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Spotlight on Highgate

Highgate is one of the most expensive of London’s suburbs, about five miles north of Charing Cross. Until it was swallowed up by the Victorian suburbs it was a distinct village straddling the road to the north. It has wonderful Georgian and Victorian architecture, and there is an active conservation group, the Highgate Society, which works to protect the character of the area.

It sits on the top of North Hill and there are fabulous views across London. It’s 423 feet above sea level at the highest point.

The first cable car built in Europe was in Highgate Hill, taking passengers up the steep street linking Archway to Highgate Village, and it operated from 1884 to 1909.

Highgate Wood is an area of ancient woodland covering 70 acres, owned by the City of London and mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The much larger Hampstead Heath is also close by. It has two outdoor bathing ponds for the brave.

The Village itself is probably best known for Highgate Cemetery. The eastern side of the cemetery, the resting place of Karl Marx, is open at all times. But the western side, which is architecturally and historically the more interesting of the two, is well worth a visit and guided tour.

The Village is home to a host of Georgian shops, pubs, restaurants and homes. The area was a popular stopping point on the road north in the eighteenth century and many coaching houses and inns were located there to service passing trade. One of the pubs, The Flask, is said to have been named after the flasks of mineral water that were purchased at Hampstead Heath.

Dick Turpin is also associated with Highgate, and it is said that he used the stables there as a hiding place when pursued by the law.

The centre of the village is dominated by the usual restaurant chains, but there are also plenty of independent businesses, some of which have been trading for many years, including delicatessens, butcher, tea shop and book shop.

The area is divided between three London boroughs, Islington, Camden and Haringey.

It’s in zone 3 and the nearest tube stations are Highgate and Archway. Highgate tube station was used as an air raid shelter during WWII.

House prices in Highgate are some of the highest in London. Rightmove show average property prices in Camden at May 2017 at £1,090,515 and in Islington £798,379. First time buyers are having to spend on average £486,303 (how do they manage it?). The Greater London ‘average’ at May 2017 is £649,864, demonstrating how pricey Highgate is!

Compare this to May 2015 and the average price in Camden was £1,103,710 so it’s dropped at tiny bit. Islington was £756,985 and first time buyers were looking at £437,411 to get on the ladder.

On the Holly Lodge Estate, there are currently refurbished apartments in the 1920s Tudor-style buildings, with 2-bedroom apartments starting at £720,000.

Look out for apartments in the fabulous Highpoint, the Grade I 1930s block designed by Berthold Lubetkin. A 3-bedroom flat in Highpoint will set you back about £1.275 million.

I Am the Agent, the UK’s No 1 online estate agent, is currently marketing a two-bedroom raised ground floor apartment in a substantial detached Victorian property in nearby Dartmouth Park Hill. It’s in need of modernisation and would make a great project at £595,000.

If you are looking to rent, we have a unique 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom conversion apartment, full of character, in Finchley Road, close to Parliament Hill.

It probably goes without saying that there is a plethora of excellent secondary schools in Highgate, many independent.

Average rental prices start at £415 per week for a 1-bedroom apartment, and £532 per week for two bedrooms.

Photo courtesy of Highgate Cemetery

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