A day out a cemetery may not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, but for Highgate Cemetery, you might want to make an exception. Following an 1832 Act that encouraged the building of private cemeteries outside of the City of London, seven major cemeteries were built – including Highgate, in 1839.
Originally run by a private company, the cemetery fell into disrepair in 1970 which led to its new carers ‘The Friends of Highgate Cemetery’ taking over the day-to-day running of things, from 1975 up to the present day.
Today, you can go and witness Highgate Cemetery in all its crumbling glory. Several of its catacombs are Grade II-listed (English Heritage has even pronounced the site as a whole Grade I-listed), and there’s a number of famous remains within the cemetery's grounds, including poet Christina Rossetti and architect Sir Lawrence Weaver.
Open daily expect Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the East Cemetery is where visitors may roam freely (once they've paid the admission fee), and try to find Karl Marx’s grave hidden away. The West Cemetery is only accessible by guided tour, which must be booked in advance. However, don’t think that it will be purely a morbid affair - the history of the site and the architecture alone are enough to take your mind of the fact you’re essentially wandering around a very large graveyard.
|Venue name:||Highgate Cemetery|
|Opening hours:||Mar-Oct: 10am-5pm Mon-Fri (last admission 4.30pm); 11am-5pm Sat-Sun (last admission 4.30pm); Nov-Feb: 10am-4pm Mon-Fri (last admission 3.30pm); 11am-4pm Sat-Sun (last admission 3.30pm)|
|Price:||East Cemetery: £4, under-18s free; West Cemetery: By tour only £12, £6 under-18s, under-eights not admitted (incl entry to East Cemetery)|
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The Cemetery are now running their tour of the western cemetery throughout the winter and we had a chance to see it on a frosty afternoon last week. - fabulous.
Both the East and West cemeteries are fascinating. If you're thinking about visiting both, it's worth investigating becoming a Friend of Highgate Cemetery, which you may discover works out cheaper.