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Highgate is home to, and indeed the final resting place of many cultural luminaries – Highgate even has a celebrity MP, Labour’s Glenda Jackson – the climb up Highgate Hill from the Archway marks the point where north London gets really very nice indeed.
Highgate borders Hampstead Heath, and much like Hampstead itself, is in many ways a village: quaint, quiet, and filled with character.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge settled here during its days as a 19th century sanctuary for writers and thinkers, and is buried in St Michael’s Church.
If the graves of the greats are your thing, Highgate Cemetery (www.highgate-cemetery.org) is a must-visit, a fantastically atmospheric resting place with stunning Gothic architecture, and the tomb of Karl Marx, a popular pilgrimage site.
Much less morbid is beautiful Highgate Village, winding down from the Heath and crammed with olde worlde charm.
As well as relaxed cafes and charming atmosphere, the pubs around the old High Street are old-fashioned in the best possible way: sample a real ale over a ghost story in The Flask (77 Highgate West Hill, 0871 984 3784) and a superior pub meal in the Rose & Crown (86 Highgate High Street, 020 8340 0770) for a taste of Highgate’s singular charms.
The rambling green wilderness of Hampstead Heath is a dream for city-dwellers seeking a touch of the great outdoors, and there’s spectacular views over London from Parliament Hill, probably the capital’s prime summertime picnic spot.
If all this English green-and-pleasantness gets a bit too much, Highgate is also home to one of north London’s coolest bars, the tiny Boogaloo juke joint (314 Archway Road, 0208 340 2928). Beloved of celebrity rock ‘n’ rollers – Shane MacGowan of The Pogues used to lodge upstairs – you squo;re as likely to see a Pete Docherty secret gig as you are to dance the night away to old soul surrounded by local hipsters.
Highgate Underground is in Zone 3 on the Northern Line.
|Archway Station||2||Northern||0.82 miles|
|Tufnell Park Station||2||Northern||1.10 miles|
|Highgate Station||3||Northern||1.35 miles|
|Kentish Town Station||2||Northern||1.76 miles|
|Belsize Park Station||2||Northern||2.08 miles|
|Gospel Oak Station||1.16 miles|
|Hampstead Heath Station||1.72 miles|
|Kentish Town Station||1.72 miles|
|Kentish Town West Station||2.07 miles|
|Crouch Hill Station||2.14 miles|