Took a stroll through Highgate yesterday, hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Highgate village was a distinct village outside of London until late victorian times and it still retains it’s 19th-century feel today. It’s built on a hill and offers spectacular views of London and it’s also where the famous Highgate cemetery is.
Five minutes walk from Highgate tube station, is the beige coloured townhouse where Charles Dickens and his family lived for a while, apparently in an attempt to avoid their creditors.
Walking past The Gatehouse pub, you reach Pond Square, a lovely place that, besides the cars, feels unchanged since the 19th century.
Up ahead, you reach Church house. It is believed to have been the ‘old brick house at Highgate on the very summit of the hill’, to which David Copperfield was invited to stay.
Walking past The Flask, another historic pub, you find The Grove, with many elegant houses. One of them is where the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived from 1823 until his death in 1834.
Merton Lane takes you to the east end of Hampstead Heath and the ponds.
You soon get to Makepeace Avenue, once called ‘London’s loveliest garden colony’. This offers amazing views of London; on a clear day you can see St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and the BT Tower.
On Swain’s Lane you reach the rather eccentric but pretty Holly Village, consisting of nine gothic cottage built in 1865.
Up the hill is the entrance to Highgate cemetery East, where nature definitely conquers over anything manmade and where famous great people like Karl Marx and George Eliot are buried.
Next to the cemetery is the Waterlow Park, where once again the views of London on a clear day are beautiful.
This leads you to Highgate high Street where you can have a drink and a bite to eat at one of many pubs, but as you make your way to Archway station you see the little statue of a cat that casts a wary backward glance at London below, and which marks the site where Dick Whittington reputedly heard the bells of Bow Church urging him to ‘turn again’. This is also the stone cat that Bill Sikes passed after the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist.