Almost all of North London’s suburbs are easily accessible by tube from the centre, though just a handful of these satellite villages, now subsumed into the general mass of the city, are worth bothering with. First off is one of London’s finest parks, Regent’s Park, home to London Zoo; Camden Town, famous for its huge weekend market, is nearby. The highlights, however, are the village-like suburbs of Hampstead and Highgate, on the edge of London’s wildest patch of greenery, Hampstead Heath.
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For all its tourist popularity, Camden Market remains a genuinely offbeat place. The sheer variety of what’s on offer – from cheap CDs to furniture, along with a mass of street fashion and clubwear, and plenty of food stalls – is what makes Camden Town so special. More than 100,000 shoppers turn up here each weekend, and parts of the market now stay open week-long, alongside a crop of shops, cafés and bistros.
Highgate Cemetery, ranged on both sides of Swain’s Lane, is London’s best-known graveyard. The most illustrious incumbent of the East Cemetery is Karl Marx. Marx himself asked for a simple grave topped by a headstone, but by 1954 the Communist movement decided to move his grave to a more prominent position and erect the hulking bronze bust that now surmounts a granite plinth. To visit the more atmospheric and overgrown West Cemetery, with its spooky Egyptian Avenue and sunken catacombs, you must take a guided tour. Among the prominent graves usually visited are those of artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and lesbian novelist Radclyffe Hall.