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Take a trip to Gipsy Hill

27 November 2004

12:00 AM

27 November 2004

12:00 AM

If you like looking down on your fellow men, take a trip to Gipsy Hill. So transfixed was I, on a recent visit, by its panoramic views over the City, Kent, Sussex and Surrey that I became embroiled in an uncomfortable exchange with a man in a stetson and a bootlace tie who accused me of staring at him as he walked up the hill.

Once the domain of smugglers and highwaymen, the area got its name from


a gypsy encampment buried deep in the Great North Wood, which stretched

from Camberwell to Croydon until the early 19th century. Following the

Enclosure Acts, the gypsies were driven out to allow prosperous Victorians to move in. These days, the area’s vertigo-inducing streets, reminiscent of a Cornish seaside town, are lined with grand Georgian and Victorian white stucco and red-brick fa


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