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Highgate Cemetery

Swain's Ln, Highgate, London N6 6PJ, UK
| +44 20 8340 1834

More info

Sun - Sat 10am - 4pm

Wandering Among the Dead

Dating back to the 1800's, Highgate was a fashionable place for burials and was much admired and visited. The Victorian attitude to death and its presentation led to the creation of a wealth of Gothic tombs and buildings. It occupies a spectacular south-facing hillside site slightly downhill from the top of the hill of Highgate itself, next to Waterlow Park. I In 1854 the area to the east of the original area across Swains Lane was bought to form the eastern part of the cemetery. This part is still used today for burials, as is the western part. Most of the open unforested area in the new addition still has fairly few graves on it. The cemetery's grounds are full of trees, shrubbery and wild flowers, most of which have been planted and grown without human influence. The grounds are a haven for birds and small animals such as foxes. The Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon (topped by a huge Cedar of Lebanon) feature tombs, vaults and winding paths dug into hillsides. For its protection, the oldest section, which holds an impressive collection of Victorian mausoleums and gravestones, plus elaborately carved tombs, allows admission only in tour groups. The eastern section, which contains a mix of Victorian and modern statuary, can be toured unescorted. The tomb of Karl Marx, the Egyptian Avenue and the Columbarium are Grade I listed buildings.

More Recommendations

AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

A Day Among the Dead

Why would anyone spend a day in London walking through a cemetery? Morbid fascination? Possibly. Voyeuristic peek into past lives? Probably. Highgate Cemetery is a peaceful and leafy resting place for over 170,00 souls, although rumor has it not all are resting peacefully. Some of it's famous residents are Karl Marx, George Eliot, Douglas Adams and murdered spy Alexander Litvinenko. The East Cemetery is open for independent wandering. The West cemetery tour must be booked in advance and I suggest you do if only for a peek at the eerily romantic Circle of Lebanon. Ah, the romance, the architecture, the history of an ancient graveyard.
AFAR Ambassador
almost 2 years ago

Highgate Cemetery – Otherworldly & Peaceful

Call me strange, but London's Highgate Cemetery has always had me under its spell. First opened in 1839, it is home to some of Great Britains most interesting historic funerary architecture, with numerous overgrown tombs, vaults, mausoleums, and graves. It has magical old trees and an abundance of wildlife. It's peaceful and reflective; a place that invites you to be quiet and slow down your thoughts. There are two parts to Highgate cemetery, East and West. You can visit East Highgate on your own, with a map that points out the final resting places of many of its 'residents'. Douglas Adams (1952–2001, Author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), the novelist Eliot George (1819-1890), Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010, rock-artist, concert producer, clothes designer and close friend of Vivien Westwood), and most prominently Karl Marx (1818-83, German political philosopher and revolutionary socialist) are all buried here, and many more. West Highgate, more fragile with its ancient structures, is only accessible by volunteer led tours. I've been on a number of them over the years. Each guide has their favorite stories and often sport a rather macabre sense of humor, which comes with the territory, I guess. For some, its a dark and perhaps disturbing place (especially the tombs), but I've always found Highgate Cemetery otherwordly and simply magical. Ticket prices (at time of publishing) Adults £12 Children 8 to 17 £6. (no children under 8) The ticket price includes entrance to the East Cemetery on the day of your tour. Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable. Please check opening times for east and West Highgate Cemetery on their website. >>>A huge thank you to The Trafalgar St. James and Curio Collection for a great time in London. @CurioCollection @TrafalgarSW1 #DiscoverWhatsInside #CurioCollection #BeCurious