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John and Mélanie Engagement Session- Pergola Hill Garden, London

23 September 2017

The Hill Gardens and Pergola, London

If you find yourself within Pergola Hill Garden you may think you’ve landed on somewhere in the beautiful Italian countryside. But this secret paradise is in fact hidden within central London!

Mélanie initially contacted me about photographing her London wedding back in May. As I’m Wales based and Mélanie and John live in London we hadn’t actually managed to meet until their engagement shoot. I mentioned the Hill Garden and Pergola to Mélanie as a location idea and surprisingly she had stumbled upon this hidden gem whilst running one day!

Unless you know where to look, these gardens are not something you would find easily. But it’s so worth it when you do!

“It is essentially a raised walkway, overgrown with vines and exotic flowers, and is set amidst some wonderfully dramatic gardens.”


Originally, this Pergola was built as a party venue for Lord Leverhulme in 1904. He was a wealthy philanthropist and purchased a large mansion called ‘The Hill’. Over the following year, he hired architect Thomas Mawson to build his Pergola in the mansion grounds. Lord Leverhulme wanted it to use the location for his ‘extravagant Edwardian garden parties’. As Mélanie called him he was “the real Great Gatsby”. Now, this Italian paradise has been left to fall to disrepair in the twentieth century but still has a certain eerie and rustic charm.

The Session

I met Mélanie and John at Hampstead Station and we took the short walk to the gardens, Mélanie leading the way. These two were such a dream to photograph. They’re both professionals at making each other laugh, are naturally romantic together and totally relaxed in front of the camera. The weather was glorious for us too and as we chose to meet at 4pm, golden light was just drifting in.

Their wedding is next May in Camden. As Mélanie is originally from a tiny village in Northern France, they’ve decided to go for a French and London theme. It’s going to be a good’un!

If you’d like to find out more about couple sessions at Hill Garden and Pergola then get in touch!

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