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The View From Primrose Hill

A photo of the view from Primrose Hill

Like any avid reader, I tend to notice when places, situations, and brands, are mentioned in books constantly over a certain period of time.

You may know that prior to my blogging days, during that in-between era of my life where I was reading two books a year, I looked to chick-lit to further brighten sunny days. For me, my foray into chick-lit was a defining moment of my life, as it heralded my transition from the Young Adult fiction I desperately wanted to keep a hold of, to the more adult fiction I knew I should try (adult fiction covers were often boring at that time).

A lot of the chick-lit authors I read reside in London, and set their books in London. And because many of the characters, at least a few years ago, had quite a bit of money, they themselves resided in the more affluent areas. Inevitably in reading chick-lit set in London you are introduced to areas that tourists may not be aware of.

I believe it was Freya North who first introduced me to Primrose Hill. There is at least one character from her novels who spends time there. Likely Lisa Jewell, with her tales of nearby Belsize Park has used it also, though it has been a while since I’ve read her work. This long, in fact. Whoever and whichever, the hill has been mentioned enough over a period of time that I found myself wanting to see it for myself, to see what the fuss was about – especially since the descriptions in the books, to someone who does not know of the hill, do not really suggest why it should be highlighted. Indeed until I actually got there last year I assumed it was just your average hill, high (higher than it turned out to be) with some shady trees.

I think my photograph says it all. From the top of the hill almost the entirely of London (baring what’s behind you) is at your fingertips. You can play I Spy quite easily up there, and even work out the best route to take to minimise travelling times. Even on a cold day the hill is bursting with people and to top it off, pun not intended, there is even a quotation from William Blake.

I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.

If it were not for chick-lit and Freya North I likely would never had encountered Primrose Hill, or at least not for a long time in the future. Being there is like watching London from afar – I expect it is the same as Central Park in New York, you don’t feel as though you’re in a big city at all. The sun shines on you throughout the day and the mood is ever hopeful and inspiring. People just sit and look, relax, and time stands still.


vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

June 14, 2013, 12:58 pm

When I was a poor student, I was lucky enough to flat-sit for a friend who lived on a road that fronted Primrose Hill. I had known of the location from War of the Worlds, so was very excited by its literary connotations. (Almost as excited as not having to pay for accommodation in London!)


June 14, 2013, 2:29 pm

Lovely! Oh how I would love to live where you do :)

Andrew Blackman

June 14, 2013, 7:56 pm

Good for chick lit! Primrose Hill is a beautiful spot. I used to go there a lot, and just read the afternoon away…

Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews

June 15, 2013, 4:40 am

I’ve never had the pleasure of travelling to London but that look so serene… Thank you Charlie for taking me back to that wonderful scene in David Nicholl’s ‘One Day’.


June 15, 2013, 12:44 pm

What a lovely view, and lovely post, to consider a book and author and location in a time of your own life.


June 15, 2013, 5:36 pm

Thank you for sharing this lovely photo. I am always so surprised by all the parks in London because you can’t tell your in a city when you’re in them!



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