I keep forgetting how pretty Primrose Hill is. Walking across the bridge from the Chalk Farm tube station, I notice the colorful accents on the houses, a smattering of sweet boutiques, and streets full of independent restaurants, cafes, and pubs. This part of London is a little slice of village loveliness.
I’m up in Primrose Hill today because of the new Saturday farmers’ market. It launched less than a month ago, and even though I didn’t need another reason to visit this London neighborhood I’m happy it gives me one.
The market is colorful and bright, with all the fresh produce fit for the area’s impossibly attractive residents—I keep an eye out for everyone from Jamie Oliver to Suki Waterhouse while I’m here.
Beyond the market, there’s a lot to explore in Primrose Hill. Despite its diminutive size, the area between funky Camden and residential Belsize Park has charm and character everywhere.
The restaurants, for example. From staples like vegetarian Manna to hotly-anticipated newcomers like Clare’s Cornish Kitchen and bistros like L’Absinthe, there are unique offerings all over the neighborhood. Odette’s is famous for Bryn Williams’ Modern European cuisine, and Negozio Classica always warms me up with its hearty Italian dishes.
And I haven’t even mentioned the cafes in Primrose Hill. Primrose Bakery serves lovely cakes and sweet treats while The Little One lives up to its name as it doles out coffee and crepes from a tiny counter. Chloe’s Espresso on the bridge to the Chalk Farm tube station isn’t much larger, but exudes plenty of charm with its teacup-shaped chalk board and small outdoor tables.
Then come the pubs. The Engineer is one of the best pubs in Primrose Hill, not least because of its leafy garden. The best food can be found at The Lansdowne, and the Princess of Wales is a great place to catch up over a pint with friends.
Interspersed among them are pink and purple houses and long rows of white columns punctuated by bright red and blue doors. It’s like Notting Hill, only without the tourist crowds.
Walking up to the high street, I pass through Chalcot Square, where Sylvia Plath once lived. The square’s sunny gardens are filled with children in the most expensive clothes I’ve ever seen, their fashionable parents hovering over them to avoid dirtying the Baby Dior.
Up on Regent’s Park Road, the main commercial street in Primrose Hill, the pavement is lined with shops on both sides. From the outdoor tables at Ripe Kitchen to florists overflowing into the street with leaves and buds, there’s something to provoke sensory overload everywhere I look.
And it’s no wonder. Chi chi boutiques vie with high-end wine shops to lure the neighborhood’s wealthy residents. But the most beloved shop on the high street is Primrose Hill Books, a more subdued shop that I’ve visited more times than any other place on Regent’s Park Road.
Nearby, the fresh produce outside the greengrocers beckons with its ripe strawberries and leafy greens, and the outdoor cheese and salumi counter at Shepherd Foods makes me wonder if it’s social acceptable to walk down the street eating a charcuterie board (it’s not).
Even if I wanted to, I might have a hard time doing so while walking up Primrose Hill. An extension of Regent’s Park, the grassy slope offers increasingly good views of the London skyline the higher I climb. At the top I’m rewarded with panoramas of the city in what is the loveliest part of one of the prettiest neighborhoods in London. I need to stop forgetting how much I love this place.