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The Lungs of London

Settembre 2005
Spesso trascurato dai visitatori frettolosi, Hampstead è il polmone verde di Londra e uno dei luoghi più romantici della città.

di John Rigg

File audio:

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

Hampstead is one of the few places in London where you can forget that you’re in the middle of a huge city. You can forget the 21st century altogether in Church Row, Admiral’s Walk or Flask Walk with their 18th century houses. A walk across the Heath, an 853-acre park with fields of long grass and woods, will complete the illusion.

Famous Writers

It’s easy to get to Hampstead, simply take the underground to Hampstead Station on the Northern line. Hampstead is famous for its restaurants and pubs, such as the Holly Bush, the Spaniard’s Inn and the White Bear.
Many well-known writers have lived in Hampstead. Jack Straw’s Castle on the edge of the Heath was Charles Dickens’ favourite pub: now it is a private residence. Dickens lived at Old Wylde’s, a lovely white cottage in North End Avenue.
The poet John Keats also lived in the village. You can visit the house, Wentworth Place, where he wrote Ode to a Nightingale and other poems.
George Orwell lived at a room in 3, Warwick Mansions, Pond Street and worked in a bookshop in Hampstead. He recorded his experiences in the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Today Hampstead still attracts famous residents such as John Le Carré, Bob Hoskins, George Michael and Liam Gallagher.

Plant Life

Hidden in the park are some unusual sites. There is the Water Garden with its beautiful tropical plants: the most impressive is the Gunnera with its enormous leaves. The leaves are so large the plant can’t support them, but in the winter they protect the plant from the English climate. Next, a rarity for an English park, there is a small zoo on Golder’s Hill.  
There is also a pergola with many fragrant flowers where you can look out over the Heath and its canopy of trees. Nearby you will find the Hill Garden with its wonderful flower beds and ornamental fish pond. At the far end there is a small alcove with a bench; here there is an exceptional view across the Heath to the city of London in the distance.

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huge - enorme.

altogether - del tutto.

heath - brughiera.

flower beds - aiuole.

pond - stagno.

bench - panchina.