North London: From kite-flying on the hill to narrowboats on the canal

by LondonDucklings

Take a walk among old oaks on Hampstead Heath in North London and it will feel like you’re far out in the country. Or go to Little Venice in Maida Vale to have a look at the narrowboats floating slowly down Regents Canal past London Zoo. Here are some of our favourite things to do in North London:

Flying high on Kite Hill

On Hampstead Heath‘s Parliament Hill you can enjoy one of the best views of London’s skyline. This windy place is also one of London’s most legendary places to go kite-flying. Actually, the 321 feet (98m) high hill is so popular with kite-flyers that it become known as Kite Hill! And if you walk right down the hill, you have one of London’s best play areas at Parliament Hill Playground where the kids can enjoy traditional slides, swings and a big sand area.

The Heath is a real piece of nature in the middle of London, giving you a feeling of being far out in the country. The 10km Heat Circuit Route is a good option if you want to spend the whole day out with and get some exercise at the same time.

Things to do at Ally Pally

Alexandra Palace (“Ally Pally”) is an institution when it comes to weekend activities in North London, with highlights for kids including an all-year ice-rink and thrilling Go-Ape treetop challenge. Despite a decent slide, we were not that impressed with the playground next to Alexandra Park but overall it’s a really fun place for kids if you plan ahead and book tickets for the ice-rink or Go-Ape. If you’re planning to visit on a Sunday, make sure to stop by the local farmer’s market where you can get the freshest and healthiest food in town!

Regent’s Canal from Little Venice to Camden Town

Little Venice might sound a bit more exotic than it really is, but it’s still a lot of fun to visit this unique place in London with its waterways and narrowboats. The best time to visit is during the annual narrowboat festival in May, where you can see a colourful array of decorated boats in all its glory.

Follow the old towpath on Regent’s Canal westwards from Little Venice and you’ll pass London Zoo before arriving at Camden Lock. This traffic-free route on the canal is around 5 km long and ideal for quiet and peaceful walks on hot summer days. You can also cycle on the canal towpaths, but take it slow if busy and remember that pedestrians take priority.

Things to do off the beaten track

Off the beaten tourist track, you’ll find yourself among ordinary Londoners when visiting North London classics like Kentish Town City Farm which is a real cornerstone in the local community. Freightliners Farm is another iconic North London city farm, where you can enjoy a little piece of the countryside in the city.

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