Tuesday 24th May – 20th meeting of 2016
A usual meeting at Charing Cross and then underground to Hampstead for today’s destination. When we came out of the station we decided to go the High Street for our coffee and chat. This being our first meeting since our Belfast jaunt there was a lot to talk about. Hampstead is an affluent part of London and a pleasant area to be in. Busy but has a country feel to it.
Our walk of about 20 minutes to discover Hill Garden was very nice as it was a warm sunny day. The garden itself was tucked away behind Hill House which is now a private residence. Once in the garden, which is owned by City of London you get a very tranquil feeling. It covers a very large area and has all manner of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers throughout but the main feature is the pergola. This seems to go on and on and really lovely to see. The gardeners in our group were in their element naming all the plants and discussing their experiencing growing them in their own garden. The wisteria plants of which there were many in white and lilac were beautiful. I myself am not a gardener but I do very much appreciate looking at different gardens and this one was superb. We had a seat in the pergola and relaxed for a while in the sun.
Lord Leverhulme bought Hill House and grounds in 1904 and started on building the pergola and redesigning the garden. By 1906 the first stage was completed. He purchased more land and carried on extending the pergola until it was completed in 1925 just before his death. It then fell into disrepair until it became the property of City of London when they acquired Hampstead Heath. Restoration is on going but the whole place has a lot of charm and intrigue and is a really pleasant place to be. A hidden gem of London well worth a visit.
We had a slow walk back to Hampstead underground station and our trains home after a pleasant and fascinating morning.