Saturday, 9 April 2011
I have long wanted to visit Parliament Hill, a high point on Hampstead Heath from which you get a view right across London - and here it is. I made it! It's called Parliament Hill because during the English Civil War (1642 -1651) it was a defensive stronghold for troops loyal to Parliament (the Roundheads). The Houses of Parliament are NOT situated on the top of it!
The view is lovely and in the early spring warmth there were masses of people sitting and standing around, looking over the city, as well as plenty of folks flying kites (a traditional pastime up there.) You can probably make out the cluster of tall office buildings in the City of London - among them 'the Gherkin' - and maybe you can see the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, immediately in front of the very tall building almost in the middle of the horizon. (Click to make the picture bigger). That huge structure, not yet completed, is known as The Shard and will be the highest building in the EU when it's finished. There is one of those helpful metal engravings on the Hill, pointing out the visible landmarks - but many of the newest buildings are missing, thus showing how rapidly London is still developing. Interestingly, the view of St Paul's from Hampstead Heath is one of ten protected views of the Cathedral, meaning that nothing will be allowed to intrude on the sight-line.