Tucked along the lanes of Hampstead, among the ivied walls and innocent window boxes, is a jumble of townhouses as timeless as you could hope to see. Here stands Mount Square, all period quirks, patterned tablecloths and Beatrix Potter charms. Every vintage armchair, floral lampshade and model lighthouse draws you deeper into the past. The spiral staircase creaks to the tread of curious feet, and one wouldn't be surprised to see a goose quill scratching away at the twin bedroom's writing desk. But pretend as you will that modern London has been left behind, Hampstead station is only a five-minute amble away.
For three generations, Mount Square has served as the pied-a-terre to your hosts' family one that's included designers and antique lovers, journalists and jewellery makers. These days it plays host to an arty couple from Cornwall who can't resist Hampstead's rural beauty.
Period, pretty and altogether delightful, this home puts history at your fingertips. Settle into the curvaceous grey sofa and rest weary legs after an afternoon's explorations, or let the English country kitchen deepen your appetite for fresh bread and dainties. You'll find cabinets of fine china one way, and curios, vintage photos and Persian rugs the other.
When dusk begins to gather, you might step up the staircase and root among the shelves of the bedroom for a choice read. But before you slip between the sheets, be sure you've gazed long at the toys, the many ornaments and the chimney-pot view.