Top 7: local resorts

Why go away for the weekend when these scenic spots are all within walking distance?

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1. Last Chance: Camden Beach

Blissful: the beach before the after-work rush
Blissful: the beach before the after-work rush
It’s the final three days of NW1’s sunny strip, and this year has been as packed as any: so book a table at posh “seaside” diner, Fishy Business, or, if you’re really lucky, one of a handful of VIP beach huts. We reckon at this late stage, however, you’ll be blessed to find a free deckchair. Closes August 23, 11pm. Full guide here

2. Hampstead Heath

Sandy Heath: a place for solace. Photo: Stephen Emms
Everyone is familiar with the luscious green space on our doorstep – which is all a bit of a resort every warm weekend, especially the ponds – but for some solitude have you tried the rolling fields of the West Meadow on the Kenwood estate? Other quiet-ish spots worth seeking out (and so much easier in the era of GPS) include bucolic village the Vale of Health, the colourful secret garden near Athlone House and, best of all, Sandy Heath (pictured), just west of Spaniards Road, if you really want the gorse-lined paths and antediluvian swamps to yourself. Contemplate park benches here

3. Little Venice

Prefer to be on the water? Head to the Regent’s Canal, with its narrow boats, canoe hire at Pirate Castle, or the ever-changing towpath itself, the best route to Maida Vale, surely the nearest we get to, er, the Italian romantic resort itself. Full guide here

4. King’s Cross

Romantic: Little Venice. Photo: Stephen Emms
A 15 minute walk east along the canal is a full summer programme at Spanish-style piazza Granary Square: fountains, deck chairs, pavement terraces, live music and streetfood stalls (next free happening is Battle Bridge). Full guide here

5. Belsize Park

Bask on the leafy European parade stretching north of the tube – its western side features more indies such as Jamon Jamon, or Chez Bob – or the village feel of England’s Lane, with its artisan cafes and delis like Black Truffle and Ginger & White. Head to Retsina in Belsize Village for authentic top-quality lamb kleftico or chicken souvla. Full guide here

6. Swain’s Lane

Primrose Hill - remarkably photogenic whatever the weather
The hill: photogenic whatever the weather. Photo: Stephen Emms
Sometimes referred to as Kentish Town’s very own ‘resort’, this curving parade in N6 is all alfresco cafes and people-watching. Grab a chair at Kalendar and a coffee – or, more appropriately, a glass of chilled Cotes de Provence. Corks & Forks has a decent wine list and BBQs in the back garden too. Full guide here

7. Primrose Hill

Visit on a balmy weekend and fight for the best spots overlooking the London skyline, or bag a seat along Regent’s Park Road promenade – Negozio Classica will make you feel like you’re in Tuscany, Lemonia in Greece – to watch the picnickers and posers parade up and down. Full guide here

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Shhhhhhh! The Stag

Stag This great boozer on Fleet Road is a veritable holiday destination itself, with vast pebbly beach of a beer garden, BBQs, lively crowd and regular local bands. Up the road are longstanding brasseries and independent shops to browse before or after. And better still, this weekend sees singer-songwriter Badly Drawn Boy playing. For nowt. 67 Fleet Rd, London NW3 2QU

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