Mamma Mia! star Dominic Cooper joins Batman and Catwoman in Primrose Hill treasure hunt

Actor Dominic Cooper tucks into the cakes at the end of the Primrose Hill treasure hunt. Picture: Po

Actor Dominic Cooper tucks into the cakes at the end of the Primrose Hill treasure hunt. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Mamma Mia! star Dominic Cooper and retail expert Mary Portas joined over a hundred visitors at the very first ShopHop! treasure hunt on Saturday as they championed Primrose Hill’s independent shops.

Cryptic clues took families on a novel journey through the area giving them a chance to discover its history as well as shop in some of its unique stores.

Organiser Phil Cowen told Heathman the event was a fantastic way to help retain the area’s reputation as a destination for independent shops.

“Primrose Hill is one of the few places left in London with a strong collection of non-chain stores, so these kinds of events are a great way to champion them all,” he said.

“The treasure hunt got people discovering places they never realised existed and I think they now have a renewed appreciation for the area and these kinds of small shops.

“We’ve seen other high streets taken over by corporate chains so we’re all hoping this will help stem the tide here in Primrose Hill.”

And it wasn’t just shop-owners who benefitted.

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Winners of the challenging treasure hunt were awarded prizes donated by members of the community, including a meal at Greek restaurant Lemonia and the chance to watch the live-filming of BBC hit cooking show Masterchef.

Shops involved in the event were also said to have received bumper sales on the day.

Sue Holt, 55, who lives in Primrose Hill and whose art shop Gallery 196 featured in the treasure hunt, said: “It’s so vital to support struggling independent shops in the area and Saturday’s event meant I saw many new people come into my shop.

“People moved into this area because it has different stores compared to the rest of London.

“It’s full of unique and non-chain shops and people warm to that.

“But the downside of more people wanting to live here has been the adverse affect of rising rents.

“It’s getting to the stage where the only shops able to afford it are chain stores.”

Organisers of Saturday’s event hope it will become a regular feature in the community’s calendar, with possible plans for an Easter-themed treasure hunt next year.