Primrose Hill, one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in London, has been getting more and more popular as a tourist destination.
The main driving force behind this boom is the view that the area offers visitors. Its celebrity residents have also contributed to the district’s soaring popularity.
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With a myriad of natural attractions, viewpoints, restaurants, and cafes in the area, you won’t run out of things to do in Primrose Hill.
Here are the top things to do in Primrose Hill London
The eponymously-named park, from which the neighbourhood took its name, is a green space perfect for serene outings.
Without further ado, let’s dive into why Primrose Hill is worth including in your 1-day, 3-day, or 5-day London itinerary.
Primrose Hill’s history dates back centuries, with it formerly used by monarchs as a hunting ground. The park and area was previously nothing more than woodland inhabited by werewolves.
It got its name from the primrose flowers that grew on its slopes. It was briefly named “Greenberry Hill” after a trio of men (last names being Green, Berry, and Hill) who were executed here for killing Edmund Godfrey.
A few decades into the 19th century, the park became a public space, although there were talks of building a cemetery or houses. The subsequent dwellings were built in the park’s surrounds, laying the blueprint for what stands today.
While the place has become a lot posher than then, not much has changed as many of the Victorian houses stand today. A visit here will take you on a bit of a trip back in time.
Now, it’s fitting to start any Primrose Hill guide with the eponymous attraction the area is most famous for. This is, of course, the actual hill.
A climb to the summit is easily one of the best things to do in the London neighbourhood. While the climb takes some time, the destination makes the journey worth it.
Atop Primrose Hill, you’re blessed with panoramic views of the capital (more on this later). The hill’s slope features an oak tree planted to commemorate Shakespeare’s birth – although it’s a replacement and not the original.
Quick tip: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle, and dress appropriately.
1. Primrose Hill Park
In the early 1840s, the park and hill were made public to allow locals greater access to green spaces. It was previously used as Henry VIII’s hunting grounds and today stands as one of London’s Royal Parks.
The park has always been interesting, with duels and prize-fights having taken place here in the past. It sits a few minutes north of the more popular and busier Regent’s Park.
Primrose Hill park itself doesn’t have much going on for itself. It’s a serene green space with a trio of Rowan-Whitebeam cross trees serving as the main attractions.
Although, there’s a playground for kids that features classics like slides and swings and a giant scramble net.
2. Have a Picnic in the Park
Green spaces and picnics go together like bread and butter, cookies and milk, peanut butter and jelly; you get the picture.
Luckily, Primrose Hill park is sprawling with beautiful green spaces. Plus, the serenity and quiet at the park make it even better. You likely won’t have difficulty finding a pleasant spot to place your blanket and set up your dining area.
You can prepare something at home before making your way to the park. On the other hand, Primrose Hill has several places you can get grub and drinks perfect for picnic feasts.
3. Watch the Sunset or Sunrise
In general, scenic views can be enjoyed anytime during the day. However, their magnificence is elevated by the rising sun in the morning or dying embers of the late afternoon.
With one of the capital’s best viewpoints, your Primrose Hill visit will feel incomplete if you don’t enjoy this phenomenon.
You can make your way to the top of the hill on your own or bring along your partner to add some romance to the equation.
Once there, capture the beauty of the mellow orange skies for personal keeping or spam your social media with it. After all, it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in London.
If you aren’t up for the climb, you can still get a decent view of the Primrose Hill sunset or sunrise from the park itself.
4. Primrose Hill’s Best Viewpoints
Viewpoints, viewpoints, viewpoints, this is possibly Primrose Hill’s finest attraction. One of the most famous poets in history, William Blake exclaimed, “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill”.
Primrose Hill boasts one of London’s six protected views, each offering splendid views of London and its surroundings.
The summit sits nearly 63 metres above sea level, boasting unobstructed views thanks to the low-kept trees on the hill.
Primrose Hill’s London view includes many of the capital’s attractions and landmarks. You’re spoiled with views of the mesmerising London Eye, the Shard, and the BT Tower at the summit. You can also catch a glimpse of nearby Hampstead.
5. Primrose Hill Market
If you’re a lover of fresh produce, then you absolutely can’t miss the Primrose Hill Market. It’s a vibrant farmer’s market that brings together the best food producers and traders to support the local community.
You’ll find the market at the bottom of Primrose Hill by St. Paul’s School. Unfortunately, it’s not a daily occurrence as the market opens only on Saturdays between 09:30 and 14:30.
It’s an ideal weekend destination, or it can serve as a quick stop for grabbing your Primrose Hill breakfast or lunch. In addition to fresh produce and street food stalls, you can indulge in delicious drinks. Stalls are selling fresh coffee, beer, as well as wine.
Let’s be honest, the world is generally stressful. From work to relationships and everything in between, the stressors just keep coming. This makes it essential that everyone takes a bit of time to destress.
This is exactly what you get at the Cowshed, a place that touts itself as a “haven of relaxation and sociable grooming.” This spa offers fantastic pampering, with their staff waiting to lull you into a calm state.
They have an impressive menu of bespoke treatments for your body, face, hands, and feet carried out in one of their six treatment rooms. Sure, it will cost you, but it’s worth the visit.
Afterwards, you can purchase some of their products to help you destress while at home too.
7. Walk Along the Regent’s Canal
Primrose Hill’s streak of beauty continues with the part of the Regent’s Canal in the area. Lined with greenery and tranquil waters, it’s the perfect picturesque place to walk.
If you’re a fan of street art, you’re likely to encounter Banksy’s Artwork.
You can start your stroll right about anywhere, but your destination would likely be Camden Lock or Camden Town Station. Therefore, this walk is recommended if you’re making your way to that part of London.
If you’d rather move quicker, you can use a bike and take the same route.
8. Go Blue Plaque Spotting
As stated previously, Primrose Hill boasts many famous names as part of its current and former residents. Kate Moss, Rhys Ifans, Sylvia Plath, and Daniel Craig are just some of the familiar names that have called the neighbourhood home.
While some people visit the area to spot some of the popular faces of today, your visit can be just as, if not more, memorable. Primrose Hill has seven English Heritage blue plaques that mark famous residents that have since passed.
At 3 Chalcot Square and 23 Fitzroy Road, respectively, you’ll find Sylvia Paths and Ted Hughes’ plaques. At 11 St. Mark’s Crescent is Sir Hugh Clough’s plaque, and 2 Albert Terrace hosts Roger Fenton’s heritage plaque.
Other notable names are William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Friedrich Engels, and more.
Whenever you’re out and about exploring an area, you’ll need a place to recharge your batteries. Sometimes your picnic basket just isn’t enough to last the entire day.
Luckily, several cafes and restaurants near Primrose Hill are ready to satisfy your taste buds.
Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or even the best brunch, Primrose Hill has the following spots ready to jump to the rescue.
The Little One
This Primrose Hill cafe is appropriately named as it is little. Despite its small size, it features an impressive menu of baked goods and a coffee that’s good enough to prepare you for the hill ascent.
Count yourself lucky if you’re able to grab a seat as it fills up rather quickly.
Greenberry, one of Primrose Hill’s original names, is the spot for brunch in Primrose Hill. Their mouthwatering menu draws in hordes of visitors until the cut-off time at 15:00.
While the spot shot up in popularity for their brunch, this Primrose Hill restaurant services patrons all day. It boasts a seasonally changing a la carte menu which can be paired with various wines in the evening between Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Manna, one of the best restaurants in Primrose Hill, has been around for over four decades. Initially a vegetarian spot, the diner was way ahead of its time as it went vegan in 2008.
If you want a plant-based Primrose Hill lunch, you don’t have to look any further than Manna. The inventive eatery offers many tasty dishes, including cannellini burgers and lettuce tacos.
As one of the more affluent areas of London, you can find several shops selling a variety of products.
Part of a small chain, Anna is a boutique fashion shop specialising in women’s clothing. In addition to clothes, the store also sells gorgeous shoes and accessories. It’s on the expensive side of things, but you wouldn’t expect any less for its location and quality.
Remember earlier in the article; we mentioned you could forgo preparing picnic food at home and buy the treats at a store? This is that store.
Shepherd Foods is your one-stop shop for delicious goodies and everything in between. Their selection of wines, fruits, drinks, and more are available to curate your picnic menu.
In today’s day and age, many people still prefer physical books over digital copies. If you’re one of those people who like perusing a selection of books in person rather than browsing on the net, then Primrose Hill Books is the place to shop.
They boast a myriad of books suited for different readers, all sold by an excellent staff that provides cheerful service.
You can reach Primrose Hill by tube, train, bus, and car. How long you travel depends on where you’re coming from.
If you choose to come by tube, the nearest tube station is Chalk Farm (around 8 minutes from the neighbourhood).
However, Primrose Hill is also within walking distance of Swiss Cottage and Camden Town, with a scenic walk along Regent’s Canal awaiting from the latter.
The nearest train station is Kentish Town, which requires a 21-minute walk to get to Primrose Hill. As for coming by bus, you can hop on a bus on the following routes: C2, C11,1, 13, 18, 27, 30, 31, 74, 82, 113, 139, 159, 189, and 274.
If you’d rather self-drive for the freedom that comes with it, then you just need to punch in the destination in your handy GPS. Primrose Hill parking is available at Regent’s Park Road and King Henry’s Road.
Areas Near Primrose Hill To Explore
Primrose Hill is a relatively small area that lends itself well to exploring on foot. Likewise, you can walk from this part of London to another when you’ve had your share of fun here.
Chalk Farm and the affluent Belsize Park are also within walking distance. If you’re travelling by car, you can make your way to Bloomsbury, Marylebone and Paddington.
You can also walk to Little Venice and the London Zoo from the Regent’s Canal footpath.
As you can see, Primrose Hill has many things that will make a visit to the small area worth it. It’s the perfect escape from London’s other busier neighbourhoods, with sprawling views and greenery the order of the day.
There are also many Primrose Hill restaurants, shops, cafes, and synthetic attractions waiting for you. Afterwards, you can make your way to many walkable areas nearby for a comprehensive London outing.