Hampstead Heath

 
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A Midsummer Night's Dream all year long
Not a bar really as there are no drinks for sale and no indoors either, but the West Heath section of north London's Hampstead Heath must rank as one of the world's most impressive outdoor cruising grounds. Sometimes dead quiet and/or dull, other times swarming with men (casual, leather, rubber etc), the West Heath is a sloping dense, bushy and woodsy universe which, especially on a balmy summer's evening, can approach something magical. Busiest in the evenings, often after midnight. Police raids are a thing of the past, and the famous have been known (and caught) up here. Tube station: Hampstead, then walk up the hill to Whitestone Pond, adjacent to Jack Straw's Castle; the descent to the cruising area starts there. Across the road is the entrance to the main (and sprawling) section of Hampstead Heath, which provides winding walks, super views of London, Kenwood House [see entry] and a gay-appeal men's pond with swimming and social options (including an enclosed naked zone), all before the sun goes down. And historic, beautiful and once-arty/literary Hampstead Village is well worth investigation.

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