Follow us to one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in London and discover why Kate Moss or Jude Law have chosen to live there.
Both exuberant and peaceful, Primrose Hill is not just the village, the neighbourhood with the Victorian façades that either bask in their red brick or have been painted blue, yellow or pink. Some belong or have belonged to celebrities such as Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morrissey or Jude Law.
Primrose Hill is also a park that is home to secular trees that withstand wintry afternoon gales to then proudly display their leaves and long branches in the warm summer sun. Every day, parents, children and their pets stroll along these hectares of impeccably kept lawns. During their lunch break, office workers from nearby buildings and businesses prolong their meal. A pasta salad, toasted panini or simply a sandwich – which, if brought from home, is always, but always packed in a lunchbox, in the good old English way.
The view extends as far as the eye can see. And without needing to climb treetops, from the top of the park, at 63 metres above sea level, I can make out Canary Wharf where bankers struggle to keep up with the fast-paced financial markets. In the centre stands the work of Englishman Norman Foster, the imposing Gherkin building. Further to the right, there’s the iconic London Eye, where tourists patiently wait to see it go round, as well as to get on it.
While my eyes wander across the horizon, I set off on an inner journey filled with the tastes, colours and smells of this neighbourhood. On this journey I come across works of fiction from a bookshop that has withstood the onslaught of the digital world for 30 years – silently, as in any place where literature is in command. There is also the smell of vodka from that Russian restaurant, and even the intense freshness of the fish at the fishmonger’s.
Everything in Primrose Hill is more – more beautiful, more peaceful and, almost everything, is more attractive, such as Regent’s Canal or the London Zoo, which is less than 10 minutes away. The story goes that the name Primrose Hill was used for the first time in the 15th century because of the flowers that grew here. However, it hasn’t always had a flowery past, as in the 18th and 19th centuries it became a favourite place for army training and deadly duels. More recently, though, it has been the location for several films such as The Fourth Protocol, starring Pierce Brosnan, and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
by Jorge Duarte Estêvão