started in 1992, is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes public awareness and appreciation of the capital’s building design and architecture.

Image: Open House

Image: Open House

But with hundreds of sites to see across London, what to visit? It pays to invest a bit of time in research and planning. There’s the website, a guidebook and an app.  For most, it’s just a question of visiting one or two places; diehards who want visit as much as possible tend to focus on a particular part of London (even using a bike to cycle from one place to the next).

To avoid frustrating waits, check opening hours, whether there are tours (could involve a bit of a wait to join) or whether you need to pre-book.

Without travelling too far from West Hampstead, what can you see? Camden actually has plenty of options, with an array of housing commissioned by Sidney Cook, the borough architect from 1965 to 1973. Locally, there is the Grade II listed Alexandra Road Estate, which will have tours of flats (Sat). Or visit another local icon (Sat & Sun), the grade 1 listed Isokon building.

Image: Open House

Isokon Building.  Image: Open House

A tiny bit further afield in neighbouring Barnet, Open House presents an excuse to visit Hampstead Garden Suburb and the Grade 1 listed Free Church and St. Judes on the Hill, both designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. There are walking tours of the suburb plus self-guided tours.

However, one of the best things about Open House is the opportunity to visit more modern houses. Locally in Hampstead are 44 Willoughby Rd (Sat & Sun), Elizabeth Mews in Belsize Park (Sun) and Kebony House (Sat).

Not too far away, in Queens Park, is Studio McLeod (Sat) – behind a non-descript shopfront at 320 Kilburn Lane is an architects studio/stylish family home with a not-to-be-missed sliding staircase hiding a motorcycle.

If you’re feeling much more adventurous, why not explore further afield and see something completely different? Take the Overground to Hackney or head south of the river to see some of the most interesting contemporary architecture being built in London.

Of course there are a whole host of historic and commercial building to see as well.  We will leave you with a link to the Open House Listings, and let us know what you’ve enjoyed visiting.