By Koray Hussein
If last week’s Photo Walk of The Hill Garden & Pergola didn’t go into enough detail for you, then you’re going to love today’s post. Whilst last week I focussed solely on the images I took at Hampstead’s oddly out of place garden, this week I thought I’d actually compare the place to other “similar” attractions like Postman’s Park or (my old favourite) St Dunstan-in-the-East whilst explaining my initial thoughts on the place.
If you have been to the Hampstead area before then you’ll know that the entire place is pretty much made of hills, narrow roads and more hills. It’s a beautiful part of London with a slight “out of town” feel to it due to it’s narrow roads and friendly locals (yes, I admit it, Londoners can be unfriendly). A lot people know of and visit Hampstead for Hampstead Heath but if you’re willing to walk a touch further from Hampstead station, you’ll find a truly unique hideaway in The Hill Garden & Pergola
Arriving at The Hill Garden & Pergola from the muddy path leading from North End Way, I wasn’t actually sure I’d found the right garden. Sure, the exterior kind of looked similar to some of the pictures but there was no way this large garden could possibly be here. It was just too remote and small with no hint of a proper bit of greenery to be seen. Still, I walked through the gate and the door after that and was greeted with a black spiralling staircase leading up.
After making my way up the stairs, everything started to look a lot more recognisable… and attractive. It may not have been the best of weather but there was still no denying that the pergola is a perfect place to park it and relax. It may have just been me but the aged brick and vines really felt like it was dragging you back in time, and had me almost listening out for the horse and carriages trudging along the nearby road. Quite strange and very surreal.
After walking along the pergola for a short while, it suddenly became quite apparent that the garden wasn’t smaller than I had been expecting, but the pergola was a lot longer (and more impressive) than I had been expecting and it was only once I actually reached the garden that I realised how large it actually was.
Once you get to the garden though, it’s quite clear why Esin thought it belonged in her London Five feature looking at London’s secret green areas and I immediately started picturing the families picnicking and relaxing on the grass in the warmer months. It really is the perfect kickback garden.
Whilst I do love St Dunstan-in-the-East, it’s definitely too dark and cramped for a long relaxing break and is more suited to catching your breath in between activities in the city or even before a date. The same goes for Postman’s Park, which is best enjoyed on a lunch break or with a good book… But The Hill Garden is perfect for all of that and more. Even though it’s a bit of a journey for most Londoners, I can definitely see people packing the family’s lunch in a basket or backpack and heading down to The Hill Garden for a nice “family day out” followed by a dinner and drink in one of Hampstead’s beautiful pubs. The pond is perfectly located in the middle of the greenery giving people enough space to lie down and take in the surroundings and looking back up at the pergola wouldn’t get boring any time soon.
The Hill Garden & Pergola may not be in the most ideal location for most, but it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s got a really lovely vibe to it and definitely deserves more recognition (just like the other two gardens mentioned). Whilst a lot of people this summer may be heading to St James’ Park or Primrose Hill to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon, I have a feeling that at least one of my Summer days will be spent by the pond over at The Hill Garden.