Lauderdale House



What’s On



Kids & Family






Hire the House for your wedding, special event, concert or exhibition


The fascinating history, scenic setting and friendly atmosphere of Lauderdale House make it an ideal place for a range of private functions. From weddings to children’s parties, exhibitions funerals and memorial services, Lauderdale House can adapt to your requirements.

Take a look inside the house and around the grounds to see the spaces that can be hired for performance, weddings, parties, exhibitions, workshops and meetings. For more information contact our Event Manager on 020 8348 8716 or complete the Booking Enquiry form.

About the House

Originally built in 1582 as a private home for three-times Lord Mayor of London, Sir Richard Martin, Lauderdale House in Highgate is now a community hub, welcoming over 50,000 visitors every year. The House hosts a wide range of cutting-edge exhibitions and events, bringing the brightest new talent and high-profile established performers to north London. Lauderdale House also boasts a blooming programme of creative classes for both adults and children and can be hired for weddings, receptions and parties.

Park & Cafe

The Cafe is open from:

8.30am – 4pm – Monday to Friday
9.30am – 6pm – Saturday & Sunday

The cafe serves teas, Illy coffee, wines, beers, including Peroni, Camden Pale Ale, London Pride, Aspall Cyder, Luscombe organic soft drinks, cake and light snacks plus a hot meal option every day.  The Cafe also sells delicious and refreshing ice-cream and lollies.

So whether you’re attending an event at the house or simply in Highgate and looking for a quiet bolthole, a visit to Lauderdale’s hidden gem of a Cafe is a must. Take a seat in the bright indoor space and drink in the views of Waterlow Park or enjoy the sunshine by sitting outside on our new benches.

Batteries recharged, take a meander through the tree-lined walkways of Waterlow Park, designated one of London’s ‘best-kept secrets’ by Time Out or head to the world-famous Highgate Cemetery.

360° panorama views of the space

Entrance and Lower Gallery

The Conservatory and Courtyard

The Conservatory

The Upper Gallery

The Long Gallery

The History

The original house was built in 1582 for Sir Richard Martin – The Master of the Mint and three times Lord Mayor of London. Over the next 60 years, it was lived in by various individuals until Mary, Dowager Countess of Home, bequeathed it to her daughter Anne, wife of the Scottish Royalist John Maitland, the Earl of Lauderdale thus beginning the connection with the name.

In 1649 political pressure following the Civil War forced Lady Lauderdale to give the House to John Ireton, brother of Cromwell’s son-in-law General Henry Ireton. Ireton lived here until the Restoration when Lauderdale, who had been imprisoned for his Royalist activities, was released and it was Ireton’s turn to become a prisoner. Forbidden to own property, he tried to sell the house, but a legal wrangle ended in its being returned to Lady Lauderdale. Lord Lauderdale was a member of the CABAL and therefore a key advisor to Charles II whose mistress Nell Gwynn, lived here for a short time with their infant son, the Duke of St. Albans.

Upon Lady Lauderdale’s death, the house passed to her daughter, who was bought out by German Ireton, John’s son, who sold it to William Mead in 1677. Mead was a prominent member of the Quaker movement and held frequent meetings at Lauderdale House, to which he made many improvements.

Over the next century, the House changed hands many times, being described by John Wesley, who preached here in 1782, as “one of the most elegant boarding houses in England”. Later it became one of the many private boarding schools in Highgate, reverting to a private house again in the early 19th Century when it was radically altered both inside and out.

Lauderdale’s last private owner was Sir Sidney Waterlow, another Lord Mayor of London, and he leased it for a time to St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a convalescent home. By 1883 the House lay empty, so in 1889, Sir Sidney gave the house and grounds to the London County Council “for the enjoyment of Londoners”. The 29 acres of land then became a public park and the House was restored in 1893 to serve for 70 years as a Park tearoom and park-keepers’ flats. Sadly, during the course of further renovation in 1963, a fire broke out, destroying the roof and much of the interior of the House.

After 15 years of lying derelict, the local community established Lauderdale House Society, the charity which now runs the House. In 1978, after much fundraising and lobbying, the House was opened by Yehudi Menuhin as an arts and education centre.

Artistic Policy

At the heart of Lauderdale’s artistic policy are five core principles:

  1. To offer a programme that is informed by the unique history and position of the House and its relationship with the Park
  2. The provision of a friendly and welcoming environment and programme, that meet the interests of London’s diverse cultures (in particular North London)
  3. The creation of opportunities for work which is inventive, creative, forward-thinking, experimental and distinctive; as well as for the development of groundbreaking models
  4. To encourage a pro-active approach to achieving the highest quality
  5. Developing and maintaining the fabric of the House to support all of the above.

After 15 years of lying derelict, the local community established Lauderdale House Society, the charity which now runs the House. In 1978, after much fundraising and lobbying, the House was opened by Yehudi Menuhin as an arts and education centre.


Volunteers are at the heart of the organisation and are fundamental to what we achieve. They include people of all ages, some looking to acquire new skills and experience, others who simply enjoy the opportunity to give something back to the community in a friendly and creative atmosphere. Opportunities include stewarding in the gallery and on reception both weekdays and weekends, supporting the education programme, supporting our Marketing, developing content for heritage interpretation; historical research, answering enquiries, helping with fundraising and /or general administration.

If you’re interested in volunteering please call Sasha Butler on 020 8348 8716 or email her at

Outreach Programme

Education is at the heart of Lauderdale House and with the launch of a brand new Heritage programme, Lauderdale House offers a variety of creative learning opportunities for schools, young people and the local community to participate in our exciting and multi-arts heritage programme.

Contact Us

Here we are!

Lauderdale House
Waterlow Park
Highgate Hill
London N6 5HG

Telephone: 020 8348 8716

Office: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm

Lauderdale House is a white house behind the gates to Waterlow Park on Highgate Hill on the left-hand side heading north from Archway tube, just past St Joseph’s Church on the corner of Dartmouth Park Hill. It faces Highgate Hill and is easily visible from the pavement. It backs onto Waterlow Park. It is near Highgate Village and a 10-minute walk, uphill, from Archway Tube Station.

Buses: 143, 210, 271 (directly to the House – Waterlow Park stop)
Tube: Archway (Northern Line)
Parking: There is no off-street parking at the house but there is pay and display parking on Highgate Hill. Parking is free all day Saturday and Sunday.