A Resident’s Guide to: Highgate

Originally the gateway to London at its northerly point, Highgate has retained the charm of a village, with its attractive high street and Georgian inns that traditionally welcomed drovers of livestock. Its lofty position is one of its great strengths, with families attracted by the clean air and change of pace, as well as the outstanding educational opportunities.

We asked the renowned interiors and fashion designer Faye Toogood, who lives in a Modernist house in Highgate, to pick her favourite places in the area.

Highpoint
A prominent local landmark standing right on top of the hill, this apartment block was designed by Berthold Lubetkin in the 1930s. It’s one of the most impressive Modernist buildings in London, and we get a privileged view of it from our bedroom window. It looks particularly good in the snow.

Hampstead Heath
The Heath is one of the only places in London where, if you delve into the right places, you can find complete peace and isolation. Being a country girl at heart, I come here every weekend.

The Grove and Fitzroy Park
The best way to get to the Heath is to walk along Highgate’s prettiest Georgian street, The Grove, which is home to Kate Moss, Jude Law and Jamie Oliver (and previously the late George Michael) then head down Fitzroy Park, which is a private road with a really interesting mix of modern houses, some allotments and a bowls club.

The Bull & Last
There are lots of pubs in the area, but the Bull & Last at Parliament Hill is the best of the lot because the cooking is so good. I eat the fish and chips, lamb ragu and steak tartare on rotation.

Not So Big Shop
This independent shop sells a very well-edited selection of clothes and toys for kids, and is a great alternative to the standard high-street fare. As the name suggests, it’s slightly more bijou than Hamley’s, but all the better for it.

Highgate Bowl
What used to be the Capital Gardens garden centre is now used for events and exhibitions with a horticultural emphasis. The derelict glasshouses have been spruced up by HASA Architects, and my friend Paul Gazerwitz of del Buono Gazerwitz has worked his magic on the landscaping.

Swains Lane
This is one of my other favourite roads in Highgate. Once you’ve had a coffee at Gail’s, you can walk up the hill past John Winter’s 1960s house, which is clad in Corten steel, and a more recent one by Eldridge Smerin with a black-granite façade. To either side of the road are the florid tombstones of Highgate Cemetery, where Karl Marx, Patrick Caulfield and George Eliot are buried, and at the top is the entrance to Waterlow Park.

Parkland Walk
This is a disused railway line, lined with mature trees, which runs from Highgate Tube station down to Finsbury Park. We often walk along it to Crouch End for lunch.

Schools
If you have a family, you can’t really go wrong here. Lots of the local architects and media types send their kids to St Michael’s primary, which has big fields behind it, and since it went co-ed, Highgate School seems to have become one of the most successful and sought-after in London.

Interested in properties in the area? Explore our sales listings in Highgate.