Cockfosters to Highgate Section 1

Distance 8 miles / 12.5 km

Oak Hill Park I Pymme’s Brook I Arnos Park I Broomfield Park I New River Aqueduct I Alexandra Palace I Highgate Woods

Alexandra Palace

SECTION 1 Introduction

Cockfosters, located in zone 5 at the north end of the Piccadilly Line, marks the start of our new North-South London trail. In less than 10 minutes’ walk from the station, you’ll find yourself in woodland and from here on, there are very few occasions when you’ll even see a road, let alone have to walk along one! The route heads steadily southwards, taking in some undiscovered green spaces before reaching its summit at Alexandra Palace. From here, you can take in the views as you continue steadily downhill, through Highgate Woods to the station at Highgate. Alternatively, continue the walk with the next section (linked) of the trail onto Hampstead Heath.


Route details

Start Cockfosters  – Piccadilly Line
End Highgate – Northern Line
OS Route   NST Walking Post Cockfosters to Highgate
Difficulty Easy
Length 8 miles /12.8 km
Average time 3.5 – 4 hours
Total ascent 416ft

Arnos park & Viaduct

Broomfield Park

New River Walk Aqueduct

Nightingale Gardens

View from Alexandra Palace

Highgate Woods



Shorter Routes
5 miles Start from Arnos Grove tube  (Piccadilly Line) entering Arnos Park from Arnos road.

5.8 miles. Start at Cockfosters and  finish early at Alexandra Palace station (Thameslink) 

Longer routes
10.8 miles Continue on from Highgate woods over Hampstead Heath to Gospel Oak station (London Overground) .


Both Cockfosters and Highgate are on the London underground network. Cockfosters is the northern terminal station on the Piccadilly Line (Zone 5). Highgate is on the High Barnet/Mill Hill East branch of the Northern Line.


Cockfosters station has toilet facilities (though Highgate doesn’t). You can also find loos in Broomfield Park, Alexandra Palace Park and Highgate Woods. There are a few cafés and pubs along the way which would also have loos if you’re happy to stop for a drink (or ask nicely).



Arnos Park Viaduct
Constructed in the early 1930s, the Arnos Park Viaduct was part of the extension of the Piccadilly Line from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters, which cost £5million (a huge sum in today’s money). Arnos Park itself is all that remains of a once vast estate, bought by financier James Colebrook in 1719, who built a house on the land called Arnolds, which was nicknamed Arno’s by the locals – and then over time lost its apostrophe. 

New River Aqueduct
The New River is an artificial waterway, opened in 1613 to bring drinking water to London’s populace from the River Lea and other natural springs. Part of the river remains part of the city’s London water supply infrastructure today. The New River Path follows the aqueduct for 28 miles, from Hertfordfordshire to Islington. 

Alexandra Palace
Built as a counterpart to South London’s Crystal Palace, Alexandra Palace was always intended as a public venue for recreation and entertainment. In 1936, it became the home of the BBC’s first regular TV broadcast service. Today, it’s the venue for regular concerts, exhibitions and conferences. The views over London from the palace are pretty good too.

Palmers Greenery Community Café
Broomfield Park, London N13 4RB
Good coffee, delicious cakes and refreshments. Volunteer-powered community cafe that reinvests profit into park enhancing projects.

The Grove Café
Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
Italian-run café on the way out of Alexandra Palace park, serving snacks, sandwiches, ice creams, coffee & tea. There’s outdoor seating or you can just sit and enjoy a picnic on the grass.

The Woodman
414 Archway Rd, London N6 5UA
Traditional pub with a full menu including Sunday roasts along with a beer garden. Perfect for a drink at the end of the walk.

The Pavilion Café
Highgate Wood , Muswell Hill Road
Hoxton Beach run the café in Highgate Woods selling falafel, bread and pastries and a menu that changes daily.

There are also plenty of café stops in Arnos Grove, Bowes Green, Alexandra Palace and Highgate.