The British Museum and Highgate Cemetery – a surprisingly good combination

Last modified 10.02.2023 | Published 27.05.20122010's, North and Central Europe, Travelogue, United Kingdom

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The story from my London weekend continues here with visits to the British Museum and Highgate Cemetery.

This article is one of three from a visit to London in 2012. The story is a transcript from my diary.


The British Museum

Yesterday had been relaxing in a peculiar way but most of all packed with impressions. It was no wonder then that this Sunday came out with some minor change of plans.

We started off at the British Museum and stayed there longer than expected. I had not seen the glass ceiling before and wanted a quick look inside. We ended up staying there for hours.

I hereby quote freely from the introduction to the Wikipedia article: “The British Museum, in London, is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest museums of human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some eight million works, is amongst the finest, most comprehensive, and largest in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.”

That quoted sales pitch fills me with quite a bit of ambivalence, considering the fact that so many objects were nicked from the country of origin. Practically an entire Greek temple was set up in one of the rooms. And so on. The Rosetta Stone drew the largest groups of spectators.

On the other hand I was disappointed at not finding the reading room were Karl Marx spent so many years of his life.

We also took some time in the special exhibitions, one with Arabian Horses and another with Pablo Picasso’s series of etchings, The Vollard Suite.

Waterlow Park

London is a city of hills, easily forgotten for the ordinary tourist accustomed to walking the streets a few hundred metres from the ThamesNotting Hill is perhaps the name that springs to mind first, but there are more and better viewpoints. Highgate is one of them. In a combination of Tube and bus we went up for a look.

To be true, it was not the views we were looking for, but a cemetery. As we got off the bus and walked through the lovely Waterlow Park we could see far and wide from this place in the north of London.


Highgate Cemetery

London was expanding rapidly in the early 1800s and was in desperate need of new burial grounds. Seven large cemeteries were opened. Highgate was one of these “magnificent seven”. Divided into the East and West parts, Highgate offers a fantastic and at times spooky look at the Gothic architecture that came out of the Victorian attitude to death.

Both sides are open to the public, but the most intriguing part to the west is open only on guided tours. We joined a one-hour guided tour and had a fantastic time.

Just watch this video.



On our way back “home” we found that one of the buses went straight by our hotel so we skipped the tube and had half an hour or so of free sightseeing on the top floor of a double-decker.

Quite exhausted we did not go far from our hotel to find a restaurant. The Princess of Shoreditch was a very nice place.


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This story continues and ends here.