Home » Parks and Gardens of London » A Short Guide to Primrose Hill

A Short Guide to Primrose Hill


Primrose Hill is a hill of 213 feet (65 m) which is located on the northern side of Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill is also the surrounding neighbourhood. The top of the hill is one of the most popular vantage points in London giving clear views of central London.


This part of London was part of a large forest and there is evidence that trees populated the hill’s slopes until the fourteenth century. The summit had been cleared long before that and there are suggestions part of the hill was used as a burial mound, this part of Primrose Hill became known as ‘Barrow Hill’ which survived until the 19th century when it was levelled to accommodate a large water reservoir.


Like many London parks, Primrose Hill was once part of a great chase which was appropriated by Henry VIII and was then owned by Eton College until 1841 when it became Crown property and secured as a public open space. Primrose Hill with its proximity to central London has been a popular landmark for centuries attracting a large number of writers, poets and artists.


On the summit is a stone with a William Blake inscription, which reads: I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill. Watching the sunrise or the sunset from the top of the hill is a popular attraction for a large number of people. The hill has been popular for less savoury pastimes, Duels and prize-fights have taken place and in the 17th century, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was found mysteriously murdered on the hill.

From the 19th century, residential development around Primrose Hill has created one of the more fashionable districts in London between the centre and the suburbs. Fortunately this development all around the hill did not to fulfilment of the prophecy of Mother Shipton, England’s most famous prophetess of the 16th century who said that when London shall surround Primrose Hill the streets of the metropolis will run with blood.


The hill and the area has been a popular place to live for a large number of writers and have featured in a large number of books. It has also been popular with musicians, the Beatles, Madness and Loudon Wainwright III are just a few to be inspired.


The Primrose Hill district is surrounded by St Johns Wood, Swiss Cottage, Belsize park, Chalk Farm, Camden and Regent’s Park is south of the hill. The nearest underground stations to Primrose Hill are Chalk Farm and Swiss Cottage.

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