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Highgate: North London’s village retreat

Highgate’s handsome period homes, cosy pubs, and rustic green spaces create a bucolic setting in urban surroundings.

Highgate: North London’s Village Retreat

“Highgate Village : housing terrace, West Hill” by Julian Osley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The word “village” is often bandied about to describe some of London’s more peaceful urban nooks and crannies. But there is one place where this overused description rings true: Highgate. They call the heart of this leafy corner of north London “the village” for good reason – from the rustic pubs that would not look out of place in the Cotswolds to the jaw-dropping Georgian-style manor houses and romantic cottages. Skirting the east side of Hampstead Heath, Highgate is not only one of London’s quaintest spots; it is one of its highest points too, affording spectacular views south across the UK capital.

The area’s reputation as a haunt for the bohemian intelligentsia – Charles Dickens, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Betjemen once called it home – has been replaced by a close association with a new kind of high-profile resident: the celebrity elite – Jamie Oliver and Kate Moss to name just two. Their neighbours are typically affluent professionals, City workers and families that have worked their way up the northwest London property ladder – for whom stunning historic properties, outstanding schools and bucolic surroundings are a must.

Transport links

  • Tube: Highgate tube station is a 10-minute walk from the village, while Archway is a short bus ride down the hill – both stations are on the Northern line.
  • Bus: popular bus routes that serve the local area include the 271 to Moorgate, the 43 to Tottenham Court Road and the 134 to London Bridge.
  • Road: Archway Road, just east of Highgate village, is on the A1 – a major artery out of London.

Property scene

Highgate is famed architecturally for its stylish properties from the Georgian period when the area became fashionable as a rural retreat for wealthy City workers – a demographic it still attracts today. However, the variety of homes around here is surprisingly diverse – from Victorian mansions and large Edwardian houses to comfortable twenties and thirties homes and new-builds.

Average property price in Highgate: £732,113

Average rental price in Highgate: £381 per week

Local schools

  • Primary: most state primary schools in the area are judged to be ‘good’ by Ofsted, including St Michael’s C of E Voluntary Aided Primary School and Highgate Primary School. The one Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school is St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Highgate Hill.
  • Secondary: there is a selection of Ofsted rated ‘good’ secondary schools in the local area for children aged 11 to 18: La Sainte Union RC School (girls), William Ellis School (boys), Parliament Hill School (girls), and Acland Burghley School (co-ed).
  • Private: two private all-through schools are located here: Highgate School (co-ed, ages three to 18) and Channing School (girls, ages three to 18).

Things to do

  • Shopping: Highgate village is not famed for its shopping – but that is more of a blessing than an inconvenience, helping the area to retain its olde-worlde charm. What it does have in true village style, however, is a local butcher, greengrocers, delicatessen, and bookshop.
  • Outdoor space:
    • Highgate borders one of London’s most iconic green spaces: Hampstead Heath – a wild park of woodland, meadows, spectacular views and even swimming ponds.
    • Highgate Woods is home to 70 acres of ancient woodland that was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.
    • Waterlow Park is a pretty 26-acre verdant expanse that borders Highgate Cemetery – a popular attraction for visitors who come to see its prominent permanent residents, such as Karl Marx.
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