Hampstead Pergola – The Grandeur of Run-down Terraces | London’s Secret Serene Haven
The Hampstead Pergola, a beautiful faded splendour hidden away in the north west corner of Hampstead Heath is one of London’s secret serene havens. This hidden treasure is a breathtaking wonder and perfect for all seasons to wander. You can’t but fall in love with the grandeur of these run-down terraces that radiate a sense of serenity at every step you take. Set on raised walkways, the endless corridors of Edwardian pillars are overgrown with vines, roses and exotic flowers. The subtle fragrance of roses fills the air, and views at every turn. This serene haven looks like a magical secret garden.
The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Gardens is a perfect destination in London (just 30 minutes from London Euston) to getaway to for a picnic with friends and family, or to enjoy some peace and quiet reflection. The Hampstead Pergola is a photographer’s paradise and a destination sought out for weddings and celebratory events.
In this guide, we take a look at how the story of these really pretty run-down terraces began, what happened along the way and who cares for them now. I have included several photos here, taken a few days ago, in the beautiful summer sun to give you an idea of how beautiful this place is but nothing beats the ‘here and now’ experience which are truly rich. Therefore, I give you all the practical information you need on how to get to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola, opening times and where to park if you are not taking public transportation.
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London’s secret serene haven in Hampstead Heath is the legacy of Lord Leverhulme and dates back to 1905.
Lord William Leverhulme ( 1851 — 1925)
William Leverhulme was born in Bolton to a grocer in 1851. Along with his brother, he established Lever Brothers in 1885, a soap manufacturing company. The business was immensely successful.
In 1904, Lord Leverhulme purchased an Edwardian mansion, ‘The Hill’ overlooking Hampstead Heath. He rebuilt his house to incorporate a wing to each side of the house, a ballroom and an art gallery. Over the course of the following year, he expanded his estate to include the land surrounding The Hill.
Lord Leverhulme loved landscape gardening. With this additional space and his love for landscape gardening, he decided to build a legacy, The Pergola. He wanted a spectacular garden to host extravagant Edwardian garden parties and at the same time a space where his family and friends could spend long summer evenings privately. To make his dream come true, he employed Thomas Mawson, a landscape architect and garden designer.
Construction of the Pergola began in 1905 and was completed in 1906. Over the following years, Lord Leverhulme extended his estate further, thereby also allowing for further extension to the Pergola in 1911 and 1925.
Decline, Restoration and Present Caretakersof Hampstead Pergola
Lord Leverhulme resided at The Hill until his death in 1925. He died of pneumonia at the age of 73. After his death, The Hill and gardens were bought by Baron Inverforth. ‘The Hill’ was renamed as Inverforth House and retains as such till today. Baron Inverforth died in 1955, and left the property to Manor House Hospital.
Unfortunately, by 1960, the hill garden and the pergola were in a poor state of dilapidation. London County Council stepped in to take over and carried out some restoration. The gardens were restored and opened to the public in 1963. Further restoration work was carried when the Corporation of London took over in the late 1980s, in whose care the Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola rests today.
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Practical Information for Hampstead Pergola
1 | Where is Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola?
Address: Inverforth Close, North End Way, London, NW3 7EX
Tel: 020 7332 3322
2 | Getting to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola
2.1 | By London Tube/Underground
The nearest station to Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is Golders Green on the Northern Line. You can access the Northern line at Euston Station. The journey between Euston Station and Golders Green is 15 minutes.
From Golders Green Station, Hampstead Pergola is a 20-minute walk.
2.2 | By Bus
You could catch bus 210 and 268 from Golders Green Station and these take you to Inverforth House (Stop L), close to Hampstead Pergola. It takes about 2 minutes to walk from the bus stop to the Pergola.
Bus 210 from Golders Green Station headed towards Finsbury Park. Journey time is 9 minutes.
Bus 268 from Golders Green Station headed towards South Hampstead. Journey time is 10 minutes.
2.3 | Parking
The nearest car park to Hampstead Pergola is Jack Straw’s, offering 60 spaces and it is an uncovered car park. It takes 8 minutes to walk from the car park to Hampstead Pergola.
Address: City of London Jack Straw’s 12 North End Way London NW3 7ES
Admission to this hidden splendour is free throughout the year.
4 | Opening times:
Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 hour before dusk, or 8:00 p.m. (whichever is earlier).
Although the Hampstead Heath Hill Garden and Pergola is under the care of the Corporation of London today, the Pergola was not fully restored to its former opulence. It went into slow decline since the death of Lord Leverhulme and remains a shell of its former sparkle. Nonetheless, the Hampstead Pergola offers history, nature views, beautiful fairytale settings in the summer sunshine and at any time of the year. Moreover, this faded splendour is unique in character — distinctive, moody, eerie and absolutely amazing at the same time.
So, if you haven’t visited the Hill Garden and Pergola yet, pack your picnic basket, with sandwiches, a red, white or rosé, and head over for a mid-morning stroll while we have perfect weather. It is worth the time and the trip.
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A Guide for Visitors to Explore 12 Famous Parks in London
From the evergreen sweeping slopes of Primrose Hill and the exotic Rose Garden at Regent’s Park to the hidden gems of the royal gardens at Kensington Palace, London is a city that offers an exceptionally vast Royal Parks and exquisite green spaces as a welcome break from the busy city. Here is our selection of 12 famous parks in London and ways to explore these serene green spaces.
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Battersea Park, one of the famous parks in London is located on the South Bank of River Thames. Occupying an area of 200 acres, this Victorian park was built between 1854 and 1870. Home to a large lake, ecological areas, Pump House Gallery, sports facilities and the famous London Peace Pagoda.
The London Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is one of the 80 Peace Pagodas around the globe. The Peace Pagodas were built as part of an advocacy for world peace and non violence by the Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 — 1985) who was the founder of Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order.
Standing at 33.5 metres, the Battersea Peace Pagoda has four bronze statues of the Buddha symbolising the four characteristics of Buddha’s life — birth, contemplation towards enlightment, teaching and death. The Pagoda is located in a serene location overlooking the Thames River, surrounded by lush trees and green lawns.
Good to Know Information about Battersea Park London
Open: 10:00 A.M. — 5:30 P.M. during Spring and Summer;
10:00 A.M. — 4:30 P.M. or dusk during Autumn and Winter
Where: Battersea Park, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ
Pedestrians can access Battersea Park via Albert Bridge Road, Prince of Wales Drive and Queenstown Road (SW11 4NJ)
2 | Kensington Palace Gardens London
Kensington Palace Gardens is a hidden gem! A delightful beautiful garden is located next to Kensington Palace, an 18th century wonder. This historic palace is used by the present day younger royal family. Located in the prestigious Kensington neighbourhood, Kensington Palace Gardens is open to the public and is one of the top destinations for Londoners to escape to amidst their daily chaotic city life.
Although Kensington Palace Gardens can be visited at any time of the year, it is best experienced in spring and summer, while a visit in the coolness of the autumn chill has its own charm.
Where: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Getting to Kensington Gardens
Kensington Palace is located within easy walking distance of the following train stations:
>10 mins from High Street Kensington Underground Station
>10 mins from Queensway Underground Station
>25 mins from London Paddington
>22 mins from London Marylebone
>40 Mins from London Victoria
TTS Best Tips:
Take a very special journey in the royal footsteps and walk around the beautiful grounds with a local expert. You will be given interesting insights into the history of the royal family and see the statue of the late Princess Diana in the sunken garden. Afterwards, enjoy Britain’s most loved drink, tea like never before — a traditional British high tea.
Visit the historic Kensington Palace while you are there. Bathe in the history and opulence of this remarkable 18th century wonder. Learn about the intriguing tales of the state rooms, the beautiful palace apartments, see the room where Queen Victoria was born, the tragic tales of the Stuarts, secret stories and public lives of the royals. Marvel at the mind-blowing architecture of the Cupola Room and the King’s Grand Staircase. Kensington Palace is definitely worth a visit if you like an insight into the royal lives, both past and present.
Hyde Park is a Grade I listed park and is one of the eight Royal Parks in London. The most popular of green spaces in the City of London, it offers a venue for world class events, concerts and boating activities along with cycle paths, plenty of quiet spaces to relax, unwind and be ‘just be’.
This incredible green space in one of the world’s largest metropolises, is home to famous landmarks such as the Albert Memorial,Serpentine Lake, and the Speaker’s Corner. Hyde Park’s tree-lined avenues and winding walkways make a great escape to wind-down your day.
While anytime of the year is a great time to bathe in the serenity bestowed by this green space, you may want to visit at a specific time of the year to experience the changing seasons. Hyde Park is one place where the changing seasons are best noted, with snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses in early spring to summer and the absolutely beautiful vista of fallen golden, brown honey-coloured leaves in late autumn/fall.
Aside from being one of the famous parks in London, Hyde Park has another important role. Hyde Park London forms a chain beginning from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and through Green Park, past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace.
Open: All day
Where: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Getting to Hyde Park:
The nearest Tube Stations are: Victoria, Bond Street, Green Park, Paddington, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.
4 | Green Park London
One of the eight Royal Parks in London, this green oasis was officially named “Green Park” in 1746. Green Park, nestled between Hyde Park to the west and St James Park to the east is a peaceful triangle of open meadows of mature trees and grassland. The lack of flower beds or lakes does not deter Londoners from seeking a quiet retreat from city life.
Located next to Buckingham Palace, Green Park spans nineteen hectares (forty seven acres). It makes a splendid stop for a breather after visiting the nearby landmarks. The popular landmarks here which attract the most visitors are Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, and Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.
Where: Piccadilly, London W1J 9DZ
Getting to Green Park:
Green Park Tube Station is served by Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines
Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips on Famous parks in London:
For an off-the-beaten path experience of the best parks and gardens in London, join a unique small group tour specifically curated for garden lovers and lovers of flowers. This tour typically covers a full day and takes you on a journey to discover some of London’s best kept garden secrets — an experience that goes beyond the usual tourist haunts of the capital city. Added to gardens, flowers and learning about medicinal uses of some of the very interesting plants, you shall also enjoy High Tea at Chelsea Physic Garden.
A charming parkland in the heart of the city, St James Park is the oldest Royal Park in London. Occupying an area of 23 hectares (57 acres), features a large lake and is primarily a wildlife sanctuary. A leisurely stroll through this green oasis allows for swans, geese, ducks and even pelicans.
Take in the spectacular views from the Bridge across the lake where you could see the Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. There are several fountains, and statutes along with memorials to discover in St James Park.
At the very heart of the park is Tiffany Fountain. Tiffany Fountain is famous for the magnificent six metre plume of water it sends into the air. On some special occasions, the jet is illuminated in any one of the rainbow colours.
A monument to look out for is the Queen Victoria Memorial that stands in front of Buckingham Palace. At 25 metres, this incredible monument commemorates the passing of Queen Victoria in 1901.
St James’ Park borders Buckingham Palace to the west and you may also want to experience the Birdcage Walk and the Horse Guards Parade.
Make your way along The Mall, and if you are here at the right time, you may catch the moment for the Changing of Guard, a ceremonial event where soldiers stand down and are replaced by the next group.
More on “Changing of Guard” below.
6 | Regent’s Park London
Regent’s Park, named after Prince Regent who later became King George IV is a favourite haven for Londoners and visitors alike. The ample green space in this famous park of London encompasses 170 hectares (410 acres). A truly scenic park offering tree lined paths, children’s playgrounds and sports facilities.
The highlight of the park must surely be the award winning Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. The Rose Garden boasts the largest collection of roses in London with a reputed 12,000 roses planted here.
A serene Japanese Garden Island, enjoys a secluded area in the park, an open-air theatre for musical entertainment, boating lake, walking trails and a Zoo. Yes, London’s ZSL Zoo is within Regent’s Park.
Good to Know Information about Regent’s Park London| Famous parks in London | Famous Parks in London
Open: 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M
Where: Regent’s Park London, NW1 4NR
Getting to Regent’s Park London
Nearest Tube Station is Regent’s Park on the Bakerloo Line
“Home to the largest living plant collection on earth” Kew Gardens is a haven for nature lovers! This one hundred thirty two hectare (three hundred twenty-six acres) is a grand showpiece of landscaped gardens and architectural features. Home to flora and fauna from around the globe, Kew Gardens plays a crucial role in the fields of scientific, economic, botany and ecology.
Strolling through the Botanic gardens, it is easy to forget that you are in England. There are plants and trees from varying climate zones, ranging from desert to Alps. Asian magnolias in full bloom, Japanese cherry trees and in the lush Victorian Palm House, papayas!
The Princess of Wales Conservatory is another beyond-believe space at Kew Gardens. The gigantic waterlillies are at least a couple of metres in diameter! The iconic Palm House houses the oldest tree-fern, known as Encephalartos altensteinii which was brought from Africa to England in 1775, believed to be the oldest surviving plant in the world.
Pristine flower beds, exotic flowers, Victorian glasshouses and their winter spectacular makes Kew Gardens a perfect destination throughout the year.
Kew Gardens London is an unmissable destination for everyone, both young and old alike.
Good to Know Information for Kew Gardens | Famous parks in London
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Registered disability assistance dogs are allowed in the gardens.
8 | Richmond Park London
Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Park covering an area of 2500 acres, has some of the best wildlife. Designated as a National Nature Reserve, the park is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.
The wide open spaces and grasslands are an important area for wildlife, such as rare species of birds, beetles, bats, deer herds and wildflowers.
There are about 650 wild deer within Richmond Park. Although historically the park was created for deer hunting by Charles I in the 17th century, these days the deer are mostly home across the pond, wandering delightfully in their natural surroundings.
Richmond Park London makes a perfect day out for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. You could try power kiting, horse riding, golf or off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail.
Good to Know Information about Richmond Park
Open: Typically open 24 hours except November to early December and February to early March, when pedestrian gates are open at 7:30 A.M. and closes at 8:00 P.M.
Where: Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS
How to get to Richmond Park London:
The nearest Tube/Train station is Richmond Station, served by National Rail or District Line. From the station, take bus #371 or #67 to the pedestrian gate at Petersham.
9 | St Dunstan in the East London
An unusual but a beautiful park set amongst ruins of war, St Dunstan in the East offers a world away from the hustle and bustle of London city life.
Tucked away on a quiet street between Tower Hill and Monument, is the ruins of an old Gothic church that has a rich history. Often referred to as ‘London’s Secret Garden’, plants are allowed to reclaim their rightful place among the ruins, giving St Dunstan in the East a special, natural and quirky feel.
St Dunstan in the East is truly a charming little space where tranquility is experienced at any given time.
Good to Know Information
Open: 8:00 A.M to 7:00 P.M
Where: St Dunstan in the East
St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD
Getting to St Dunstan in the East:
Nearest Stations are: Monument, Bank, Fenchurch Street and Tower Hill
Holland Park spans 54 acres and is the largest park in the affluent Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There are plenty of things to do here including tennis, football, cricket and netball along with health walks which are regularly scheduled here.
Holland Park is famously known for its dahlias. The Holland House Garden has proudly grown dahlias year by year ever since these beautiful flowers were first successfully grown in England (1814).
There is yet another reason to visit Holland Park — an oasis of calm offered by the uniquely landscaped Japanese style Kyoto Garden, perfect for quiet reflection and relaxation. Tiered waterfalls, stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees, a pond full of beautiful koi carp. There are also a couple of peacocks wandering around. It is hard to imagine that you are in London when visiting Kyoto Garden, the zen here is incredible.
Good to Know Information about Holland Park London | Famous parks in London
Open: 7:30 A.M to 8:00 P.M. (or closes half an hour before dusk in winter)
Where: Holland Park,
Ilchester Pl, London, W8 6LU
How to get to Holland Park:
Nearest Stations are Holland Park, Kensington High Street, and Nottinghill Gate.
11 | Greenwich Park London
A much loved park by Londoners, Greenwich Park is one of the oldest in London and has a rich history. Established in the 15th century, Greenwich Park offers many things to do in and around the park or secluded spots if you wish to steal moments to yourself to bathe in the serenity of the gentle breeze and calmness.
Enjoy panoramic views over the Docklands and the City of London from atop Greenwich Hill. The views are absolutely spectacular at any time of day.
Hampstead Heath is London’s beloved green space. Situated a little out of central London, Hampstead Heath offers green spaces with best views and highest points including Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park, a lido that is open 365 days, swimming pond, sports facilities, playground along with an extraordinary pergola and hill garden. Added to stunning vistas are the natural habitat of the expansive grassland and ancient woodland.
1 | The Ceremonial Event of the “Changing of Guard”
The dazzling Changing of Guard is a much cherished tradition of the British monarchy. It is the time of day where the time honoured tradition of the Queen’s Household Cavalry change their shifts, when the palace guards are replaced by the next team of guards. This ceremonial event takes place at 11:00 A.M. and is free to watch.
It is a popular event for tourists and there are crowd control measures in place for safety.
There is no single spot for best views because the ceremony spans three locations — Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and Wellington Barracks. Hence, it is impossible to view the entire Guard Mount.
The following information will support your planning to experience the Changing of Guard.
How to experience the Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace:
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place at 11:00 A.M. on the following days:
August to May — Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays;
June and July — Daily
The timings to guide your visit:
>10:43 Old Guard leaves St James’s Palace;
>10:57 New Guard leaves Wellington Barrack;
11:00 Official Start Time
>11:10 St James’s Palace relief leaves Buckingham Palace;
>11:25 Relieved sentries leave St James’s Palace;
>11:40 Old Guard leaves Buckingham Palace;
>11:45 St James’s Palace Guard leaves Buckingham Palace.
Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:
You may not need to join a guided tour to witness the Changing of Guard but as the highly popular event of Changing of Guard takes places along three different locations, we suggest the following three activities if you wish to end up at the right place at the right time, for best views and not much is missed. Select any to best suit your itinerary:
3 | Get closer to the dazzling action with a guide where you can follow the guards journey to Buckingham Palace on foot —Changing of the Guard Tour.
2 | The Iconic London Eye
Along the River Thames in Southbank neighbourhood stands the iconic London Eye, one of the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheels at 135 metres (443 ft). Famously known also as the Millennium Wheel, it is the most popular paid tourist attraction with almost 4 million visitors a year.
The ride on the Eye takes about 30 minutes, with captivating views of London’s skyline such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London. On a clear day, you may get to see as far as 40 kilometres!
Good to know Information on the London Eye for your famous parks in London itinerary:
Where: The London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB
Open: From 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Nearest Tube Station:
Waterloo, Charing Cross, Embankment and Westminster.
Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips to Experience London:
RELATED ATTRACTIONS IN LONDONWHILE ENJOYING THE FAMOUS PARKS IN LONDON
London has so many things to do that picking the best to do is pretty tough! However, if you are in town, enjoying the famous parks in London, there are some landmarks that are truly unmissable because these iconic sites are the roots to London as it is today. Here are two that may make a great start to your adventure in London:
1 | The Oldest Gothic Cathedral in London
Visit the oldest Gothic cathedral in London — Southwark Cathedral first established in 606 AD. While here, enjoy the cultural fusion of gastronomy at Borough Market, located at its doorstep!
2 | Tower of London
Tower of London — the most famous fortress in the United Kingdom and where the story of London began with William the Conqueror in 1066. Unveil the secrets, tragedies, torture, conspiracies, unsolved murders that took place in the Tower during the centuries along with centuries old traditions still practised today.
I sincerely hope that this article about the famous parks in London along with the recommendations for your itinerary in London is helpful for your London visit. If so, please use the links to book your activities, visits and accommodations. We earn a commission from qualified purchases and stay at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support.