“Away from the bustle of the city centre, Highgate London is a breath of fresh air. Children will love its slower pace, and the chance to just potter.
There’s a creative magic about the place, and it has been a breeding ground for some of the most ardent creatives to ever come out of the city. Peter Sellers, Christina Rossetti and George Michael are just a few in a very long list of distinguished Highgate residents. After a day experiencing the gentle enchantment of the area, perhaps some of it might rub off on the growing minds of your youngsters!”
Visit London asked me to write a feature on Highgate for the ‘insider tips’ section of their website. That’s where the quote above comes from, and you can read the rest of my piece on a family day out in Highgate London here. For it, I put together an itinerary to help vistors make the most of Highgate Village’s charm, taking in Highgate Cemetery, Highgate Wood, the best pubs in Highgate, and even some things to do in the evening in Highgate. Please do check it out, and let me or Visit London know if you find the piece useful.
On our last family day out in Highgate, I took bags of pictures. The north London village is highly photogenic, with quaint brick-lined alleyways, leafy woodland and elegant Georgian houses. I wanted to share some of my images here. I hope they might inspire you to visit one of the best places to explore in London.
Where is Highgate London?
Highgate is sometimes considered to be part of ‘Secret London’. Even so, it’s only twenty minutes from the centre of the city, on the Underground’s Northern line. Highgate is in north London, next to the upmarket district of Hampstead. It’s only a short walk to Hampstead Heath from the centre of Highgate Village.
Highgate Cemetery London dates back to the 1800s and is a vast, labyrinthine place with around 45,000 graves. The public can wander freely on the East side, while the West side, with its striking stone monuments, is for guided tours only. The Highgate Cemetery Tour runs regularly at weekends, but it’s advisable to pre-book if you’re planning to visit during the week.
Highgate Cemetery opening hours are 10am to 5pm from March to October, and 10am to 4pm the rest of the year. Admission is £4 for adults, and it’s free for under-18s. The Cemetery is open every day except Christmas and Boxing Day. You can find out more on the Highgate Cemetery website.
Famous people who live in Highgate
Highgate London is crammed with famous residents, past and present. Big names include well-known Highgate mums like Kate Moss, the late George Michael, and famous figures from the past like poet Christina Rossetti.
Dotted around Highgate Village you’ll see Blue Plaques, showing where these illustrious figures lived, stayed, or caroused.
The ancient Highgate Wood is mentioned in the Domesday Book. These days, it’s a place where dog walkers, families and couples roam. The place is dotted with tree dens, and the springtime display of bluebells is out of this world.
As well as trees to climb and dens to build, there’s a large playground in Highgate Wood, with climbing frames, swings and slides.
Very near the playground is Highgate Woods cafe, aka the Pavilion. This is open from breakfast through to early teatime, and does a mean line in brunch, including a delicious home-made felafel salad.
Pubs, cafes and other places to eat in Highgate London
From the Flask Highgate, where highwayman Dick Turpin was said to have hidden from the law, to Gail’s bakery and the Highgate Pantry on the High Street, Highgate has enough top-quality eateries to keep you going all day.
Things to do in the evening in Highgate London
Highgate may lack the intense buzz of central London, but even so there’s entertainment to be found in the evenings. The Boogaloo, a pub and live music venue on Archway Lane, was a favourite haunt of Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.
For live theatre there’s Jacksons Lane, or Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Highgate Village’s restaurants are excellent. Try Ostuni for Italian cuisine, or Kiplings Indian Restaurant for something with a bit more spice.
Have you been to Highgate London? What were your favourite parts?
For more on Highgate London, see my feature on the Visit London website.
To find out what there is to do in other parts of London, check out my guide to what’s on in London.
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