Highgate and Primrose Hill battle it out to be top north London neighbourhood

Highgate used to be the poor man's Primrose Hill, but times have changed

Highgate used to be the poor man's Primrose Hill, but times have changed - Credit: Archant

A battle of the burbs has broken out between Highgate and Primrose Hill, with the latter forced to defend its reputation as a glitzy, star-studded area. The police are involved.

Primrose Hill's pastel-coloured houses attracted a raft of party-loving celebrities in the 90s and 0

Primrose Hill's pastel-coloured houses attracted a raft of party-loving celebrities in the 90s and 00s - Credit: Archant

In recent years a combination of excellent schools, relative value for money, and greater privacy has attracted the likes of Jude Law, Kate Moss and Jamie Oliver across the Heath to hill top Highgate.

But Primrose Hillbillies contest that their neighbourhood is as desirable as ever.

Even the local bobbies on the beat have weighed in on the dispute with PC Andrew Harris defending his patch against suggestions that the neighbourhood’s charms had been overtaken by Highgate Village.

PC Andrew Harris described Primrose Hill as “a unique enclave and far more interesting than Highgate,” although he conceded that he might be biased in his opinion.

John Hounsell, neighbourhood PC for Highgate responded that Highgate’s sense of community can’t be beaten.

The police officers were tweeting in response to Ham & High Property’s story exploring why so many A-listers were ditching the boho area for the more sedate charms of Highgate.

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Primrose Hill residents were also quick to defend their area.

Joanna Reeves who writes the iloveprimrosehill blog says “I have lived here for nearly eleven years now and can’t think living anywhere else! “Primrose Hill is about so much more than its celebrity residents, which are legion, by the way.

“I don’t think it can be compared to anywhere else, even lovely Highgate. It’s unique and totally beyond ‘cool’.”

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A recent Fashion Week party thrown by PR guru Matthew Freud also recalled the area’s heyday with neighbours despairing at the noise, door security and paparazzi and A-listers spilling out into the early hours.

While the north London ‘villages’ are ostensibly similar with ample green space, period housing and hills galore, Primrose Hill has long had a reputation for attracting a louche, party-loving set, while Highgate’s charms are traditionally quieter.

Other tweets from the two police officers emphasise the differences between the neighbourhoods.

Recent entries on PC Harris’s feed include the seizure of cocaine and cannabis from a Primrose Hill dealer and the apprehension of a shoplifter who is under investigation by Interpol.


Meanwhile PC Hounsell’s feed records Dog Trust events in Kenwood, texting drivers and the number of days since Highgate’s last burglary.


What do you think? Is Primrose Hill over the hill? Or is Highgate just where the rich and famous go to disappear? Tweet us @HamHighProperty

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