This post provides information about things to see and do on Primrose Hill in London.
We’ll also include details about the history of this location, how to get there and nearby attractions.
- What is Primrose Hill
- How to Get Here
- Highlights of the Area
- Things to Do in Primrose Hill
- Things to Do Nearby
- Best London Parks and Gardens
What is Primrose Hill?
For a long time, this area of London was largely undeveloped land with trees and wildlife, and it was even used as hunting grounds by notable monarchs in England.
Some say this area was named after its origins, as there were apparently a lot of primroses naturally growing here.
Of course, that name might not be as fitting today, as there aren’t as many primroses anymore.
Alternatively, it’s also possible that Primrose Hill was named after Archibald Primrose, the 5th Earl of Rosebery.
Just as this part of London remained unchanged and undeveloped for many years before businesses and homes were built around the area, it has also kept much of its original charm from the 19th and 20th century.
If you want to get a sense for what London was like before modern times, a lot of the original architecture on Primrose Hill remains intact, which makes it feel like you’re walking back in time.
It’s thanks to this and other elements of the neighbourhood that this is a very desirable place to live.
As a matter of fact, a lot of celebrities live in this part of London, and you might even see a few as you walk around!
How to Get to Primrose Hill
This neighbourhood is located just north of Regent’s Park and the London Zoo. You can get here by car, tube, train, or bus.
The nearest tube station is Chalk Farm, which is roughly 8 minutes away from Primrose Hill. Alternatively, you can take the bus here using routes 1, 13, 18, 27, 30, 31, 74, 82, 113, 139, 159, 189, 274, C11 and C2.
Although you can take the train, the nearest National Rail train station is in Kentish Town, which is a 21 minute walk from this part of the city.
If you’re going to be following our Little Venice to Camden walking tour, you might want to consider visiting Primrose Hill afterward, as it’s just a short 10 minute walk from the location where that tour ends.
Highlights of Primrose Hill
Aside from all the great architecture in the neighbourhood, Primrose Hill itself has a lot of interesting sights to see - and it’s a great place to see other landmarks in London.
There are 6 different viewpoints which are around 60 metres above sea level, and the trees on this hill are kept low enough to ensure your view will be relatively unobstructed.
Truth be told, this is one of the best places to get a look at the city skyline of London, and it’s entirely free!
Aside from that, you’ll also find Shakespeare’s Tree at the summit of Primrose Hill.
This tree was planted in 1864 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and re-planted in 1964 for the 400th anniversary.
A lot of people come here to see if they can’t catch a glimpse of some celebrities who live in the area, but you might also want to check out some of the houses where famous people once lived.
Each of the following locations is marked with a blue English Heritage plaque to denote its historical importance:
- Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughs | 3 Chalcot Square and 23 Fitzroy Road
- Friedrich Engels | 22 Regent’s Park Road
- Roger Fenton | 2 Albert Terrace
- William Butler Yeats | 23 Fitzroy Road
- Dylan Thomas | 54 Delancey Street
For more highlights, make sure to watch our virtual tour of Primrose Hill (link above).
Things to Do in Primrose Hill
1. Have a Picnic With a View
Primrose Hill has stunning views over the city and is an excellent place for a picnic.
With local shops and supermarkets near by, it's easy to pick yourself up some tasty treats to enjoy on the hill.
While you're there, you'll soak up the amazing view of London below.
2. Enjoy the Fireworks
This will depend on what time of year you visit, of course! T
here are two days in the calendar when London plays host to a series of firework displays: Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night and New Year's Eve.
There are displays all over the capital for both holidays, so you are really spoiled for choice when deciding where to view.
Primrose Hill has the advantage of overlooking the site of multiple displays so you get a varied view.
Thousands of people clamour to be in the centre of town which makes Primrose Hill the preferred choice for locals and those with kids.
Come early to snap up a spot!
3. Buy a Book in an Independent Shop
Primrose Hill Books is a charming independent book store with rows and rows of books just waiting for you to find.
Here for more than 30 years, the family-owned shop is a true north London treasure and definitely one worth visiting.
4. Enjoy a Snack and a Coffee at a Cosy Cafe
Primrose Hill is full of charming little cafe's - many of which have outdoor seating on the charming neighbourhood streets throughout the area.
5. Visit a Classic London Pub
Primrose Hill has its' fair share of trendy and modern restaurants - but there are some classic local pubs to uncover as well.
6. Dine on a Floating Restaurant
This is one almost all Londoners know: A floating Chinese restaurant.
Floating on Regent's Canal at the bottom of Primrose Hill, Feng Shang Princess serves up delicious Chinese food, as well as delicious cocktails, on board a huge multi-level boat.
The lights at night give the boat a magical quality and is a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Things to Do Nearby
One of the nice things about Primrose Hill is that it’s very close to a lot of fun attractions and activities in London.
This section will cover some of the best places to visit while you’re in the area.
1. Visit Camden Town
Known mostly for its shopping, this neighbourhood is also a great place to grab a drink at one of the local pubs.
You can also find a lot of excellent live music at the Electric Ballroom, the Jazz Cafe, or the Blues Kitchen.
This is also where you’ll find the Jewish Museum of London and St. Martin’s Gardens, so there’s plenty to see and do.
2. Shop at Camden Market
If you can’t get enough shopping in Camden Town, the market is a nice place to stop in and find various bric-a-brac and items you might not see at higher end establishments.
This is also home to some of the best food stalls in all of London, so if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, you’ll definitely want to take a break here.
3. Stroll Along Regent’s Canal
This lovely canal runs right alongside Regent’s Park and up past Little Venice, making it a great place to take a walk and enjoy some of the greenery.
We have a post on things to see along Regent's Canal or just watch the video below.
There are also a lot of interesting sights to see along the way, and you can learn more about them by watching our virtual tour of Regent’s Canal.
4. Explore London Zoo
If you’re visiting with children, a trip to the London Zoo is definitely in order.
Historic for being the oldest scientific zoo in the entire world, there are over 20,000 animals currently housed within its walls.
5. Walk Through a Royal Park
Formerly part of the hunting grounds used by English monarchs, this park is now one of the most beautiful areas of London.
There are many things to see and do in Regent's Park.
In addition to the park itself, there are multiple beautiful and historic villas built in this part of town.
We cover these villas in greater detail during our virtual walking tour from Little Venice to Camden.
6. Walk in the Footsteps of the Fab Four
Fans of the Beatles will be quite familiar with this historic zebra crossing which graced the cover of their classic album Abbey Road.
Although it’s definitely worth coming here at least once, we recommend being careful around the actual crosswalk, because it’s an active road.