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October 2021 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

Highgate

Perched high above the Capital, Highgate is the quintessential English village, with a pretty Georgian high street that is fiercely protected by local conservation body, The Highgate Society. Just five miles from central London, with its 28 hectares of wild woodland and enviable Heathside location, local residents have the best of all worlds.

Photography by Georgia Watson

Meet the locals

Suzi Kalms
Manager, Hair of the Dog

“Highgate has been my home for the last 18 years and I have grown to love its wonderful variety of walks, pubs, local shops and cafés. My day usually begins with a gorgeous stroll to Hampstead Heath, around Kenwood House and the ponds with my two dogs, Parker and Rizzle. I sometimes meet friends and their dogs for a gossip and a catch up; Kenwood House’s brilliant café is a perfect place to stop for breakfast. 

My go-to for an essential morning flat white is Caffè Nero in the village, I grab one to drink as I walk to work, stopping to chat to various locals on my way. I run Hair of the Dog boutique and groomers on the high street. The go-to shop for all your doggy needs, we sell a fantastic selection of dog collars and leads, designer beds and accessories as well as food and treats for dogs and cats. Our groomers have been super busy since the start of the pandemic with so many locals getting puppies. You will often spot some of our furry friends stopping by the front door of the shop to get a tasty doggy treat and a cuddle from me. 

When I have a break in the day I always love to support our local shops. The Highgate Butchers is fabulous – their meat is superb accompanied by some fresh additions from Greens of Highgate. If you’re into gin, especially when it is made locally, you should definitely check out Sacred Gin on the high street; it’s always fun going in and sampling a gin or two! 

Aside from gin, I’m a frozen margarita girl – it’s the perfect drink at the end of a busy day. If you’re a fan, I highly recommend you swing by the Red Lion and Sun, where you certainly won’t be disappointed. The food here is always delicious, too. Highgate really is a special place. They say ‘home is where the heart is’ and mine is very much here.

24 Highgate High Street, N6 (020 8340 4030; hairofthedoglondon.com)

Streethearts

Fitzroy Park
Some of the area’s finest homes are set on this quiet, countrified lane that meanders down from the centre of the village to the Heath’s edge

The Grove
Highgate is famous for its Georgian architecture, and some of the best examples are on this pretty street, which was once home to George Michael

Hillway
This smart boulevard of 1930s family homes runs through the centre of the Holly Lodge Estate, and is perfectly placed for Swain’s Lane, the Village and the Heath

Local Heroes

Village Deli, N6
For Annie May from Chancellors, longevity is a sure sign of a beloved local hero – as is keeping it in the family. “Village Deli has been in Highgate for 25 years and is the longest standing family run business in the village,” she says. “The women who run the deli make you feel so welcome and the level of service given is just outstanding. The food is amazing and the coffee is certainly better than Costa! I love it.” Situated just north of the verdant Waterlow Park, why not grab a freshly prepared sandwich and enjoy a little jaunt.

8 South Grove, N6 (020 8348 7279) 

The Bull, N6
Benham & Reeves’ Chris Cooper describes The Bull as “an independent gastropub with a difference. It’s a pet-friendly local favourite with its own on-site brewery and a location on one of Highgate’s lovely, tree-lined main thoroughfares,” he says. “A menu of seasonal delights is expertly cooked and served with particular emphasis on the superb Sunday roast. The Bull is especially great for dropping in for a pint after an afternoon ramble on Hampstead Heath.” We’d call that nothing short of idyllic. Don’t forget to bring your furry friend.

13 North Hill, N6 (020 8341 0510; thebullhighgate.co.uk)

Sacred Distillery, N6 

“Established in 2008, this is a family run, award-winning boutique gin distillery and tasting shop,” says Mark Sumray from Dexters. “Proving popular with locals and internationals alike, it’s the perfect place to purchase a gift – or to test your taste buds! The staff are knowledgeable and helpful and work with organically sourced botanicals to produce a selection of gins, vodkas, whiskies and plenty more.” For true gin lovers, Sacred also offers in-house workshops teaching all you needto know about making your own. Chin chin!

50 Highgate High Street, N6 (020 8340 2817; sacredgin.com) 

Say what?

Wander around Highgate Cemetery and you’ll come across some very famous names – Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams all found their final resting place in the iconic cemetery. It’s also the burial spot of Alexander Litvinenko, perhaps the most famous murder victim of our time. The former Russian spy was poisoned with a cup of tea at a Mayfair hotel in 2006. His body is buried 12ft-deep in a lead lined coffin, to prevent visitors suffering radioactive poisoning.