Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery map
Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane, Highgate N6 6PJ
Work 0208 340 1834

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
East Cemetery: 10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Fri, Mar-Oct), 11 AM to 5 PM (Sat-Sun, Mar-Oct), 10 AM to 4 PM (Mon-Fri, Nov-Feb), 11 AM to 4 PM (Sat-Sun, Nov-Feb); Last entry 30 mins before closing – West Cemetery: Guided tour at 1.45 PM (Mon-Fri, Jan-Dec), and every 30 mins from 11 AM to 4 PM (Sat-Sun, Mar-Oct) or 11 AM to 3 PM (Sat-Sun, Nov-Feb)
Ticket cost:
Adults £12.00; Children £6.00 (8-17)
Visiting hours and entry charges are subject to change
Time required:
A typical visit to Highgate Cemetery lasts 2 hours (approx)

Getting to Highgate Cemetery

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Highgate Cemetery in London Highgate Cemetery, London Entrance to the Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery The Circle of Lebanon in Highgate Cemetery The Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Karl Marx’s tomb in Highgate Cemetery Karl Marx’s tombstone

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of Highgate Cemetery  Check out my London blog for a full review and photos

Highgate Cemetery Good for kids? Value for money? Worth a visit? 203

Highgate Cemetery is No.3 in our list of London’s best parks.

Highgate Cemetery was just one of a whole rash of cemeteries built in London during the early 19th-century. The city was suffering from a severe shortage of burial space at the time, with bodies packed in floors of chapels, crammed-in inches from their neighbours. People had started to complain of the stench during the hot summer months, so the Government stepped in to alleviate the crush.

They authorised the construction of seven large commercial cemeteries around the edge of the city, the most famous being Kensal Green and Highgate.

History of Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery dates from 1839, when the London Cemetery Company opened a 17.5 acre space to alleviate the strain. The government hoped that by making them commercial, the companies would be encouraged to build bigger and better grounds to accommodate the bodies.

Their plan undoubtedly worked, as Highgate’s grandiose layout – with fine views of the city from Highgate Hill – was designed by architect Stephen Geary and landscape gardener David Ramsay. The Victorians responded in kind by building some of the most flamboyant tombs in London. People literally couldn’t wait to die – so much so that a 19.5 acre extension was added in 1857.

As a taster for what awaits… imagine a tomb guarded by a cross-pawed lion, and a cricketer sleeping under a broken wicket. Famous graves include those of Karl Marx, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. You can also see the tombs of 18 Royal Academicians, six Lord Mayors of London and 48 Fellows of the Royal Society.

Many of the paths have been given grandiose names to match their surroundings – like the Circle of Lebanon. This is a ring of doors topped by a centuries-old cedar tree.

Friends of Highgate Cemetery

By the 20th-century the cemetery had fallen into disrepair and the graves had become overgrown. The dilapidated buildings looked like crumbling amongst the overgrowth. The Friends of Highgate Cemetery formed in the 1980s to return it to its former glory.

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  • Dr John – “I went on the tour, which is the only way you can visit it these days, and it is stunningly good. The whole place is overgrown with grass and weeds and trees, and looks a complete mess, but every now and then she will take you round a corner into a stunning location. Like the Circle of lebanon, and the tombs with huge egyptian columns. There are monuments with huge angels towering over you with moss patches on their bodies like they have been watching over the dead for hundreds of years. It is the most atmospheric place that I have ever been in London.”

Ask a question about this attraction

You might like our guide to religious events in London, where you can look up services today, tomorrow and at the weekend. We also have a guide to religious events in December, January and February

If you enjoy this then try: Brompton Cemetery (catch the tube from Highgate to West Brompton) and Highgate (you can walk it in 7 mins).

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