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Highgate Cemetery in London

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This post provides all the information you’ll need to visit Highgate Cemetery.

We include details about how to get here, ticket prices, tours, famous gravestones in the cemetery, and more.

Let's dig in (pun intended)!


Overview

This historic cemetery is the final resting place of over 170,000 people in North London, and it is considered one of the “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries in the city. 

Due to the variety of wildlife that can be spotted here, Highgate Cemetery is also considered a de facto nature reserve. 

There are several famous people buried here, including former Lord Mayors, beloved musicians, notable writers, important philosophers, and more.

Highgate Cemetery Egyptian Entrance.

You must pay for admission to the cemetery, and they are currently providing entry via timed tickets.

You can also purchase tickets for tours of the cemetery which cover some of the more notable burials and history of this location.

Highgate Cemetery is currently open daily from 10 am - 5 pm, but this could change depending on restrictions imposed by the government due to Covid-19.

All visitors taking a guided tour must wear a mask. If you plan on a self-guided visit, you must practice social distance protocols and keep at least 2 metres apart from other visitors whenever possible.


How to Get Here

Highgate Cemetery is located at Swain’s Lane, London N6 6PJ. This site is just north of Camden Town and right next to Waterlow Park. You can use this map for directions from anywhere in London.

There is a bus stop near the bottom end of the cemetery on Swain’s Lane which services line C11

Alternatively, there is also a stop at Waterlow Park on Highgate High Street. This stop is close to a path that will take you directly to the gates of Highgate Cemetery.

Bus lines 143, 210, and 271 service this stop.

Highgate Cemetery Map | How to Get to Highgate Cemetery

The closest tube station is at Archway, which is southeast of the cemetery.

This location is far enough away that we recommend hopping on either the 143 or 271 at the station and taking it up to the Waterlow Park bus stop.

The Highgate tube station is quite far from this part of town, and it can take 40 minutes or more to walk from there to the Highgate Cemetery. This can be confusing given the name of the station, so make sure to stop at Archway instead.

For more information about using public transport to get here, check our post covering how to use the London Underground.


Tickets

Highgate Cemetery is split into both an East section and a West section, each requiring its own ticket.

While you can buy tickets to the East Cemetery alone, admission to the West cemetery includes access to both.

East Cemetery Ticket Prices

  • £4.50/Adults
  • £0.50/Child (8-17)
  • Free for kids under 8

West and East Cemetery Ticket Prices

  • £10/Adults
  • £6/Child (8-17)
  • Free for kids under 8

Tickets are not sold at the cemetery, so you must purchase them ahead of time online.

Purchase tickets or learn more.


Guided Tours

As of August 2021, there are not currently any guided tours of the East Cemetery.

However, there are guided tours of the West Cemetery which include admission to both the West and East Cemetery.

Due to the pandemic, guided tours are limited to just 10 people and you are required to wear a mask on the tour.

Guests can expect to learn about both the history of the cemetery and its occupants. You can also watch our virtual tour at the top of this page.

Outside shot of the gates to the Egyptian Avenue at Highgate Cemetery.

West Cemetery Guided Tour Ticket Prices

  • £14/Adults
  • £7/Child (8-17)
  • Children under 8 cannot be accommodated.

The West Cemetery Guided Tour is 70 minutes long and includes steep paths, so it is recommended to wear appropriate footwear with good tread.

Still photography via handheld cameras is allowed, but filming is not permitted on the tour. Full refunds will be offered if any unforeseen problems cause them to cancel your tour.

There are also tours offered for visitors who are hearing impaired. These outings are offered by their volunteer John Wilson, who is a native user of British Sign Language.

British Sign Language Tour Ticket Prices

  • £12/Adults
  • £6/Child (8-17)
  • Children under 8 cannot be accommodated.

The British Sign Language Tour of West Cemetery is also 70 minutes long, and it is offered simultaneously in BSL and spoken English. Tours run only on selected weekends.

If you’re looking for an alternative, you can always enjoy our free virtual tour of Highgate Cemetery!


Famous People Buried at Highgate Cemetery

There are far too many famous people buried here to list them all, but we’ll give you a handful of names to look for while you’re visiting this historic cemetery.


Karl Marx (East Cemetery)

This is arguably the most notable gravesite in the entire cemetery. Marx was a very important philosopher, economist, and political theorist.

Karl Marx gravesite and headstone in Highgate Cemetery.

That all being said, it’s inarguable that his two works The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital would eventually become his most influential contributions to the world.

Love him or hate him, Marx is definitely one of the most significant people buried at Highgate Cemetery.


Douglas Adams (East Cemetery)

Adams was one of the finest satirists of modern times, working on several science fiction projects which have been incredibly influential to the genre.

Although he did write two stories of the classic BBC television show Doctor Who, Douglas Adams was probably best known for his book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

He also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which has since been adapted into its own television show.


Henry Gray (West Cemetery)

Although he worked mostly as an anatomist and surgeon, Henry’s name would live on through a significant book he published entitled Gray’s Anatomy.

Although the name of this book was an inspiration for the show Grey’s Anatomy, this book was actually one of the most respected works describing human anatomy, and it was used to educate many generations of doctors and surgeons.


Michael Faraday (West Cemetery)

Faraday was an important scientist who contributed to modern scientific understanding of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

If you’ve ever heard of a Faraday Cage, this is the man you have to thank for discovering its existence. Due to his discovery, we learned that electricity is not a fluid, but rather a force.


George Michael (West Cemetery)

Anyone born before the year 1990 will probably be at least a little familiar with the musical work of George Michael.

He got his start in the band Wham!, known mostly for their hits Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Last Christmas.

Michael would also go on to have a fairly successful solo career with songs like Careless Whisper and Faith. He also performed Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me as a duet with Elton John.


Bob Hoskins (West Cemetery)

Hoskins was an accomplished actor who starred in several notable and beloved films, but most people nowadays would probably recognize him for his starring role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

He also played none other than Mario in Super Mario Bros. and had significant roles in films like Hook, Nixon, Mermaids, and more.


Other Notable Burials

  • Sir Charles Cowper (Premier of New South Wales)
  • Alfred Lamert Dickens (Younger brother of the author, Charles)
  • Catherine, John, and Elizabeth Dickens (wife and parents of Charles Dickens)
  • Jane Arden (director, actor, screenwriter)
  • Beryl Bainbridge (author)
  • Alexander Litvinenko (Russian dissident, murdered by poison)
  • George Eliot (Pen-name of Mary Ann Evans, novelist)
  • Patrick Caulfield (pop artist)
  • Sheila Gish (Actress)
  • Dachine Rainer (port)
  • Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols)
  • Stella Gibbons (author of Cold Comfort Farm)

The Highgate Vampire and Vampire Connections

In the 1970s, rumors began to spread that there was supernatural activity taking place at Highgate Cemetery. 

Starting in the 60s, occultists had been visiting other graveyards and cemeteries in London and desecrating various burial sites, supposedly looking for a vampire.

Old overgrown section of Highgate Cemetery.

One such event took place at the Tottenham Park Cemetery on Halloween night in 1968.

During this event, a coffin was found with an iron stake shaped like a cross driven through the lid and into the chest of the person inside. 

This sparked public interest in vampires, and in February of 1970, a man named David Farrant reported that he had seen a “grey figure” in Highgate Cemetery on December 24th, 1969.

Many people reported seeing all kinds of supernatural activity in the cemetery after this report, and on March 13th (Friday the 13th), a man named Sean Manchester held an exorcism on the site.

This inspired a mob of “vampire hunters” to show up in search of supernatural baddies to confront. Months after the mob, the charred remains of a body were found nearby.

A week or two after that incident police found Farrant carrying a crucifix and wooden stake in a churchyard by Highgate Cemetery.

Although he was arrested, the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence of wrongdoing.

Just a few days later, Manchester returned to Highgate and planned to drive a stake through the body of a potential vampire, but instead, he left garlic and incense -- likely to avoid any criminal charges.

The tale of the Highgate Vampire has inspired many stories since, including the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing film Dracula AD 1972. The Highgate Vampire was also featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Highgate Cemetery is often cited as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it’s also speculated to be the location of Lucy’s tomb in the book.

Due to its significance in the vampire lore, Highgate Cemetery has been featured in several other British horror films including Tales from the Crypt, From Beyond the Grave, and Taste the Blood of Dracula.

Highgate Cemetery is also the setting used for the sixth level of the video game Nightmare Creatures, and it was the inspiration for the setting of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Whether or not there actually was (or is) a Highgate Vampire, it’s clear that the atmosphere of this historic cemetery has inspired many creative minds to come up with wonderfully spooky tales about the possibility.

If you’re interested in learning more about the creepy and potentially supernatural history of this city, consider taking either a London Ghost Tour or a Jack the Ripper tour.


About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: November 23rd, 2021
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