The Hill Garden & Pergola is probably an open secret to those who know the surrounding Hampstead Heath well & I have been coming here since the 1960s ( they only became accessible to the public in 1960 ).
The Pergola itself is about 700 or 800 metres long , constructed primarily of stone pillars in the classical style topped with wooden cross members ; pavements & walls are of brick & stone. Depending on how you approach the pergola , it either leads to the adjoining Hill Garden or vice versa.
Next to the pergola you will see the splendid Inverforth House. This was the home of Lord Leverhume , the soap magnate & the precursor of the now Unilever giant.
He created the pergola & Hill Garden. Now Inverforth House has been converted into luxury apartments , having once been an orthopaedic hospital. The gardens surrounding Inverforth House remain private but you can view them at various stages along the pergola which snakes along on different trajectories & levels affording both views to the Heath & the house. Finally you drop down one of two stone staircases to the Hill Garden with its formal rectangular water feature & trees & shrubberies.
There are 2 ways to enter the pergola , both from the Heath or there is an entrance to the Hill Garden from a walk that leads from the main Golders Green to Hampstead Rd. If you are visiting from Hampstead either take a stiffish uphill walk to Whitestone Pond , carry on past Jack Straws Castle & look out for a stony , downhill track on your left that you will easily see just before you get to the wall surrounding Inverforth House. Go down here & look out for a small gate on the right which let's you in to the pergola via stairs. You can also get the 268 or 210 bus up from Golders Green Station or Hampstead & get out at the Inverforth House stop.
Its free to get in but be aware it does not open until 8 : 30 am & closes at dusk.
Also it is only a few minutes walk from Golders Hill Park.
The pergola is home to many climbing plants , all looking to be suffering somewhat in the present drought. There is some much needed repairs required , particular for the decaying wooden stretchers & the water feature is scummy & in need of a complete clean out & re plant.
Having said that , this is a charming & atmospheric spot & well worth a visit.