About Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery is a graveyard in London where the famous philosopher and political economist Karl Marx is buried. It is also the burial site of many other prominent people, including several novelists, artists, political activists, and professionals. A list of famous internments can be found on Highgate Cemetery’s website.
Guided tours of the East Cemetery, where Marx is interned, take place at 2.15pm on the first Saturday of each month, and last around an hour.
Address: Swain’s Ln, London N6 6PJ, United Kingdom
Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 5 pm
Phone: +44 20 8340 1834
Burials: George Michael, Mahchehreh Khalili, MORE
Find a Grave: East, West
Size: 15 hectares (37 acres)
Established: 1839; 184 years ago
Owned by: Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust
No. of graves: 53,000+
History of Highgate Cemetery
There are few burial places in the whole of Britain that are as famous and evocative as Highgate Cemetery. In its original form – the north-western wooded area – the cemetery was opened in 1839 as part of a plan to provide seven large and modern cemeteries, now known as the ‘Magnificent Seven’, around the outside of central London.
There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the East and West Cemeteries.
The site is known for its elaborate Neo-Gothic tombs, sculpted stone angels, and foreboding mausoleums, and as such, has been branded a ‘Victorian Valhalla’.
Indeed, during the Victorian period, the cemetery was a hugely popular and fashionable burial site, with Victorian attitudes to death and burial leading to a huge wealth of Gothic tombs.
By the end of World War II, however, the cemetery was overgrown and in serious disrepair, with occult, vampire, and horror fans circulating rumours about a possible ‘Highgate Vampire’, and the horror film production company Studio Hammer making it the setting for some of their films in the 1970s.
the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust was set up in 1975, and is responsible for the upkeep of the site.
Highgate Cemetery Today
Today, the Cemetery is a highly popular destination for those with an interest in history and architecture. The grounds are full of trees, shrubbery, and wildflowers, most of which have been planted and grown without human influence.
The West Highgate section, which is the most overgrown, can only be visited on a guided tour. The East Highgate section, however, including the grave of Karl Marx, can be explored on your own, but you need to pay an entrance fee. The cemetery gates are open to visitors daily from 10 am to 4 or 5 pm, depending on the season.
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
- £0.50/Child (8-17)
- Free for kids under 8
West and East Cemetery Ticket Prices
- £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.
West Cemetery Guided Tour Ticket Prices
- £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
- £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.
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)
Why Visit Highgate Cemetery?
Highgate Cemetery is the final resting place of many notable writers, musicians, philosophers and some rather well-off individuals. It has incredible architecture, mausoleums, and individual graves amongst an eerie gothic setting. In other words, why wouldn’t you visit.
While both sides of the cemetery now accommodate self-guided visitors (it used to be that you could only access the West Cemetery on a tour), the West Cemetery still has off-limit areas and is best experienced with a guide.
If you only want to visit one part of the cemetery (tickets are sold separately for both), opt for the West, which is home to Highgate Cemetery’s most impressive architectural features including the Chapel, Colonnade, Egyptian Avenue, Circle of Lebanon, Terrace Catacombs and the mausoleum of Julius Beer.
If you hope to visit a specific grave, contact the cemetery before making your booking to arrange a custom tour.
Getting to Highgate Cemetery
From Kings Cross St. Pancras, the cemetery is reachable in around half an hour via the Northern Line underground tube to Archway. By car, it takes around 20 minutes via A5203, though parking may be somewhat limited. For those who would like a walk through central London, the cemetery is around an hour by foot from the centre, via Highgate Road.
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.
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.
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.