London | An Autumn Visit to West Highgate Cemetery

 I hope you are all well and enjoy the autumn if you are based in the Northern hemisphere.

A few weeks ago I went to visit West Highgate Cemetery in North London to roam the leafy, ancient avenues of this Victorian cemetery. The cemetery opened in 1839 and there are many well-preserved graves dated back to the mid 19th century.

As I wandered down these old leafy paths, I stopped at random tombstones and read the names of the souls whose remains were buried there. I paid particular attention to the dates when they were born and died, as well as to any additional words that were engraved in their tombstone. The grave with the sculpture of a faithful doggy drew my attention [you can see it on the picture below]…. I found it profoundly moving.

West Highgate Cemetery is a beautiful, inexplicably calming and nostalgic place to visit and to reminisce about the past and those who walked these grounds before us. If you ever in London, I would highly recommend you to visit it.

Two quotes from Steve Goodier and Carlos Ruiz Zafon came to my mind when reflecting on my experience wandering around West Highgate Cemetery:

“The only people I am aware of who don’t have troubles are gathered in peaceful, little neighbourhoods. There is never a care, never a moment of stress and never an obstacle to ruin a day. All is calm. All is serene. Most towns have at least one such worry-free zone. We call them cemeteries. “
– Steve Goodier
[when speaking about the cemetery]
“Memories of hundreds of people lie here. Their lives, their feelings, their expectations, their absence, their dreams that never came true for them, the disappointments, the deceptions and the unrequited loves that poisoned their existence… All that is here, trapped for ever. “
– Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


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  1. This is where Karl Marx is buried isn’t it? I wonder how on earth Malcolm McLaren was buried there as I thought the cemetery was closed years ago. Wonderfully moody photos!!

    1. Karl is buried in East Highgate Cemetery just across the street from West Highgate Cemetery. East Highgate is also very nice but not as atmospheric as West Highgate Cemetery. In the past you could nit roam freely in West Highgate Cemetery (only with a guide) but because of Pandemic they allowed people to book a times entry to West Highgate Cemetery. So, it is the first time since a long time you can easily visit West Highgate. West Highgate is more Victorian, more atmospheric, it is also a nature reserve. It s a wonderful place to visit during the autumn and apparently also dutlring the winter 🌹🙏💜🙏

      1. Hope you can visit it one day. There is another one called Tower Hamlets Cemetery in Mile End in East London worth visiting. It inspired W. G. SEBALD to write Austerlitz. He used pictures from that cemetery and included them in the book. Very interesting and it has a similar atmosphere to West Highgate Cemetery. You can combine your cemetery visit with visit to the London Library or Dennis Severes’House and you ll have a delightful day 🍁🍂🍁😊😊🙏🌹

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