If you want to find London's intellectual heart, then head to the twists and turns of Hampstead. Denizens of the capital's most anachronistic village include Charles Dickens, Henry Moore, and T.S. Eliot. Its cobbled streets play host to a cacophony of architectural styles before they give way to the orchestral space of Hampstead Heath, the greatest park in London offering the best views of the city. The narrow, blink-and-you'll-miss-it, Streatley Place hides your cottage, a dinky two bedroom, two bathroom abode, and the musical life of your host within.
Your host is a well-known concert pianist and recording artist whose bow strings include appearances at the Royal Festival Hall. Her piano playing is widely acclaimed and her work in London is something to see. With a career that has taken her all over the world and onto some of our grandest ships, there is still nothing like coming home. For her there's no place like Hampstead and its space, peace and inspiration.
Step into Streatley Place and the Dickensian feel of Hampstead is another world away. Music is instrumental in this property, with a grand piano and cello dominating the light-infused and peaceful eau-de-nil sitting room, where musical scores prop each other up in the bookshelves. Those not of a musical persuasion can relax on the L-shaped sofa, or throw open the French windows of the kitchen as they cook something up for their fellow guests. Past the cloakroom and up the stairs you will find your cute roof terrace and two bedrooms, the light and calming first room with its ensuite shower and views onto what was once former nurses' flats. Then the romantic second bedroom, painted a shade of antique rose, is dominated by a large wooden sleigh bed and filled with richly polished furniture. Next door to this is a large bathroom with a bathtub from which to write your next musical score.
The cobbles of Streatley Place are minutes from some of Hampstead's traditional pubs. There's a plethora of architectural gems to take in, from early Georgian to the modernism of the Isokon building. Those in search of something more de nos jours can head to Heath Street, steeped in lively restaurants and shops. Culture abounds around here, with museums and a trio of theatres. If that sounds like too much work, stroll on the Heath and find live classical music in front of the majesty of Kenwood House. The West End is just 20 minutes away by tube.