Primrose Hill is a 63-metre-high hill located near Camden Town and north of Regent’s Park and London Zoo. There were two hills at one time, and the neighbouring one, known as Barrow Hill, was excavated to make way for a water reservoir.
It was once overgrown with trees, but when Henry VI donated the hill to Eton College, the trees were cut down to allow for the construction of houses and other structures.
In 1800, the Crown traded the top of the hill with Eton for land near Windsor, where the college is still located. The hill is surrounded by Victorian-style stucco-covered stately homes in white, blue, and even pink.
Of course, Primrose Hill houses are expensive, and it has always been home to wealthy and famous people such as Jude Law and Kate Moss; it is one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in the entire United Kingdom. A haven for commission-based real estate agents. Here was also Tim Burton’s famous home, which was recently put up for sale. Alan Bennett, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Ian McEwan are also among the writers. It retains the ancient atmosphere of a small village with many lovely houses.
Before it became a park in the 1800s, the hill was on the verge of becoming a cemetery; there were no cemeteries to bury the dead of an ever-expanding London, and one of the proposals was to build one right on this hill. The cemetery would have housed 5 million bodies, but a campaign against the project was successful.
Then there was the threat of the railway; in fact, the line from London to Birmingham had to pass through here; eventually, it was decided to dig a tunnel from Primrose Hill Road to Finchley, and the hill was saved.
In 1864, a tree was planted here to commemorate the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Many people came to see the event; Shakespeare was popular in those days, especially among the working class. There is still a Shakespeare tree, but not the one from 1690. Above the hill is a plaque with the following William Blake quote: “‘I have conversed with the spiritual sun.” ‘I saw him on Primrose Hill,’ he said.
The hill is also well-known for its view of London, particularly of St Paul’s Cathedral; it is one of the protected views, which means that new buildings or skyscrapers cannot obscure the view of St Paul’s from Primrose Hill (other protected views are from Richmond Park, Blackheath, Alexandra Palace, Greenwich and Parliament Hill on Hampstead Hill).
Many Londoners also visit Primrose Hill to view the sunrise or sunset over the city, as well as the New Year’s Eve fireworks at the London Eye. Every year, Pagans and onlookers gather to observe the solstices. On a clear day, you can also see the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.
There are London Underground stations in Camden Town, Chalk Farm on the Northern Line, and St John’s Wood that will take you there.
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