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A view to remember

Six miles from the City of London the view from the summit of Parliament Hill has been a focal point for generations of visitors to Hampstead Heath.

No wonder. You can bask in the sun and look at the cutting-edged edifices such as the Shard, the Gherkin and the Walkie-Talkie juxtaposed next to historic landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster.

As the view over London changes with the rapid pace of development so does Hampstead Heath. Both are dynamic environments. One changes with London's economic and political fortunes and the other changes with the seasons and techniques of managing and protecting the precious open space surrounded by urbanisation. The Heath has always been a beautiful tranquil place of respite away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Ironically it is the view back to the City from Parliament Hill which attracts thousands of people who stop to admire their city. On a clear day you can see as far as the East End and the Thames estuary, the Crystal Palace transmitter in the south-east and the hills of the North Downs which border the south of London.

Protected vista

Parliament Hill summit is one of three viewing locations on Hampstead Heath identified in the Greater London Authority's London View Management Framework in recognition of the significant views towards St Paul's Cathedral and the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster. As custodian of the Heath, the City of London manages the viewpoint to ensure the protected vistas between these strategically important landmarks are maintained.

A collection of historic photographs taken from Parliament Hill is available on the Heath & Hampstead Society website.

The plaque

This plaque identifies London landmarks that are visible from the summit and reflects the skyline as it was in July 2016.

The plaque was donated by the Heath & Hampstead Society and installed in September 2016. The Heath & Hampstead Society was established in 1897 and has a long history of preserving the wild and natural state of the Heath.

It replaced a similar plaque which was installed in 1984 and showed the points of interest as they were then. The pace of change in London is so fast that the depicted skyline will doubtless be out-of-date soon but like all snap-shots it serves as a reminder that change is a part of our lives. However, some things like the Heath remain as places where people will always be able to relax, connect with nature and enjoy the view.

Published:
20 May 2016
Last Modified:
15 September 2017

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