The Belsize Walk was introduced in the early 2000’s by Camden and TfL, with significant input by local residents, as part of the “Walking Plan for London”. The walkways join two of London’s largest green spaces; Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath and are marked by metal discs (right). The design of these discs is based on the metal coal-hole covers, used in the 19th and early 20th centuries with a London Plane leaf found on the route, being the decorative feature.
Early in the walk and slightly off route, is Primrose Hill (65 metres high) one of six statutory protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the walk terminates on another protected view, Parliament Hill (98 metres high). In between is a two and a half hour heritage walk of notable and varied architecture which passes through the Belsize Conservation Area, previously part of the Manor of Belsize which was extant in 1317.
Download the Belsize Walk Leaflet here.
Artists, Refugees and Spies. You can find a self guided walk about how art and espionage flourished in Belsize in the 1930s as Fascism spread across Europe in the About Belsize section.
A Walk through the Blue Plaques of Belsize
If you’re about to take a quirky walk around the United Kingdom, you might plot the route to visit the 940 Blue Plaques adorning the faces of old buildings; historical markers commemorating a link between the location and a notable individual, event or former building on the site.
The common denominator connecting each person is death and the process of erecting a Blue Plaque will only be initiated after the person has been deceased for at least twenty years or has passed the centenary of their birth. The idea of a commemorative plaque scheme was first put to the House of Commons by William Ewart MP in 1863 and has played an important role in the history of the conservation movement. Today, English Heritage is responsible for Blue Plaque installations.
Belsize Park is home to a dozen or so plaques. These can be found by following the three mile circuit described in this guide and map
Heritage Trail: Belsize Park to Camden Town
You can follow a self-guided heritage walk from Belsize Park underground station to Camden Town underground station (3.3 miles)? The walk has no fewer than 104 points of interest and covers 41 distinguished buildings.
The Heath & Hampstead Society, via its collaboration with the Northern Heights Partnership, has a fully illustrated guide to this section of the Hampstead Heritage Trail. The booklet, together with nine other guides, all full of information and maps, show the entire route of the Trail. For information on the full trail, see here. To buy this and the other booklets, priced from £3 each, see here.
Camden Railway Heritage Trail
Development of railways in the London Borough of Camden has been almost continuous since the 1830s. The result is a greater range of significant railway heritage than any other area of London, some addressed in an illustrated talk (see Books about Belsize).
The Railway Heritage Trail links sites to create a fascinating walk through our social and industrial past, while traversing some of London’s most vibrant new attractions. The Trail brochure can be downloaded here and is also available as a pocket guide from Camden Railway Heritage Trust.
Robert Stephenson supervised the construction of the London & Birmingham Railway and was closely involved with the area for a decade. The proposed Stephenson Walk will be a car free through route for pedestrians and cyclists, and will create new links between communities as well as providing access to heritage facilities. It will use the ongoing redevelopment of the former Camden Goods Station to celebrate one of our greatest engineers.