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Romantic Victorian gothic getaway
Opened in 1839 and designed by Stephen Geary, Highgate Cemetery is usually recalled by visitors as one of their more treasured London memories. Set on a slope with winding paths leading to overgrown tombs and mausoleums and welcome distractions such as the Egyptian Avenue and Gothic Catacomb, the lush landmark (and former park) is overrun with more than 175 years of plants, trees, memorials and wildlife to tranquil and beautiful effect. Such romantic aspects describe the West Cemetery, where most of the more noted novelists, artists, composers, actors, philosophers and scientists are interred, from Radclyffe Hall (of particular note) and Jean Simmons to Christina Rosetti, Lucian Freud and Alexander Litvinenko. A few seconds across the road in the beautiful but slightly less aesthetically pleasing East Cemetery you’ll find Karl Marx’s tomb ― a huge and hugely popular attraction ― and George Eliot's resting place, plus cultured cockney, musician, impresario and punk-rock catalyst Malcolm McLaren and others including writer Douglas Adams, playwright Anthony Shaffer and pop star George Michael's mum. Michael himself lived up the hill in Highgate Village, and is now buried in the West Cemetery, access to which is via tour only (and the tour does not pass by Michael's grave). Best to book ahead for one of the weekday 2pm tour slots. Weekends are less of a problem, with tours on the half-hour. Tube station: Archway, then an eight-minute walk up the hill. Local points of interest include Highgate Village (a quaint and coveted lifestyle destination) — including the former home of George Michael — and, slightly further afield, Hampstead Heath, including Kenwood House [see entry]. Down Swain's Lane, by Chester Rd, you'll find Holly Village – a gated gothic community of 1865 houses that's well worth seeing (and accessible via a foot-high barrier). Nearby gastro pub The Bull & Last serves good food.

Tags: Park, Architecture, Heritage Site, Cultural Interest, Gardens

Swain's Lane, Highgate
London, England N6 6PJ

(020) 834-0183
Mon to Fri 10 am—5pm; Sat and Sun 11am—5pm (Nov to Feb until 4pm)


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    DavidOPerson ·

    January 25

    Don't be put off by the trek to get there, which is not much of a trek at all. You won't regret it. And hopefully you'll have Angie as your guide.
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  • January 25

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    November 28, 2010 via foursquare