Walks with views: Parliament Hill Fields to Primrose Hill

A top-to-top pub crawl sampling the best views in London

The view from Primrose Hill The view from Primrose Hill - © Duncan McKenzie

By Marcus Webb

Parliament Hill

When I was last atop Parliament Hill (S) I encountered kite-flyers, a couple having sex and a man in a kilt on his way, impressively, to a ‘Jimi Hendrix gig’. I can’t promise you the same, but what is guaranteed is one of those iconic views capable of reviving even the most jaded Londoner’s love affair with their city. But drink in those landmarks, tower blocks and, erm, sports fields – because chances are that by the time we reach our final vantage point, you won’t be seeing quite so clearly...

The Garden Gate pub

The first stop on our top-to-top pub crawl is a mere stumble down the hill. Walk into the view, taking the steep path ahead, before heading right along the tree-lined track; a quick right and left will bring you to the top of Parliament Hill Road and into suburbia. Carry on past the station, take a left over the tracks, and The Garden Gate (1) is on your left. A pint of one of the ever-changing ales (London Pride is the only constant on the four taps) and it’s on we go.

The Roebuck pub

Take a left outside The Gate and continue down the hill to the crossing. Turn right on to Pond Street. Haul yourself up the hill and pintstop number two, The Roebuck (2), is on the right should you need a bite or two to sustain you. Stylish and airy, this is the antithesis of the nearby Royal Free Hospital. The food is good; the people behind Clerkenwell’s Eagle run the place.

The Sir Richard Steele pub

There’s more crawl than pub for the next leg. Cross the road and take the Hampstead Green cut through on to Haverstock Hill. There’s The George on the left, if you’re desperate, but better to hold your thirst for The Sir Richard Steele (3) ten minutes further down the hill on your right. The SRS is a charmingly battered boozer with sloshed Sistine Chapel-esque friezes. Real ales are on tap and the beer garden will keep the smokers happy.

The Washington pub

On leaving The Richard, double-back on yourself and walk up Haverstock Hill. Take a left up England’s Lane, and our final pre-Primrose pub awaits 500 feet ahead on the right. The Washington (4) is the Swiss Army Knife of public houses. It has everything you need – quiz nights, a wine club and a comedy night. But don’t get distracted and miss out on the last leg of the walk.

Primrose Hill

Leave the pub and walk along Primrose Hill Road. Cross Adelaide Road, walk on over the railway tracks and that most middle class of mounds will hove into sight ahead: Primrose Hill (E). If the final push doesn’t finish you off, the view just might. No matter how many times you’ve tiptoed through the tourists, the outlook is still capable of taking your breath away.