Perched at London’s highest natural point, Highgate offers residents the suburban high life, without having to venture too far from the centre of town. Once a small village on the Great North Road, the laid-back vibe can still make it feel like one today.
Highgate’s tree-lined streets are dominated by detached Victorian properties and terraced houses, with a mix of cottages and little mews streets. The most prestigious part of the village features town houses, grand mansions in vast grounds, gated properties and private estates.
Courtenay Avenue, a gated private road located off Hampstead Lane, is home to a number of imposing detached mansions. The avenue topped the list of the UK’s most expensive streets in 2008, when average properties sold for £6,803,900.
The quiet life in Highgate seems to attract the rich and famous – keep your eyes peeled for Sting, Annie Lennox and George Michael. Yesterday’s famous names attract the most visitors though; the atmospheric Highgate Cemetery is the final resting place for Karl Marx, George Eliot and many more.
Hampstead Heath, with its acres of woodland, bathing ponds and panoramic views of London, is right on the doorstep, making this a great choice for lovers of the outdoors. In fact it’s probably the closest you’ll get to country life within the boundaries of the M25… The High Street has retained a village feel, and here you will find a number of unique boutiques, and some excellent pubs and coffee shops.
Highgate School has an excellent reputation as a private mixed school. Channing School is a school for girls aged four to eighteen with an equally good reputation for both academic and extra-curricular activities.
A couple of useful bus routes serve Highgate and both Archway and Highgate Northern Line Underground stations are only a short walk away.
In the 17th century, unsuspecting coach passengers stopping for refreshments would be sworn in as Freemen of Highgate – having first bought appropriate quantities of alcohol – in a boundary ceremony known as Swearing on the Horns.
What the agents say
“A truly delightful place to live: warm and vibrant, with a small village feeling. Although the views from the top of the hill are far-reaching, and span several counties, you are still within easy reach of the City and West End,” Mark Sumray of Benham & Reeves
A huge thank you to Fabric Magazine for providing this article. For more Area Guides visit www.fabric.co.uk