Seeing all the travel pictures from people all over Instagram, gives me itchy feet and makes me want to book a trip as soon as possible. Sadly, it still looks like I’m not going anywhere for a few more weeks. However, for us poor unfortunate souls who are still trapped in our offices, and desperate for some sunlight, London has some beautiful hidden treasures to offer for your city staycation.
For example, last week Sunday, I went to the Hill Garden in Hampstead Heath with my friend and fellow blogger Dominika. I already posted a little sneak preview in my previous post, but simply hadn’t found the time to write a full one yet. Also it was hard to put into words how I felt walking there, as it is one of the most magical, beautiful places I have ever seen and I felt like, whatever I wrote, simply didn’t give it enough credit.
Hampstead, in the North of London, generally is the perfect place for a Sunday morning. Of course there are the beautiful green fields of Hampstead Heath where you can spend hours of walking, while taking in the city skylines from Parliament Hill. But also there are the adorable shops and cafes in the borough itself. The pace overall seems to be a little slower than that of the rest of the city, which makes it a perfect place for Sunday brunch.
Hidden somewhere in the green fields of Hampstead Heath, there is a magnificent looking run down pergola terrace known as the Hill Gardens.
The pergola and Hill Garden was built in 1904 for the late Lord Leverhulme, a philantropist and soap manufacturer – who owned the house on Hampstead Heath known as ‘The Hill’.
It was built in the contemporary Georgian architecture, with its characteristic columns, which gives it a magnificent classical feeling. When walking through the column rows of the pergola, you can completely imagine yourself in Rome instead of North London.
Sadly, after Lord Leverhulme passed away in 1925, the garden was no longer looked after and slowly went went into a decline. Overgrown with plants and flowers, it nowadays still breathes the feeling of faded grandeur.
However, I think it is exactly this atmosphere that contributes to its beauty. The whimsical way in which nature has taken over, feels really dreamy and magical, in a 19th century Romanticist way.
The whole terrace feels like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, and I felt like one of the ladies from John William Waterhouse’s paintings throughout the whole of my morning stroll.
Or like a character from a fairytale.
Although I can’t exactly pinpoint which fairytale. Cinderella perhaps?
Or Alice in Wonderland?
I don’t know. As I said, I have been struggling to put into words the exact feeling of this place, so I’ll let you decide what fairytale I resemble.
The dreamy escapism of my Sunday morning staycation continues while descending the staircase of the pergola terrace, and entering the into the garden.
The garden actually has fruit trees. Fresh apples, anyone?
Just kidding, they weren’t ripe yet.
Apart from that there’s also beautiful flowers and other plants, and it feels like a vineyard in Tuscany to me.
A think a walk in this garden feels like a holiday in itself, to a far away land or even a fantasy world.
After your long walk, it is time for a well earned Sunday breakfast! A lovely small cafe we discovered on our way back is amusingly named London’s Latest Scandal on Heath Street.
It is a really small a little French deli and bakery, which sells delicious croissants!
The perfect treat after a long walk and before going back on a long train journey – or even worse, a rail replacement bus.
You can find the Hill Garden and pergola here :