My Highgate: Christmas lights organiser fell in love with the village 30 years ago

Jane Wiles, 50, owns the award-winning children’s clothing boutique Notsobig in Highgate High Street. She is joint leader of the committee in charge of the Highgate Village Christmas lights and is already preparing for this year’s switch-on celebration in November.

What brought you to Highgate?

I ran cross-country races on Hampstead Heath as a teenager and when I had to rent my first flat in 1981 I chose Highgate, fell in love with it, and have been here ever since.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

Highgate is so green and hilly; Waterlow Park and Hampstead Heath have the best views of London.


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Which is your favourite shop in the area?

That question is hard to choose as there are actually three, and I love them all for different reasons: Hair of the Dog, Highgate Contemporary Gallery, and Highgate Book Shop.

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What is the area’s best-kept secret?

Highgate has quite a few best-kept secrets. My favourites are Highgate Cemetery, Lauderdale House, and Waterlow Park and they are all within a stone’s throw of each other.

What makes you smile on your way home?

Walking down the village looking downhill towards Archway and watching the view over London.

If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?

In London I would dispense with congestion charge and make more shopping areas pedestrian only zones. In Highgate I would change the route of the 271 bus, where it turns around in South Grove.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

I would go for a long run on the Heath, then pick up the Sunday Times and head to The Red Lion & Sun for the perfect roast beef and a good glass of red wine.

What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?

We have excellent schools, and great pubs. I would also ask them to support their local shops. There is also quite an impressive sense of community spirit here so embrace it!

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate?

There is only one place on earth like Highgate, therefore it would be impossible to twin.

If you had to write your own epitaph what would it say?

I am planning on going nowhere at the moment, but I would write: The best is yet to come.

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