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Living in Belsize Park: designer Matthew Williamson on his ‘villagey’ north London neighbourhood

·3-min read
 (Sara Savage)
(Sara Savage)

I live in a large Victorian, ground-floor apartment of a white, stucco-fronted house in Belsize Park. I’m lucky enough to also have a private back garden.

I love my neighbourhood as it is quite small and manageable, almost with a village-like feel.

It’s easy and quick to reach central London and there are great open spaces such as Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park all within walking distance.

I’ve always lived in north London. In my 20s I was in Primrose Hill, in my 30s Hampstead and now Belsize Park.

I guess I like to change homes from time to time but I love this part of London. I’ve lived here for 10 years.

Best eating and drinking

I often go to Lemonia in Primrose Hill for a casual Greek dinner. It’s a local institution, I love the food and the staff are great. It’s a short walk from my home.

There’s also a nice Italian restaurant in Belsize village called Calici.

For snacks, breakfast and lunches there are a couple of spots such as Roni’s Bakery and Belsize Organic.

On England’s Lane, I often eat and stock up on staples for the kitchen cupboard at Black Truffle.

My three local watering holes are The Washington, The Haverstock Tavern and Steele’s pub.

Where I work out

I try to have a weekly massage at Body Matters clinic as a treat.

For a culture fix

Daunt Books on Haverstock Hill is a regular haunt. Also, a walk up to Hampstead provides wonderful buildings steeped in history. You can get lost in some of the hidden streets edging the Heath.

Daunt Books, on Haverstock Hill, is a  favourite haunt of Williamson’s (Alamy Stock Photo)
Daunt Books, on Haverstock Hill, is a favourite haunt of Williamson’s (Alamy Stock Photo)

The Everyman Cinema is a favourite and has just had a refresh.

To commune with nature

A short walk away, you will find Primrose Hill Park and later come to Regent’s Park. I often walk this route into central London as it takes about half an hour.

Grocery shopping

I buy all my groceries from Crescent Fruiterers on Belsize Lane and Pomona on Haverstock Hill.

Getting around

I walk if I can and then take taxis or the Underground if I’m going further afield.

Dream street

Belsize Park Gardens is impressive with its symmetrical, grand houses on a treelined street. Some of the mews streets nearby also have a lovely quiet charm.

Delicatessen and coffee shop Black Truffle sells homemade food from Cordon Bleu-trained chefs (Handout)
Delicatessen and coffee shop Black Truffle sells homemade food from Cordon Bleu-trained chefs (Handout)

Something you only see in Belsize Park

It’s family-orientated with lots of dogs and babies, which suits me as I have both.

What’s the catch?

No catch. Belsize Park has everything you would ever need.

In three words

Villagey. Green. Bustling.

Visit or follow @matthewwilliamson on Instagram


There are several primary schools in Belsize Park rated outstanding or good, including Abacus and Fitzjohn’s primary schools. The Village Prep School is an independent option.

For secondary education, Haverstock School and The UCL Academy are rated good by Ofsted.

What it costs to live in Belsize Park

Average flat price: £835,539

Average house price: £2,530,583

Average price to rent a flat: £2,639 a month

Average price to rent a house: £6,371 a month

Source: Rightmove

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