What is Highgate like?
Highgate is one of London’s oldest villages. It started life in the 12th Century as a hamlet four miles north of the City, built around a tollhouse where the Great North Road entered the Bishop of London’s hunting ground. Inns and taverns were built over the years to cater for drovers of livestock into London and in the 17th & 18th centuries it became a fashionable place for the wealthy to build large mansions above and away from the dirt and diseases of the City. In the 19th and 20th centuries some of these grand houses made way for housing developments, though several mansions still survive including Kenwood House and Lauderdale House, both open to the public.
A unique feature of Highgate, in London terms, is that it has been constrained from further expansion by protected open space of various types, including Hampstead Heath, Highgate Cemetery, Highgate & Queens Woods and Waterlow Park. This has added to its integrity and exclusivity. It is smaller and less cosmopolitan than Hampstead, its neighbour to the west, but has a strong community which has fought hard for many years to preserve the historic charm and integrity of the Village.
Property in Highgate
There is a wide variety of housing styles catering for most requirements. The centre of the village offers pretty Georgian cottages, larger period houses and some smaller mansion blocks. A short walk from the centre are the larger 20’s/30’s blocks of Cholmeley Lodge, Northwood Hall and the modernist masterpiece Highpoint. To the south and east (towards the Underground station) are sought-after Edwardian and inter-war family houses, whilst to the north of the Heath are exclusive detached villas. The west side, between the village and Hampstead Heath, is mainly post war detached housing, with some fine modern architecture. Highgate High Street marks the boundary of two boroughs, Camden to the south west and Haringey to the north east.
The local scene
Londoners perhaps know the village best for the hospitality of its cosy pubs including The Gatehouse, The Flask, The Angel, The Red Lion & Sun, The Wrestlers and The Prince of Wales. However it is Highgate’s Victorian Gothic cemetery, famous for its mausoleums, catacombs and the tombs of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Christina Rossetti which have given it world renown.
There is a delightful mixture of independent shops, pubs and cafes centre in the short Georgian High Street behind which is the charming Pond Square which hosts the popular Summer Fair. Also on the Square is the thriving Highgate Society and a unique Literary & Scientific Institution incorporating a private subscription library, reading room and lecture hall.
Highgate offers favourable journey times into Central London and the City. Located on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line, Highgate underground is only 16 minutes to the West End and 19 minutes to London’s financial heart. Buses run frequently from Highgate Village and Highgate Station with five routes covering a large area of North and Central London and destinations including Brent Cross, Moorgate, King’s Cross/St Pancras and Swiss Cottage. Highgate’s close proximity to the A1 ensures easy access to M25 and Heathrow, Stanstead and Luton Airports.
Schools in Highgate
Highgate Village offers excellent educational opportunities with two top private schools, Highgate School (co-educational day school for ages 3-18) and Channing (girls day school for ages 4-18). There are also two well regarded primaries, St Michael’s and Highgate Primary, plus Montessori and nursery schools in Pond Square.