Your Guide to London Highgate
Where is Highgate?
If you fancy staying in one of London’s most fashionable districts come to Highgate, the highest point of London that rises to an altitude of 131 metres. This trendy suburb of North London is close to beautiful Hampstead Heath and boasts multi-million pound homes, smart boutiques and gorgeous restaurants for you to discover. It even has its own conservation society to help preserve its lovely rural character. Highgate is the most idyllic of the London ‘villages’ and one that you should definitely take time to explore. It straddles three London boroughs – Haringey, Camden and Islington. Even though it’s based in Zone 3 of the London Underground network it has two tube stations, Highbury and Archway, that will whisk you into Central London with ease.
History of Highgate
Highgate takes its name from a tollgate on the top of the hill, which was erected in the 14th century to control the passage of traffic to and from Islington Village, Kentish Town and London. A number of pubs sprang up along the route, one of these is The Gatehouse that’s now one of the oldest pubs in the area. The first settlement grew at the top of Highgate Hill, near the site of the original tollgate.
Since the 16th Century, Highgate has enjoyed growing popularity with wealthy and influential figures as a healthy retreat from the pressures of city life and worsening smog. As a result, great mansions such as Lauderdale, Fitzroy, and Cromwell houses were erected in the 16th & 17th centuries. Right up until well into the 19th century, Highgate was still a county town sitting astride the original boundary of the County of Middlesex and Hampstead Heath! It also became a popular resting place during this time, when burial conditions in central London became intolerable and amazing Highgate Cemetery was opened as a result. Visit this increasingly popular, affluent and fashionable district today and you can discover Highgate’s fantastic architecture and history, along with exclusive shopping and restaurants.
The Positives of Highgate
As Highgate straddles several different boroughs (Camden, Islington and Haringey) this makes it an unusual and diverse suburb of North London for you to explore. Whilst it’s affluent and exclusive, it’s still managed to maintain a charming rural feel about it, which will be a welcome break from the often overcrowded city centre. When you’re not making the most of the gorgeous views, stunning boutiques, fascinating buildings and timeless woodland areas you could spend your time star spotting, as plenty of celebrities live here! You’ll also find that staying in Highgate offers you easy access to places like trendy Camden and Islington. In fact, it’s an idyllic base from which to explore the whole of London!
Need to Know Highgate
Highgate is a popular place to live for London’s elite and high earning professional commuters, so it is known for being one of the most expensive districts outside of central London. This is reflected in the wealthy homes and classy boutique shops you’ll find here. However, don’t let this make you think that you can’t afford to stay here as there are lots of reasonable hotels around, so you can live the high life without breaking the bank! You might also be concerned that this isn’t a very central place to stay – but don’t panic! There are two tube stations in Highgate so you’ll find it easy to get around the rest of the capital from here. It makes a great place to escape to after hectic days spent sightseeing!