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The Flask

Dating back to the 15th century, this pub’s floor (like that of St Michael’s nearby) is said to be level with the cross of St Paul's Cathedral. Good food, popular Sunday roasts and real ales are served in an atmospheric set of rooms with leaded windows, usually crowded with regulars.

77 Highgate West Hill N6

Tel: +44 (0)20 8340 7260

Waterlow Park

Bequeathed by Sir Sidney Waterlow in 1889 as a ‘garden for the gardenless’, this 20-acre park has a café, three ponds, six tennis courts and popular play areas for children. Lauderdale House, inside the park, is an arts and exhibition centre, while summer sees outdoor theatre and music performances.

Highgate Hill/Swains Lane N6
www.waterlowpark.org.uk

Highgate Wood

Pronounced ‘an open space forever’ by the Mayor in 1886, this is a last remnant of the Middlesex Forest that once covered London. A night-time bat walk will introduce you to some of its denizens, which include foxes, squirrels and many species of birds. The Pavilion Cafe offers snacks in a lovely garden setting.

Muswell Hill Road N10

In Georgian times, winter snows could cut Highgate off from London. Although the coming of the railway made travel more reliable, the area retains the air of a country village, with its village green and pond still intact.

Tube: Highgate

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Highgate

Pond Square

Hidden away behind the high street (these steps, right, are one way down) is a pretty square, said to be haunted by a chicken. A frozen chicken, that is, the subject of an early experiment in freezing food, using snow, by Sir Francis Bacon in 1626. Sir Francis died in Highgate, but whether it was from eating defrosted chicken is unknown.

Pond Square N6

Dick Whittington’s Cat

Sir Richard Whittington – now more famous for his role in pantomimes – was a real person. The story goes that, as a young man, he (and his cat) heard the bells of London from here telling him to 'turn again’ and try his luck in the City one last time after a series of failures – he ended up as Lord Mayor three times.

Highgate Hill N6

Highgate Cemetery

This Grade II Listed site holds the graves of Faraday, Karl Marx and George Eliot among many other famous names. Because of its popularity with the living, visitors are strictly regulated. See the website below for full details of how to apply.

Swain's Lane N6
Tel: +44 (0)20  8340 1834
www.highgate-cemetery.org

St Michael’s

Sitting higher than any other London church, St Michael’s outstanding neo-Gothic style dates to 1831 – not as old as it looks. Inside is a monument to former parishioner Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the English poet famous for ‘Kubla Khan’ and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. The east window is a 1950s work by Evie Hone.

South Grove N6
Website

The Gatehouse

Claimed as the oldest pub in Highgate, with a licensed building on the site dating to 1337, although the first mention is ‘only’ 1670. Its name comes from its position next to a former tollgate. The upstairs hall, in which Paul Simon once played, is now a fringe musical theatre.

1 North Road N6
Tel: +44 (0)20 8340 3488
www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com/

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Jacksons Lane
Community Centre

This converted Victorian church is North London’s leading arts centre. You can see dance theatre, comedy, music and circus shows, or join in classes in dance, yoga or other arts. Download a brochure of current events using the weblink below.

269a Archway Road N6
Tel: +44 (0)20 8341 4421
www.jacksonslane.org.uk

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St Joseph’s

The dome of this  weighs some 2,000 tons and is 130ft above the level of the cross of St Paul's. The mosaic paving in the sanctuary is made from material from the bed of the River Severn and is more costly than marble. The hand painted ceiling by Nathaniel Westlake in 1891 is said to be one of his finest works.

Highgate Hill N19
www.stjosephshighgate.org.uk

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High Tea

Loose-leaf tea and freshly-baked scones, cakes and sponges make this the perfect stop for afternoon tea. This cosy shop also sells china cups and teapots, aprons, tea towels and other tea-related items. The staff are so nice, they even offer good coffee if you prefer.

50 Highgate High Street N6
Tel: +44 (0)20 8348 3162
www.highteaofhighgate.com

The Highgate Society

Anyone with an interest in Highgate should visit this vibrant society’s offices. Next door is the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution, whose Victoria Hall houses an ornate royal coat of arms presented to a local publican for saving Queen Victoria when her carriage horses bolted down Highgate Hill.

10a South Grove N6
www.highgatesociety.com