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Highgate – the hidden gem of London | Best things to do in Highgate

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Highgate - cherry blossom - hidden gem of London
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This post will be all about Highgate – the hidden gem of London that is one of if not the best place to live in London. We’ll talk about why is Highgate so amazing, the best things to do in Highgate and I will also share with you some of my recent photos from walking all around Highgate.

If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. I moved to London over three years ago and moved to North London about two years ago. I’m currently based in East Finchley, about 20 minutes walk from Highgate. Highgate is my favourite area to walk around in North London, and it’s always a pleasure to visit Highgate and Highgate Village. If we were to buy a property in London, we would hope to buy an apartment in Highgate. Let me explain to you why!

Why is Highgate so amazing? The hidden gem of London

People seem to be talking a lot about Hampstead – another leafy suburb of North London. A few years ago, a couple of big influencers from London visited Hampstead and shared their photos online. Since then, even tourists come to visit Hampstead. However, nobody seems to talk about Highgate, and in my humble opinion, Highgate is even prettier and more impressive than Hampstead.

Located in London’s zone 3 on the High Barnet branch, Highgate can be reached in about 20-25 minutes from Central London. In comparison, Hampstead is a bit closer – it’s technically located in Zone 2 (bordering zone 3) and distance-wise, it’s a bit closer to the city centre. Having lived in London for one year back in 2018, I have never heard of Highgate, but then a colleague, who lives there, mentioned the area. We were planning to move away from Elephant & Castle and decided to visit Highgate. I can’t say that I fell in love from the first sight, but I was very impressed with Highgate Village. However, as it turned out, I only saw about 5% of Highgate.

When I moved to East Finchley, I suddenly started walking a lot and exploring the neighbourhood. I often come for a run to Highgate wood (it’s about 15 minutes away from me, which is not bad at all) and sometimes, I come for a walk to Waterlow Park.

So why is Highgate so amazing? Well, first of all, it’s not very touristy, so there are no crowds of people. Secondly, the architecture is stunning – Highgate Village centre looks charming. Finally, there are plenty of beautiful streets, green places, forests (Highgate Wood and Queens wood), stunning £30-Mio mansions, cute shops, lovely cafes and decent restaurants.

The most beautiful places in Highgate: things to do in Highgate, London

If you’re planning on visiting Highgate, let me tell you about the most beautiful places you must visit in Highgate as well as the best things to do in Highgate. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Highgate Village

Despite the fact that Highgate is a decently-sized neighbourhood, Highgate Village is rather small. However, it’s certainly stunning. There are plenty of beautiful houses and a couple of lovely cafes. Make sure to pay Highgate Village a visit when visiting Highgate.

Highgate Cemetery

A cemetery might not be the obvious place to visit, but Highgate Cemetery is really a must. Highgate Cemetery is a famous and very picturesque cemetery with a very impressive entrance. The most remarkable bit about the cemetery is that Karl Marx, the father of communism, was buried there. You can’t really miss his grave – it features a massive statue of Karl Marx head.

Waterlow Park

Right after visiting Highgate Cemetery, you can walk to Waterlow Park – a park with stunning views over London. It’s one of the parks where it’s allowed to barbecue (in designated areas), so if you fancy stopping for a picnic, that would be a perfect place. I suggest walking around the park as well, as you can find some stunning buildings nearby.

Waterlow Park

Highgate Wood / Queen’s wood

You don’t need to visit both, just pick one of the famous woods in Highgate. I personally prefer Highgate wood for running and Queen’s wood for running. Moreover, if you want to see a pretty street, I recommend entering the Queen’s Wood via the Queenswood road.

The inn, where Charles Dickens stayed in 1832

Highgate has plenty of historical places as well. One of the houses in Highgate has a blue plaque stating that Charles Dickens stayed there in 1832. Unfortunately, you can’t go in, as it’s a residential building now, but still, it’s a lovely place to see.

Things to do in Highgate London

Kampai – the best sushi in North London

If you’re hungry and fancy a bite, I recommend Kampai – a Japanese restaurant specialising in sushi and rolls. I went there many times, and it was always amazing. Right now I can say that it’s one of my favourite restaurants in London.

Parkland South Walk to Finsbury Park

One of the best-kept secrets of Highgate is the Parkland South Walk – a former railway and now a national reserve that goes all the way from Highgate (there is a small bit that goes up to Alexandra Palace as well) to Finsbury Park. It’s quite a long walk (about 5 km), but it’s a delightful and pleasant walk for a sunny and warm day.

The stunning mansions of Highgate

Highgate has a lot of charming streets and fabulous houses – you can see some of them on the North Hill road. However, if you want to see some really stunning mansions, head to the Sheldon Avenue. You can also see the second biggest house in London (after the Buckingham Palace) called Witanhurst – it’s located on the Highgate W Hill, next to the Holly Terrace and that’s another place to see stunning mansions in London.

Things to do in Highgate London

The best things to do in Highgate, London – the summary

Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post about Highgate – the true hidden gem in London and one of the best places to live in London. Would you like to live in Highgate? Make sure to come to Highgate and pay this charming leafy neighbourhood a visit and well as enjoy the best things to do in Highgate: from woods to stunning mansions.

Some other posts you might like:

Dorking to Leith Hill – amazing day walk near London

Unusual and quirky things to do in London

Best photo spots in London – the most Instagrammable places

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