Anyone who has been on Instagram in the past month will have noticed a slight obsession amongst the florally-minded bloggers with a certain purple bloom that drapes over facades in aesthetic grape-like clusters. Or, perhaps you’re been absent-mindedly wandering down an obscure road and been hailed by an pleasantly sweet smell that covers the usual London scents…
In April, I become obsessed with hunting wisteria in every part of London, and I’m not alone. There are hundreds of well-known houses that eager-eyed photographers flock to every year; often, you’ll find yourself queuing to take a photo without someone posing in it. These houses sure are fabulous, and I would definitely recommend seeking them out, but there are so many more secret spots you can locate in hidden backstreets and down narrow alleys that’ll give you a unique view of London’s wisteria majesty.
I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 spots, along with some clues that’ll help you find them. Some are more well known spots, whilst some will take you away from the bustle of London’s busier areas. Because, hey, it’s way more fun to hunt for treasure than it just be handed to you, right?
1. Camden Town & Canal
Tube stop: Camden Town
Cafe tip: Camden Coffee House
Camden is one of the most varied places in London, but also the one that offers some of the best wisteria spots. Once you’re past the punky bars and hectic markets, take a turn down Regent’s canal, before you reach Camden Road Station. It’s hidden on a tiny path, but it takes my breath away- I walk past it nearly every day when the wisteria is in town! The house’s purple door makes for the most aesthetically pleasing snaps you’ll find. You won’t be able to get a good shot of the whole house as the path is so narrow, so go for some pretty close-ups.
2. Kentish Town
Tube stop: Kentish Town
Cafe Tip: Saint Espresso
Hop off the tube at Kentish Town, walk past Natasha’s Flower Stall and take a right turn. You’ll soon spot the pastel houses that are a joy at any time of the year, and are festooned with floral delights throughout the Spring. The houses come in shades of Neapolitan ice cream: don’t forget to stand back to capture the whole view!
3. Kensington & Notting Hill
Tube stop: Notting Hill Gate
Cafe tip: The Churchill Arms
This is probably the most popular wisteria spot in London: the Frank Bridge House. Its a magical dream of pink and purple, with a beautiful wisteria arch above the front gate that frames the door perfectly. It’s the first house on the street, but don’t forget to walk down the entire length of the road, as there are plenty more wisteria-covered houses to capture, as well as some classic cars.
4. Primrose Hill
Tube stop: Chalk Farm
Cafe tip: Greenberry Cafe
Take a stroll around Primrose Hill and you’ll find rows of local, independent shops, cafes and restaurants with such a variety of colours and styles it’ll make your head spin! Weave your way through the houses and you’ll soon stumble upon a multitude of pastel and wisteria goodness. make sure to stop for a light lunch or coffee on Regent’s Park Road, or a cheeky G&T at the Queen’s pub on the corner (you can’t miss the striking blue door). At the far end of the road, past the hill itself, you’ll find Chalk Farm which boasts some great vintage shops and an ice cream parlour almost hidden in wisteria!
5. Portobello Road
Tube stop: Ladbroke Grove
Cafe tip: Farm Girl Notting Hill
Portobello road is a London classic. Packed with antiques, British memorabilia and clothes, and the odd rock-n-roll poster shop, it’s more then just a photo stop. I recommend starting at Ladbroke Grove and winding your way down towards Notting Hill Gate, not forgetting to explore the side streets along the way. This stunning house will be a welcome treat when you reach the end, as will the quirky pub opposite: The Sun in Splendour.
6. Royal Chelsea
Tube stop: Sloane Square
Cafe tip: Gallery Mess at the Saatchi Gallery
This is the spot for this with a penchant for classic horror. Ironically, its a very innocent and bright little house, just near to the Royal Chelsea Hospital. It’s on my bucket list to visit every blue plaque in London, but I seem to just keep coming back to this one! Unfortunately, there may be quite a few cars blocking the view, but there’s a handy little wall that you can hop onto when no-one is looking. Watch out for wisteria-covered vampires!
7. Sloane Square
Tube stop: Sloane Square
Cafe tip: The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Sloane Square is a must if you want to see pretty and imaginative decor all year around. The facades on the streets that scatter out in every direction from Sloane Square become brightly coloured floral feasts; around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, during Chelsea in Bloom and sporadically through spring and autumn, you’ll find an array of designs that will make you catch your breath! Make sure you pop down some of the residential streets, too- you’ll find this gem of a house just off Radnor Walk. Don’t forget to stop for a lilac martini at the Ivy Chelsea Garden while you’re there.
8. Earl’s Court & Chelsea
Tube stop: Earl’s Court/South Kensington
Cafe tip: Over Under Earl’s Court
I found so many of my dream houses when wandering around here, and I definitely set my heart on those that were showered in wisteria blooms! Try and go up and down as many roads as you can, but make sure you head for the Boltons, an oval shaped pair of streets set around a lovely little church and private gardens. Don’t get too jealous!
9. Gloucester Road
Tube stop: Gloucester Road/Kensington
Cafe tip: Coco Momo Kensington
Between Gloucester Road and the Royal Albert Hall lies a beautiful little Mews that’ll greet you with red ivy-covered arches in Autumn, and wonderful wisteria in the Spring. Mews cottages are not your usual London terrace style: they are each exquisitely unique. They’re also normally dripping with flowers. Try finding this one- you won’t miss it easily!
10. Islington Angel
Tube stop: Angel
Cafe tip: The Blue Legume
Islington is definitely one of the lesser known parts of London when it comes to hunting floral foam. It’s mostly residential areas with a few parks, high streets and a stadium, but if you head towards the Angel and walk north-west from there, you’ll find myriad spots to satiate your appetite for wisteria. The facades are also draped with ivy, and rose bushes spring up in most gardens. It’s also exceedingly quiet: you won’t have to compete for your snaps here!