Garden grandeur: Your guide to Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

Hampstead provides the perfect backdrop for a day out with its alluring mix of boutique shops, trendy coffee spots, and the natural splendour of Hampstead Heath. However, the true star, often overlooked, is the captivating Hampstead Pergola. 

Beyond offering breathtaking views of the Heath and Hampstead Hill Gardens, it stands as a splendid invitation for a leisurely wander.

So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets and stories behind Hampstead Pergola Hill Garden – a haven that beckons you to explore its hidden wonders.

A brief history of Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

A brief history of Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden is a charming retreat in Hampstead Heath, designed by architect Thomas Mawson in the early 20th century. Originally part of Hill House, a 19th-century villa, it underwent a grand expansion by Sir William Lever, also known as Viscount Leverhulme. 

Leverhulme was recognised as a formidable figure in the soap industry, notably with Sunlight Soap, and undertook an ambitious extension of Hill House. His success in the soap business paved the way for co-founding Unilever, a global household name.

Against this backdrop of industrial success and aristocratic grandeur emerged Mawson’s masterpiece, the Pergola. Its intricate design, characterised by classical columns intertwined with climbing plants, speaks volumes about the luxury and aesthetic sensibilities of the time. 

The reason behind the construction of  Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

The reason behind the construction of  Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

When Hampstead Pergola’s construction began in 1905, architect Thomas Mawson encountered a monumental challenge – the need for more construction materials. So, Mawson sealed a deal that spared him the hassle and expense of transporting materials across the city.

Here’s where the narrative takes an intriguing turn: the terraces of the Pergola weren’t fashioned from traditional construction materials. Instead, Mawson, ever the resourceful designer, used soil reclaimed during the expansion of the Northern Line. 

Yes, you heard it right – the soil beneath London became the building blocks for this botanical marvel. This ingenious repurposing not only saved time in construction but also proved to be a cost-effective solution, much to the benefit of Lord Viscount Leverhulme’s pocket.

The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden today 

The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden today 

Today, the Hill Garden and Pergola stand as a timeless sanctuary within the heart of Hampstead, offering visitors a serene escape from the bustle of city life.

The terraced wonders, crafted from soil repurposed during the expansion of the Northern Line, provide a unique and picturesque backdrop. As you wander through the terraces, you can trace the echoes of London’s underground past beneath your feet.

Hampstead locals frequent this hidden gem, seeking solace in the garden’s tranquillity or strolling along the pergola’s pathways. The site has become a favoured spot for weddings, photography enthusiasts, and those searching for a peaceful retreat.

Best time to go to Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

Best time to go to Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

The best time to visit Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden is during the weekdays or early mornings on weekends to embrace a serene and less crowded experience. Weekdays typically offer a quieter ambience, allowing you to enjoy the tranquillity of the garden.

If you’re a morning person, consider starting your visit early on weekends. This provides a peaceful atmosphere and allows you to relish the garden’s beauty in the soft morning light.

Additionally, consider visiting during the spring or autumn for a different and captivating experience. Spring brings vibrant blooms, while autumn paints the landscape with warm and rich colours, creating a picturesque setting.

Tips for visiting Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden

Timing is key

Timing is key

Plan your visit during weekdays or early mornings on weekends to avoid crowds. This allows you to savour the garden’s tranquillity and fully appreciate the architectural details without the hustle and bustle.

Seasonal sensibility

Seasonal sensibility

Each season brings a unique charm to the garden. Spring showcases vibrant blooms, while autumn adds a warm palette of colours. Tailor your visit based on your preferred scenery, but be prepared for varying levels of greenery and floral fantasies.

Wear comfortable footwear

Wear comfortable footwear

​​The garden features winding pathways and terraced landscapes. Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking and exploring different elevations. This ensures you can navigate the terrain comfortably and fully enjoy the scenic wonders.

Explore beyond the Pergola

Explore beyond the Pergola

While the Pergola is a highlight, don’t forget to explore the broader Hill Garden. Serene corners, hidden nooks, and additional viewpoints await, providing a more comprehensive experience of this picturesque retreat.

Be mindful when taking pictures

Be mindful when taking pictures

Capture the beauty of Hampstead Pergola but do so mindfully. Respect the privacy of events or weddings taking place and be considerate of other visitors. Remember, the garden’s natural and historical elements make for stunning photographs – let its charm shine through instead of forcing scenes on it.

Places to eat near Pergola Hill Garden

Gaucho Hampstead

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Location: 64 Heath St, London NW3 1DN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7431 8222

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

Gaucho Hampstead specialises in Argentine cuisine, offering a diverse selection of premium meats expertly grilled to perfection. 

From succulent steaks to flavorful seafood dishes, Gaucho Hampstead’s menu reflects a commitment to quality ingredients and culinary expertise that caters to the discerning tastes of its patrons.

One of Gaucho Hampstead’s standout offerings is “The Gaucho Experience”. This experience often includes their renowned steaks, ensuring a memorable and satisfying meal.

Delicatessen

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Location: 46 Rosslyn Hill, London NW3 1NH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7700 5511

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Website

Though small in size with just a dozen tables, Delicatessen punches above its weight when it comes to excellence. The mastermind behind the menu is Chef Marguerite, who honed her skills in the kitchens of upscale Brussels restos before bringing her immense talent to our city.  

One standout that has remained a fixture on the menu since Delicatessen’s opening is the rotisserie chicken with spring vegetable medley. Marguerite expertly brines juicy chickens before roasting them to absolute perfection so that the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and full of flavour. 

Old Bull & Bush Hampstead

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Location: N End Way, London NW3 7HE, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8905 5456

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Website

A mainstay of the Hampstead neighbourhood since the early 1900s, the Old Bull & Bush has long established itself as something of an institution. 

Behind the ivy-covered brick facade lies a labyrinth of dining rooms, snugs, and bars spread across three floors. It’s where patrons eagerly tuck into British classics like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and their signature Scotch eggs.

While the food hits all the right comforting notes, the Old Bull & Bush also takes pride in its carefully curated beer list spotlighting local London microbrews on tap as well as one of the most extensive collections of bottled beers in the UK. 

Wagamama

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Location:58-62 Heath St, London NW3 1EN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7433 0366

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Website

Wagamama’s transparent kitchen immerses diners in the action, providing a glimpse of their noodles being vigorously hand-pulled and transforming into steaming, slurp-worthy dishes in practically no time. 

Their innovative Pan-Asian fare is meant to be shared family style, making it a great option for groups meeting up after going their separate ways in the gardens earlier.

A long-time favourite for regulars is the ginger chicken udon. Tender, sliced chicken and bright vegetables like bok choy and red onion mingle in Wagamama’s thick, wheat flour noodles and warming ginger-infused broth.

Dim T

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Location: 3 Heath St, London NW3 6TP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7435 0024

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Website

The brilliance at Dim T shines through in their delicate dumplings, filled with ingredients like plump shrimp, Chinese chives and pork before being folded into an array of shapes and steamed to order. 

Their xiao long bao soup dumplings, in particular, have developed a cult following in the neighbourhood. The thin skins give way to a gushing burst of savoury broth inside that balances beautifully with the gentle ginger and garlic notes infused in the meat filling.

Dar’s of Hampstead

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Location: 2 Elm Ter, London NW3 2LL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7482 1029

Pricing: £

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Website

The menu at Dar’s brims with rich stews, flavour-packed grilled meats and the Central Asian nation’s famous rice dishes. It’s kept people returning for nearly 35 years.

Topping the list is the barg kebab, succulent seasoned lamb fillet served to sizzle your table on a bed of buttery saffron rice with a side of addictively refreshing yoghurt dip. 

Frequently asked questions

When did Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden become open to the public?


The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden became open to the public in 1960. Before that, the site was a private garden, but it was eventually opened to allow public access and enjoyment.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden?


No, there is no entrance fee to visit Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden. The attractions are free to enter for all visitors.

What are the opening hours of Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden?


Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden are open from 8:30 AM to dusk throughout the year. The exact closing time varies depending on the time of year, but it is typically around 6:00 PM in the summer and 4:00 PM in the winter.

Can I bring my pets to Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden?


Yes, you are allowed to bring your well-behaved dog to Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden. However, your dog must be kept on a leash at all times, you must clean up after your dog and you are not allowed to take your dog into any of the buildings on the property.

Can I bring my food and beverages?


Yes, you are allowed to bring your food and beverages into Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden. However, there are a few guidelines like not bringing barbecues or fires and you must dispose of your waste properly.

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