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Parliament Hill, London

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Parliament Hill, London

Parliament Hill
View of the City of London and surrounding area from Parliament Hill.
Type Public park
Location Hampstead Heath, London
Area 932 acres (3.77 km2)
Created 1888 (1888)
Operated by City of London Corporation
Status All year

Parliament Hill is an area of open parkland in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath in north-west London. The hill, which is 98 metres (322 ft) high, is notable for its excellent views of the capital's skyline. Many famous landmarks can be seen from its summit such as Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul's Cathedral.

The eponymous Houses of Parliament which are 6 14 miles (10.1 km) south in the City of Westminster can still be seen from Parliament Hill although they have become rather obscured by surrounding buildings.


In 1133, the hill was part of a manor that Henry I gave to a baron called Richard de Balta. During Henry II's reign it was passed to Alexander de Barentyn, the king's butler. The area, which became known as Traitors' Hill, acquired its current name in the 17th century because during the English Civil War it was defended by troops loyal to the English Parliament. A legend states that this was the site from where Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby planned to watch the destruction of Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605.[1]

Over time, plots of land in the manor were sold off for building, particularly in the early 19th century, though the hill remained mainly common land. In 1875 Hampstead Heath was acquired for the people by the Metropolitan Board of Works.[2] Thirteen years later Parliament Hill was purchased for the public for £300,000 and added to Hampstead Heath.

Kite Flyer on Parliament Hill

Nevertheless manorial rights to the land remained in private hands until the mid 20th century when they lapsed under Sir Spencer Pocklington Maryon Wilson, though the titular estate itself was passed on to Shane Gough, 5th Viscount Gough. [3] Until the 1940s, livestock was still reared on the hill to be sold through Smithfields, the London meat market.

The City of London Corporation has managed Parliament Hill since 1989.[4] Before that it was managed by the GLC and then Camden Council.

Local area

It is administered by the City of London Corporation together with the rest of Hampstead Heath.[5] The Eastern (Highgate) side, including Parliament Hill Lido, is known as Parliament Hill Fields, and a local girls' school, Parliament Hill School, is named after it.


Parliament Hill is renowned as a cross-country running venue and hosted the 2009 English National Championships. It is a popular place that is used by walkers, runners and kite flyers. The 2012 English National Cross Country Championships were also staged at Parliament Hills.

The hill has been used as a location in several films, including The Wedding Date in 2005, and Run Fatboy Run in 2007.


View of central London from Parliament Hill

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Thompson, Hampstead, 130, 165, 195, 317-18, 329- 30; G.L.R.O., E/MW/H, old no. 27/15 (sales parts. 1875).
  3. ^ Hampstead - Manor and Other Estates | British History Online
  4. ^ Hampstead Heath
  5. ^ Hampstead Heath

External links

  • BBC website
  • Map (PDF)
  • Map sources for Parliament Hill, London
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