The Hampstead Ponds or Highgate Ponds are three large freshwater swimming ponds — two designated single sex, and one for mixed bathing — fed by the River Fleet in Hampstead Heath.They were originally dug in the 17th and 18th centuries as reservoirs. A malarial marsh was drained by the Hampstead Water Company in 1777 to meet London's growing water demand.
I have ever only seen the ponds in winter months but cannot imagine anyone wanting to swim in these ponds - presumably they are safe.
However a very scenic area - the ponds are the start of walks across Hampstead Heath.
Waterlow Park is set on a hillside in Highgate boasting some of the best panoramic views over London and covers 20 acres. Within the Park is the historic Lauderdale House, which has a café, arts and exhibition centre, and formal terraced gardens. Waterlow Park has three ponds, tree lined walkways, mature shrub beds and herbaceous borders, ornamental bedding, expanses of lawn, 6 tennis courts an infant playground and a play area.
Lauderdale House is closed on Mondays and there are no catering or toilet facilities on that day.
Highgate actually has two cemeteries. They both have entrances opposite each other on Swains Lane but only the East Cemetery is open to the public with daily openings .
So the East Cemetery has an entry fee of £3.00 and you buy a ticket at the small portacabin building just inside the gate. Of course the most famous internee is Karl Marx but many other famous people are buried here and the website has details. Entry will be refused for a limited time if a funeral is taking place but there is somewhere to sit and wait if this is the case. Occasionally guided tours are available - see the website.
The West Cemetery is through the large gate house on the opposite of the road (see my photo).
Admission by guided tour only.
Tours: Weekdays at 2pm from 1st March to 30th November (please book by telephone 10am-5pm Mondays to Fridays only) Weekends hourly from 11am - until 3pm from 1st November to 28th February and until 4pm 1st March to 31st October (no advance booking)
Tickets: £7 per adult, £3 for children aged 8 to 16.
The photo below shows the view from Hillway on the gated Holly Lodge estate. Not only is it worth finding the estate for the view it is an interesting place to walk around and a little research in to this estate is quite rewarding. This is English suburbia at its best and very typical of a 1930s estate where it retains some character.
As a pedestrian you can walk through the open pavement gates at any time.
I thought it was fitting that England's greatest poet who wrote of English suburbia , John Betjeman , lived close by at 31 West Hill.
Turn right out of Archway station and between Magdala Road and McDonald Road (on Highgate Hill) is the Whittington Stone .This is supposed to mark the point where Dick Whittington, on his way out of London, heard the sound of Bow bells chiming 'turn again' and decided to return to the city. The present sculpted cat on the top of the stone was not added until the 20th-century.
On returning to London, Dick embarked on a series of adventures. In one version of the tale, he travels abroad on a ship, and wins many friends as a result of the rat-catching activities of his cat; in another he sends his cat and it is sold to make his fortune. Eventually he does become prosperous, marries his master's daughter Alice Fitzwarren (the name of a real Richad Whittington's wife), and is made Lord Mayor of London three times (the historical Whittington was elected Lord Mayor four times).
As the photo shows Highgate Hill is a very busy road - if you show the stone to children make sure they only view from the street side.
Cemetaries can come in many shapes. This is one of those where some gravestones are covered in grass and you feel almost as if in a meadow. The centrepiece of the whole place is Karl Marx' grave with a huge bust of him on which it says 'Workers of the world unite'. You will find people making their pilgrimage to it even today when you have to pay a small entrance fee and an even smaller photography fee if you are honest enough to say you will photograph. I did, as the place has no other real income but relies heavily on donations. If you want to see more images, there is a travelogue below.