The Pergola and Hill Gardens in Summer

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Originally posted 29 September 2017

Dear Lovelies

How are you? I do hope you are well. My intention had been to pop back here last week with the first of my new Finding Urban Beauty series posts (see this post for more), but I had a bit of a ‘foggy’ week. My mind was on my lovely Dad who would have turned 80 on the 20th September. He is often in my thoughts, but I find these anniversaries difficult. This time of year reminds me of him going into hospital (where he spent his 72nd birthday) and quite soon after, moving into a hospice and passing away on the 11th October. The beautiful light, the changing colours in nature and the falling leaves from the trees somehow act as an alarm which awakens my grief and those familiar sorrowful feelings rush in. The wonderful memories are there too, so it feels bittersweet. Anyhow, I chose to roll with those feelings last week and I was especially mindful of taking care of myself. I walked, rested and did a little bit of gentle writing of my second story and that felt good. I’ll post a ‘dreaming of being an author’ update soon!


Me, My Dad and my brother circa 1976


In the first of my Finding Urban Beauty series, I am going to share with you the very special Pergola and it’s gardens. The Pergola, a grade II listed structure dating back to the early 20th century, can be found to the West of Hampstead Heath, North London. You can read more about it’s history here and if you want to be able to visit it yourself, you can find a map here. I rediscovered the Pergola this Summer, when on the first day of the school holidays I woke earlier than the rest of my household and felt a brisk walk in the early morning sunshine was in order. I approached the Pergola from the southeastern tip of the heath, so there was a good walk to get there, but what rewards! How I enjoyed being on my own, just me, my thoughts and my camera…a few joggers…and many, many dogs with their walkers!


There was a slight haze over London that morning. The view from Kite Hill was quite special, both looking towards the city…


…and over towards lower Highgate…


It warmed up pretty quickly and I was like the man in the fable about the wind and the sun, removing layers of clothing as the sun grew stronger. I could feel my lungs expanding, my outlook broadening and my smile getting bigger as I absorbed the magic of my surroundings…







I must confess I got a little lost at one point, but I knew that the Pergola was tantalisingly close and having resorted to google maps and a little meandering adventure in the woods that surround it, I spied it through the trees.

The approach DSCN9756

I wondered about in the gardens beneath the Pergola for a long while, immersing myself in the beauty and variety of the plants and flowers as well as the fascinating architecture…

Beneath 4 DSCN9780

Beneath 5 DSCN9797
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782
Beneath 7 DSCN9782

…and then into the structure itself looking up to the old wooden beams and the wonderful shapes created by them, looking around at the winding and tangled branches of wysteria and down along the lengths of the Pergola. All to be enjoyed at a slow and gentle pace, perhaps with one’s hands clasped together at the base of one’s lower back or cooling oneself with a pretty fan as I imagine the early 20th century gents and ladies may have done!

Within 7 DSCN9831

Within 7 DSCN9831
Within 7 DSCN9831
Within 7 DSCN9831

Visiting the Pergola and Hill gardens was one of my favourite  adventures I had in London this Summer holiday. I loved the beauty and unique architecture of the structure itself, the nature to be found within and surrounding it, but also for the energy and images of the past that were conjured up as I immersed myself in it’s splendour. What joy!

So my lovelies, have you been to the Pergola? What did you think of it? If you live in London and you haven’t already visited or you are thinking of popping to London one day, do consider The Pergola and Hill gardens as a worthy destination. You won’t regret finding this urban beauty! I visited in July but I am going to make a point of going back in the spring because I suspect that the wysteria blooming and any bulbs that have been planted will add a new dimension of allure and awe to the experience!

As always, lots of love and thanks so much for reading. Have a wonderful weekend!


Lucy xxxxxxxxxxxxx


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