Hampstead Heath Kenwood

I try to walk with Lettice, my miniature Dachshund, for at least two hours each Saturday and Sunday. My London apartment is a five minute walk from Regents Park and a short drive from Hampstead Heath so, on a good weekend I visit both, trying to exploring a new part each time.  At the moment I am rediscovering the Robert Adams-designed Kenwood House, part of the Iveagh Bequest, at the very top of the Heath. (The house and grounds are is open for free to the public.)

Bequeathed to the nation in 1927 by Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and administered by English Heritage, the original house dates from the early 17th century, when it was known as Caen Wood House.

It contains Guinness’ extraordinary world-class art collection, notable amongst which are a Vermeer and a Rembrandt, as well as works by Turner, Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Reynolds. In addition, the Suffolk Collection (displayed on the first floor) includes a unique series of nine glorious full-lengths by the English portraitist William Larkin (d.1619).

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

The grounds and park around Kenwood form a designed landscape, which was created by Sir Humphrey Repton, and they are open to the public in daylight hours.  Easily accessed from the Heath, you just carry on walking through iron gates into the Kenwood woods, before coming out onto the lower reaches of the house’s lawn.

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

There are several piece of important sculpture standing in the grounds of Kenwood House, including  Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure Number 5 (above), which has been here on long-term loan from the Tate since 1982.

It’s a little known fact that Lettice is an art lover.Here she is formulating her critical reaction to the Moore piece. 

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

Although we didn’t visit it this time, Monolyth-Empyrean, 1953 by Barbara Hepworth is also in the grounds, just to the west of the main house.

When I’m with Lettice, I skirt the main house, (and its tearoom, restaurant, and handy loos in the brew house and stable yard) describing a giant loop past the terrace and back down the other side of the lawns, over the sham bridge, and back into the woods, walking south again onto the Heath.

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

There are lots of crunchy leaves to kick up.

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

and an awful lot of mud.

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

It really is extremely muddy at the moment; wellies are vital.

Hampstead Heath Autumn kenwood

Hampstead Heath Kenwood

I always get caught out by how quickly the light falls at this time of this year. By 1530 the sun is setting in the sky, and by 1615 it’s pretty much too dark to take photographs.

Hampstead Heath Autumn kenwoodHampstead Heath Kenwood Hampstead Heath Autumn kenwood


Kenwood is open every day from 10am – 5pm

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Such a lovely place to take a walk. The photos are stunning! Gemma xx


I am so glad Lettice is able to appreciate the finer things in life. I recently visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park with my visiting parents and all the dogs, and my parents’ border collie Poppy took quite a dislike to Henry Moore – she managed to actually pick them all out, barking like a mad thing at them! Considering she is normally the quietest dog ever, we had to conclude modern art isn’t her thing.

This looks like a lovely walk. At the moment ours are just in the local woods in snatched moments between building work on our house, but the dogs miss our lovely long ramblings in the nicer weather. I don’t think they mind spending most of the day in front of the fire that much though! x


There are few better ways to start a Sunday than with Kenwood’s delicious, massive veggie breakfast followed by a muddy walk around the grounds!

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