WE HAVE been meaning to get to Hampstead for a while now, mostly for The Holly Bush, but also to have a look around the neighbourhood, which we heard was lovely. The Holly Bush, a charming centuries-old pub in the heart of Hampstead, is perhaps one of the most photographed pubs it London. It sits at the top of a leafy hill on a quiet street, surrounded by rows of holly bushes and looks just as charming when you first happen upon it as we had hoped. Inside, there’s a lot of wood, cosy corners, banquets and those little round leather bar stools you often see in quintessential British pubs. There’s a fireplace as well, but it wasn’t on the day we arrived, as it was mild. We only stayed for a leisurely drink, but the food looks good, so we’ll have to book in for Sunday roast or dinner next time (I’m eyeing the pan roasted halibut with squid ink gnocchi, samphire and avruga caviar butter sauce). The Holly Bush, on its quiet hilltop backstreet, is a Grade II-listed building that was originally built as a house in the 1790s, and used as the Assembly Rooms in the 1800s, before becoming a pub in 1928. In 2010, it was bought by Fuller’s Brewery.
The Holly Bush, 22 Hollymount, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SG
Nestled four miles (six kilometres) northwest of central London’s Charing Cross lies the leafy, affluent neighbourhood of Hampstead. This historic community stretches from the A5 road (Roman Watling Street) to the rolling hills of Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland. Designated as part of Central London in the London Plan, Hampstead forms the northwest corner of the London Borough of Camden. With its cosy village atmosphere and proximity to sprawling parkland, Hampstead has long attracted academics, artists and media personalities. At the heart of Hampstead Village, boutiques, gastropubs and fine dining occupy elegant Georgian buildings and quaint alleys. Nearby, Hampstead Heath offers meadows, woodlands and swimming ponds amid beautiful city views from Parliament Hill. Kenwood House, an 18th century neoclassical villa open to the public, houses a remarkable collection of Old Master paintings and artworks. Plus, of course, there’s the Holly Bush pub.