Highgate’s West Cemetery is the famous half of the cemetery and normally it’s open for guided tours only, but at the moment, weekends are open to freely wander around.

The West Cemetery is home to the impressive architectural features of Highgate Cemetery — the Chapel, Colonnade, Egyptian Avenue, Circle of Lebanon, Terrace Catacombs and the mausoleum of Julius Beer.

So if you fancy a covid secure wander around a mix of architecture wrapped up in nature, then — so long as you’re local, or Tier 4 is relaxed — then winter is, to my mind, one of the best times to visit, with the depths revealed by the baren trees and the soft squelch of mud underfoot.

The cemetery is also on a steep hill, which gives it a very atmospheric air to the landscape as you wander through narrow canyons of the dead.

This is still an operational cemetery and they ask that visitors respect the privacy of those visiting graves by moving away from the area and keeping noise to a minimum. They also ask that you don’t take photographs of recent graves, or of anyone visiting them, which is perfectly sensible advice when visiting any cemetery.

The open days are running every weekend until the end of January.

Timed entry is between 10:15am and 2:45pm, with the cemetery closing at 4pm. Tickets cost £10 per adult and must be booked in advance here. If for some reason you don’t see the questions that should pop up, then read the H&S briefing here.

The price includes entry into the East Cemetery as well — the one with Karl Marx in it.

Tickets will not be sold at the Cemetery. Do not turn up without a ticket as you will be refused entry.

Some photos from a recent visit

Visit tips

They hand out a map and guide if you’re dead-celeb hunting, but otherwise amble around getting delightfully lost in the winding paths.

Wear decent shoes for walking in the countryside with decent tread on the sole (no smooth soles) as some of the slopes can be slippery when wet.

There’s a toilet in the East Cemetery if you need it, and entry to the East cemetery is part of the ticket price.

When leaving, head south down Swain’s lane to see the oddest housing estate ever, looking more like a council estate built in mock-tudor blocks.

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One comment
  1. Jennifer says:

    Good tip about the housing estate visit! I went on a tour of it some years back on a stinking hot summer day.

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