Primrose Hill Area Guide

We're not too sure whether the area is most famous for its amazing hilltop views across London or for its long list of past and present residents, which reads like a who's who of popular culture. What we do know is that Primrose Hill is one of the capital's most exclusive 'urban villages', with a close-knit community vibe driven by the cluster of independent stores, family-run businesses and one-off boutiques. It's less 'leftfield' that Camden Town but more relaxed that Regent's Park, attracting creative types who work in the media, arts and music. Primrose Hill estate agents will all attest to the area's eternal popularity - holding waiting lists of buyers for the pretty Regency townhouses, early Victorian terraces and one-off architecturally-designed gems.

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Primrose Hill History

Primrose Hill has always had a reputation for wild animals but travelling back to the 17th century, it was more about stags, boars and deer rather than Jude Law, Ewan McGregor and Rhys Ifans. The area was heavily wooded and part of Henry VIII's hunting ground. Surprisingly, Primrose Hill was only opened to the public in 1842. Primrose Hill's name comes from more recent history, when the trees were cleared and meadowland took over, with the area a carpet of primrose yellow. The area's creative, bohemian vibe far outdates the current crop of celebrities who have chosen NW1 as their home. Philosopher Friedrich Engels, historian A J P Taylor and poets Sylvia Plath and W B Yeats all set up shop in Primrose Hill, delighting in the village atmosphere.

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Bars and restaurants

NW1's café culture draws in locals and tourists determined to be part of the Primrose Hill 'set' and those with a sweet tooth are spoilt for choice, with the Primrose Bakery, Lola's Cupcakes and Sweet Things whipping up cakey treats daily. Primrose Hill's pubs are at the upper end of the scale and usually serve gastro grub with a nod to fine dining - The Engineer, The Queens and The Lansdowne lead the pack. For fine dining without the draught beers, locals head to Negoxia Classica (Italian), L'Absynthe (French), eponymous Michael Nadra and Odette's. We also have to mention Lemonia - a Greek establishment that's been serving the neighbourhood for over 30 years.

Commuting from Primrose Hill

Although Primrose Hill doesn't have its own Tube station, both Swiss Cottage and St John's Wood are a short stroll away (0.4 and 0.5 miles away, respectively). The closest mainline station is South Hampstead, also accessible on foot. Drivers can take the A41 Finchley Road, that quickly leads to the North Circular, the A1 and the M1.

Primrose Hill Leisure

It's all about the open spaces in Primrose Hill, and residents take every opportunity to climb the hill and take in the fresh air and stunning panoramas. When people can bear to tear themselves away from the view, they often head to neighbouring Regent's Park on foot, where The Hub - London's largest outdoor sporting facility - hosts a wide range of sporting activities and classes, ranging from tennis to touch rugby. In Primrose Hill itself, yoga devotees head to Triyoga, where they are reputed to roll out their mats next to Kate Moss and Sadie Frost. For a dose of culture, visit The Museum of Everything on the corner of Regent's Park Road and Sharpleshall Street - a centre for undiscovered and unintentional art.

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Property for sale in Primrose Hill

There's never a shortage of buyers for property for sale in Primrose Hill as the neighbourhood isn't that big and there is limited housing stock. The most recognisable properties are those on Chalcot Square - where the pretty pastel-washed façades have featured in many films and photo shoots. Those looking for space spread out over several floors turn to Primrose Hill's magnificent townhouses - many of which have come full circle after being carved up into flats in the 1980s and 1990s. Home movers prepared to wait might be lucky enough to find a John Nash-designed stucco-fronted Regency townhouse, a few of which crept over the border from Regent's Park. Despite Primrose Hill's overall appeal, there are pockets of exceptional desirability, which include the Elsworthy Road conservation area, Regent's Park Road, King Henry's Road, Oppidans Road, Prince Albert Road, Wadham Gardens and Gloucester Avenue.

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