Hampstead Heath is just about as famous/infamous a location as you can get in London. The stunning inner-city parkland is a historical, picturesque expanse of greenery dotted with reservoirs and woodlands. People make the trip to the park from all over the city to take in the glorious skyline views, admire the wildlife and engage in sexual activities.
Oh yes. Sex. The Heath has long been a destination for men seeking casual and anonymous encounters. Of course, its most famous cruiser is George Michael who allegedly shouted “Fuck off! It’s part of my culture” to a snooping tabloid reporter as he unashamedly went about his business.
But aside from Hampstead being a visual treat and a place for the interested to meet, it is also a charming and surprising must-visit location for vegans.
The vegan visitor must firstly make their way into the ridiculously-attractive Garden Gate. This pub boasts one of the best beer gardens in London with potted and planted trees sprinkled with blue fairy lights that spring to life as the sun dips. Vegan alcohol is readily available, including Aspall cider on tap and Peroni by the bottle. Grab a few beverages, stake out your position on a sofa under a palm and enjoy London drinking at its finest.
When you feel like you have consumed just the right amount of drink and the London night has settled upon the Heath and its patrons, simply stroll out the front door of the pub for some of the tastiest vegan food in town.
Literally across the street from the Garden Gate is one of the best kept secrets in the entire city. Friendly Falafels is a gorgeous mini food caravan serving 100% vegan falafel wraps that are tasty, hot and scrumptious. My group could not believe our eyes and ears as the owner insisted they had been selling their delicious treats in this very location for many years. I had consumed a few ciders by this time so my best recall is that the business is open most nights from 8pm onwards.
The falafel was the perfect ending to a very enjoyable evening in Hampstead Heath. If you ever find yourself in the area (ahem!), make sure you buy a few drinks and snacks from both of these fine establishments. FGV recommended indeed.
Catch the London Overground to Hamsptead Heath station and walk about 20 metres and you are at both locations. You can also catch the 24 bus from Pimlico, Trafalgar Square or Camden and alight at Hampstead.