I am always fascinated by cemeteries for reasons I can’t explain. I find peace and tranquility whenever I visit one and somehow, it makes me grounded. Cemeteries remind me that every single person – rich or poor or black or white will end up in the same place. Maybe not in the same cemetery but you know what I mean.
Highgate Cemetery is located in North London, very near to Archway tube station. I had one free day to explore this area before we leave the hotel to transfer to our apartment and the cemetery was the only place that I would love to see.
From the tube station, it was a mere 20 minutes (uphill) walk passing through the beautiful Waterlow Park. If walking isn’t your forte, you can also take bus numbers 143 or 210 or 271 from Archway station and get off Bisham Gardens. From there it’s only 5 mins walk.
Highgate Cemetery isn’t your usual cemetery. There are so many famous people buried here including Karl Marx, who I think draws the crowd to this place the most plus, it has a lot of other graves with interesting sculptures. It is by no means an excuse to go there and take selfies with the graves which you fancied, no that is not the point because Highgate Cemetery is still a place for contemplation specially for the families who come to visit their loved ones. The cemetery is still being used up to this date.
Highgate cemetery is divided to East and West, East is accessible to the public with an entrance fee of GBP4.00 per adult while West can only be visited with a guided tour which must be pre-booked. East cemetery of course is the one which is most visited, an extremely beautiful and atmospheric place.
Some notable people buried here apart from Karl Marx are Patrick Caulfield an artist who designed his own memorial with the letters DEAD pierced through a slab of stone; the writer Mary Ann Cross who used the pen name George Eliot so her writings would be taken more seriously during her time; Jeremy Beadle, a writer and producer whose memorial includes a sculpture of books and Douglas Adams, the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy whose very simple grave includes a can full of pens in it. So many other notable personalities are buried here but those are the ones which piqued my interest the most.
There are over 170,000 people buried in Highgate Cemetery so it’s quite impossible to see them all. I did enjoy walking around, admiring the sculptures and reading the verses or tributes written on the headstones. I spent a good 2 hours in this place.
Highgate Cemetery isn’t for everyone I suppose, you’ll like it if you’re a really big fan of the notable personalities buried here or if you’re a cemetery enthusiast like myself or if you’re someone simply seeking for a quiet place after a whole day of exploring the city. If you fit any of those, then I do highly recommend a visit to this place.
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Highgate Cemetery – East
Monday to Friday 10AM to 5PM
Weekends and Public Holidays 11AM to 5PM
Entrance fee GBP4 per adult, children under 18 free of charge
Nearest tube station: ARCHWAY, Northern Line