Meeting the Sun atop Primrose Hill

One of the highlights, literally, of walking along Regents Canal is the chance to journey up Primrose Hill.  I’d never been here before and so thought it was as good an opportunity as any to walk up and see one of the most iconic vantage points over Central London and take in its legendary Protected View.


The protected view of St Pauls Cathedral from Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill stands at 213 feet or around 65 metres in height and is located on the northern side of Regent’s Park in London and the name has also lent itself to the surrounding neighbourhoods. Nowadays it is one of the most exclusive and expensive residential areas in London and is home to many prominent residents who are members of what are known as the Primrose Hill Set.

In fact when I was there aside from a handful of rather breathless tourists, the park seemed to be full of American and French millionaires enjoying their constitutional walks.

Depending on the route one takes, it can be a surprising steep climb to the summit but it is well worth the effort giving as it does views of Hampstead and Belsize Park to the north as well as its famous view to the south.  The summit is adorned by an engraved quotation from William Blake.



At one time Primrose Hill was a place where duels were fought and prize-fights took place here too. Centuries earlier, 15th century prophetess and soothsayer Mother Shipton made threatening prophesies about what would happen if the city sprawl was allowed to encroach on its boundaries

Like Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill was once part of a great chase appropriated by Henry VIII. Later, in 1841, it became Crown property when purchases from Eton College and in 1842 an Act of Parliament secured the land as public open space. The built-up part of Primrose Hill comprises mainly Victorian terraces.


The picturesque homes around Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill has always been one of the more fashionable districts in that ring that surrounds Central London from the suburbs, and it remains expensive and prosperous. Primrose Hill is an archetypal example of a successful London urban village, due to the location and the quality of its socio-historical development.  Like many of the most desirable residential parts of London, you could quite easily forget you were in London at all and a world away from the famous tourist sights that are within view from the hill top. 

In October 1678, Primrose Hill was the scene of the mysterious murder of Edmund Berry Godfrey. In 1792 the radical Unitarian poet and antiquarian Iolo Morganwg  founded the Gorsedd, a community of Welsh bards, at a ceremony on 21 June at Primrose Hill.


All manner of influential historic figures have lived nearby with many blue wall plaques illustrating where they once lived.  Amongst the most famous include the revolutionary socialist and philosopher Friedrich Engels and poet William Butler Yeats at 23 Fitzroy Road.

On a more contemporary note, Stanley Johnson who is the father of Boris has lived here and beloved actors Joan Bakewell and actor Derek Jacobi still do.


So what about the view?  Quite frankly it is breathtaking and the photos can’t do any justice to it whatsoever and I can only imagine what it would look like at dawn, dusk or after dark.

You can see everything from Islington in the far left over the near side of the East End to the Docklands and Canary Wharf and then the mass jumble of the old Roman City with St Pauls and The Shard a little to the right and with the BT Tower in Bloomsbury and the West End in the foreground with many of the famous sights visible, further back and stretching to the right is Westminster with the London Eye and Parliament visible further back and then to the right stretching over Notting Hill, Kensington, Chelsea and way over towards Hammersmith and Twickenham (I would imagine).


The view from Primrose Hill

It’s back to the canals on Wednesday but for now why not check out last years post on the massive amount of green spaces in London.



About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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3 Responses to Meeting the Sun atop Primrose Hill

  1. Marilyn Allan says:

    Those homes look like townhomes! Are their big single homes there too? Looks like a pretty area! How far from downtown London? The rate you are going with your tour guide business, you could be moving there yourself!!👍👍😉


  2. Pingback: John Donne – A forgotten poet and his discovered manuscript. | Stephen Liddell

  3. Pingback: Coronavirus Diary 13 – Breaking the curfew for a peak over London | Stephen Liddell

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