Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetery, London

I have already confessed my love of old cemeteries. If I were to rate the old cemeteries I had seen on a scale of 1 to 10, Highgate Cemetery in London would be an 11. It is a beautiful and eerie place to wander through.

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It is divided into two sections, east and west. The East Cemetery can be roamed freely for a small entrance charge. You may take as long as you like to look at the graves there. Some of the notable people who are buried there are Karl Marx, author Douglas Adams, and George Eliot.

The West Cemetery can only be viewed while taking a guided tour. We did this and it was fascinating. The guide explained what all the symbols of the grave markers meant. For instance, a broken column symbolized a life that had been cut short. And there was the stunning Egyptian Avenue, a circular arrangement of tombs topped by a majestic Cedar tree. The West Cemetery has such notable residents as the wife and parents of Charles Dickens, and actress Jean Simmons.

I read that there are 53,000 graves at Highgate… but that there are 170,000 people buried there. In walking through the grounds, you certainly do get the feeling of it being crowded. In any given location, you could see grave markers five or six deep, some of them leaning precariously as tree roots have grown under them and have knocked them off center.

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If, like me, you enjoy the beauty of an old cemetery, Highgate should be on your short list of places to visit.

Highgate Cemetery is located at Swain’s Lane, London N6 6PJ. Please note that the closest tube station is Archway, not Highate.

 

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