A Visit to Highgate East Cemetery, London

A family walk around a cemetery may seem like a little odd thing to do but Highgate is no ordinary Cemetery, it’s quirkiness and the nature that surrounds it makes it one of the most beautiful resting places in the country. It is one of the earliest private garden cemeteries in England.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two, with a road dividing both. You can wander around the east side by yourselves but access to the west side is by tour only.

A visit here has been on my list of places to visit for a while now and last weekend the boys and I managed a trip over there. We didn’t get to access the West side but we did get to go into the East side and have a wander about. The East cemetery is home to some of the illustrious figures of the nineteenth century, you will find many famous names, along with some interesting graves. It’s a place to remember the people have passed but also for us to celebrate their achievements.

The most famous person who resides in the East side is Karl Marx; the German philosopher, economist, sociologist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary.

Entry into Highgate East Cemetery is via a booth, where you pay adult entry fee only and pick up a map. The map has all of the notable graves marked on along with a list and what they were famous for, it’s clear and easy to follow. This means that you can walk around at your own pace.

As soon as you enter you get that feeling of calm and peacefulness. It’s a place that you can escape the noise pollution from beyond the gates and quickly immerse yourself within the tranquil surroundings.

We walked around admiring the memorials; not seeing a graveyard but looking at the art and the beauty of it all. Highgate Cemetery is a quintessential piece of victorian architecture.

There are many residents from all walks of life here; from political activists, designers, Tv stars and novelists. These include the author Douglas Adams, the Tv presenter Jeremy Beadle, Pop artist Patrick Caulfield and novelist George Elliot.

Although the Cemetery is a famous popular tourist attraction it is still a living Cemetery and are open for new burials. Known as one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, a series of victorian burial grounds within the inner city, Highgate is, without a doubt, a secret London attraction.

Highgate Cemetery West is now on my next place to visit, although this time I shall return with just the eldest and myself. This part of Highgate can only be viewed by tour guides and is where you can see the Egyptian Avenue, Lebanon Circle and Terrace Catacombs.

This is definitely a place that we will be visiting again in the warmer months and not on a wet, drizzly February day.