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September 2021 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

Primrose Hill & Regents Park

Postcard-perfect terraces of wisteria-clad pastel coloured houses, a bustling high street of independent businesses and one of the most coveted views in the Capital make this one of London’s favourite villages. And the location is to die for – a short stroll through the majestic Regent’s Park sees you in the centre of town in no time.

Photography by Emmanuelle Peri

Meet the locals

Dr Kiki Morriss
Owner, Primrose Hill Yoga

Primrose Hill is a unique neighbourhood that is easy to fall in love with. It has a relaxed village feel and a friendly community, yet it’s only minutes away from the heart of central London. My husband was born here, and we live in his family house with our three children.

I start the day practising yoga – usually the Yoga in Bed or Sun Salutation sequences from my book, Nurturing Your Family With Yoga. Then I get a coffee from local grocers Melrose & Morgan and head out to walk our puppy. We’re lucky to be surrounded by green spaces, including Primrose Hill, with its unforgettable view of London’s skyline, and Regent’s Park, which houses the famous London Zoo, the magical Open Air Theatre, a tennis club and Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. 

Back home, it’s time to wake up my children and get them off to their school, which borders the woodlands and meadows of Hampstead Heath. This is another dog walking heaven, where you feel you’re in the middle of the countryside despite the proximity of the city. Locally, we have a huge choice of schools, both state and private, and a vast range of activities for children, including crafts at Sew Much Fun and dance at Primrose Hill Ballet School.

I spend the day teaching yoga in the peaceful, light-filled studio my architect husband designed on the top floor of our house. As a trained doctor, I use this ancient discipline to improve the lives of people with medical conditions and stress-related issues. After 18 months of teaching online, I’m looking forward to welcoming my clients back to the studio. I also teach in local schools and am passionate about empowering children and improving their mental and physical health with the gift of yoga.

In between teaching yoga classes, I pop out to the thriving independent shops right on my doorstep. Some of my favourites are Yeomans for fresh fruit and flowers, 50s-style Reenie’s for homemade ice cream, Primrose Bakery for cupcakes, OKA for sushi and Primrose Hill Books for truly inspiring reading matter. Primrose Hill is also home to creative, independent brands, such as Boujo Hake, who make beautiful underwear and luxury basics.

After school we often meet friends for a picnic in Chalcot Square. This was the location for the Paddington movies, and, with its pastel-coloured townhouses, it is one of the prettiest parts of London.

I know I’ll sleep well in quiet and safe Primrose Hill. I’m grateful to live and work in this very special place and to bring my children up here.

primrosehillyoga.com

Streethearts

Chalcot Crescent
A favourite with Instagrammers, we think that this curving terrace of pastel-coloured townhouses might just be the Capital’s prettiest street

St. Mark’s Crescent
The imposing villa-style residences on this quiet street boast back gardens that look out over the picturesque Regent’s Canal

Prince Albert Road
Incorporated in Nash’s original plans for the area, the Regency houses here look out over Primrose Hill to the rear and front on to Regent’s Park 

Local Heroes

Lemonia, NW1
There’s nothing like an authentic Greek taverna for a feel-good feast. The beloved Lemonia on Regent’s Park Road certainly hits the spot. According to Winkworth’s Chloe Martin, Lemonia is “a proper, real Greek restaurant. It’s been family-run for the past 42 years. We especially love the kleftiko. The best in town.” We couldn’t agree more – but if meat’s off the menu for you, we’d recommend the equally hearty vegetarian moussaka. Lemonia’s private room is available from this September for parties up to 40.

89 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 (020 7586 7454; lemonia.co.uk) 

Reenie’s, NW3
Ilana Ormonde from Knight Frank nominates this American style ice cream bar as her local hero – but it’s not just for the sweet treats on offer. “It was created by freelance theatre professionals when our beloved theatres closed during the pandemic,” she tells us. The family-owned business is in the heart of Primrose Hill and, according to Ilana, “features a local ice cream churner extraordinaire!” She adds: “Reenie’s was conceived and born out of a desire to connect with, uplift and delight our community at a time when we needed it most.”

3 Erskine Road, NW3 (020 3876 7676) 

OKA, NW1
This pan-Asian and sushi eatery might be part of a small chain, but you wouldn’t know it, given its neighbourly vibe. The Primrose Hill site is loved by locals, such as Tamara Hall, who tells us: “the food is always fresh and delicious, and the staff friendly. There’s a huge menu choice but I’d recommend the sushi rolls in particular – they’re to die for.” We’d only add that OKA’s drinks offering is impressive, too. And the Primrose 71 cocktail (prosecco mixed with strawberry, cranberry and passion fruit) is an absolute must for local residents. 

71 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 (020 7483 2072; okarestaurant.co.uk)

Say what?

Though ZSL London Zoo has been in Regent’s Park since 1828, it was originally intended for scientific study, and only opened to the public in 1847. It was forced to close several times over the course of World War II, but the recent lockdowns marked its longest period of closure. During this time, the Pygmy goats missed their human visitors so much that zookeepers would take it in turns to walk them around the site, giving them an opportunity to interact with other animals