Hampstead to Highgate
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
This wonderful walk explores stunning Hamstead Heath, one of London’s many great parks. This walk stops by overgrown Highgate Cemetery, home to many famous people including Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, George Eliot, and punk's Malcolm McLaren, finishing up with a lovely stroll through the quaint village of Highgate.
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Route Description for Hampstead to Highgate
Starting at the Hampstead Heath Overland Train Station, turn right and cross the street and enter Hampstead Heath.
Hampstead Heath offers a taste of Britain’s beautiful countryside from within the city. The area includes different recreational and sports facilities such as a swimming pool and several playgrounds. It is also one of the city's best areas for wildlife.
The area of Hampstead itself started out as a quiet Saxon village. In the late seventeenth century, wealthy people began to move to the village from London to escape city life. Hampstead then became a spa town in the eighteenth century after its spring water was allegedly found to possess medicinal properties. In 1852, the council built a railway station to make it easier to commute to London. This contributed to Hampstead becoming an affluent suburb of London by the late nineteenth century. Today, the village is known for the host of famous literary figures who once lived here, including the poet William Keats.
Continue walking north through Hampstead Heath until you get to Hampstead No 1 Pond. Go around the left edge of No 1 Pond and continue ahead to Hampstead No 2 Pond. After you pass No 2 Pond walk to the right, over the bridge, and continue straight up Parliament Hill Viewpoint. Parliament Hill Viewpoint offers some spectacular views of the surrounding city suburbs.
From Parliament Hill Viewpoint, we suggest walking north (left from parliament hill) and walking around Hampstead Heath. There is a lot to discover.
Eventually you will reach a broad path at the edge of the woods that goes to your right (east). Follow this path as it takes you to a bridge between Bird Sanctuary Pond and Model Boating Pond. Cross over the bridge and go right. Take a moment to sit down and enjoy this stunning view, it is so tranquil.
Continue past Model Boating Pond to Highgate Men's Bathing Pond, an open-air bathing pond for men only. The Kenwood Ladies Bathing Pond is north of the Model Boating Pond, past Bird Sanctuary Pond. Swimming in these cold-water ponds can be a pretty special experience, though the water can be bracing. Get there at opening and enjoy sunrise from your cold-water swim!
At the end of Highgate Men’s Bathing pond go right in between the Bathing Pond and Highgate No 1 Pond and then go left around the pond and continuing to go left as you exit Hampstead Heath. Here you pass Bistro Laz, a great local restaurant offering Turkish and Italian dishes. Across Highgate Road is Carob Tree, a good Greek restaurant.
The next part of the walk is along Swain’s Lane, to the right of Carob Tree. It is not as spectacular as the walk through Hamstead, but it does allow you to see ordinary life in Northern London. Follow Swain's Lane for 800 m. You can find Highgate Cemetery on your left, which is an experience that is definitely worth your time to explore.
Highgate Cemetery is home to the graves of several well-known people, including George Eliot, Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, and Patrick Caulfield. These graves, and many others, can be found in the East Cemetery. The West Cemetery includes Highgate Cemetery's best architectural features, such as Egyptian Avenue, Terrace Catacombs, Colonnade, Circle of Lebanon, and the Chapel. These can only be seen as part of a seventy-minute guided tour. Tickets for the tour are twelve pounds for adults and six pounds for children eight and older.
After visiting Highgate Cemetery, turn right onto the path just after the cemetery and enter Waterlow Park. This is a fun park to walk through, and once in the park go left and walk north. You are aiming for the Northern exit onto Highgate High Street. Across the exit is the Duke’s Head, a great pub if you want to stop for a drink.
Go left on Highgate High Street and walk down this fun village high street. Highgate village is filled with café’s, pubs and restaurants, and impressive eighteenth-century architecture. The village started out on a hill on the edge of the estate of the Bishop of London. The area dotted with elm trees and ponds was first known as Highgate Hill. In the late seventeenth-century, men from the city started to commission houses to be built in this area.
Continue on Highgate High Street for 350 m then take a right onto North Road. Along North Road, you will pass The Red Lion & Sun, a public house that features two beer gardens and a daily changing menu.
A few minutes past the Red Lion, go right on a path when you see The Wrestlers Pub or Kiplings Indian Restaurant. Kiplings offers a contemporary take on traditional Indian dishes while the Wrestlers is a pub that dates back to the sixteenth-century and features stained glass and period fireplaces.
Walk for 120 m along the path and turn left onto Southwood Lane. Continue on Southwood Lane for 300 m before taking a right at Archway Road. Walk down Archway Road to end at Highgate Station. The Food Room on Archway Road by the station is a great little café to grab something healthy to eat after your walk should you wish.
Insider Hints for Hampstead to Highgate
- The village of Hampstead is a great place to explore, but isn’t on this walk. If you want to explore Hampstead more, start at Hampstead Tube station and explore London's picturesque Hampstead, a wonderfully preserved Georgian village. Narrow streets with cobblestone paths lead through a charming neighborhood filled with quaint shops, cafes, and pubs.
- Definitely bring a picnic for Hampstead Heath, it is glorious on a summer day.
- Some locals share concern about wandering around Hampstead Heath after dusk. We suggest this walk during the day.
- Swimming in Hampstead Heath is very cold, but also a very memorable experience. If you don’t want to brave swimming in Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond, there is the Parliament Hill Lido, which is south of Parliament Hill viewpoint.
- Hampstead Heath is huge, feel free to explore more than we have on our map. In fact, Hampstead Heath is best explored by bike.
Getting to the Hampstead to Highgate Trailhead
Take an overland train to Hampstead Heath Overland Train Station.
Hampstead to Highgate Elevation Graph
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Hampstead to Highgate Reviews
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