Karl Marx's headstone (Shutterstock.com. see main credit below)
Blog Words : Weird@Wanderlust | 11 December

5 cemeteries you should visit in London

Peaceful, beautiful and full of incredible sculptures, London's cemeteries are havens of tranquility – and offer a chance to visit the resting places of history's most famous people

Highgate cemetery (Shutterstock.com)Highgate cemetery (Shutterstock.com)

1. Highgate Cemetery

Swain's Lane, London N6 6PJ

Highgate is one of London’s great Victorian cemeteries, crammed with thousands of gothic style headstones, tombs and memorials. Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon are particularly impressive.

The grounds are full of trees, shrubs and wildflowers that have been left to grow without human interference, making in a de facto nature reserve.

Who’s there?

Karl Marx

Dog show founder, Charles Cruft

Douglas Adams

Jeremy Beadle

Sir Ralph Richardson

Malcom McLaren

Authro George Eliot

Catherin Dickens, wife of author Charles Dickens

Interesting fact

The painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti had his wife’s grave there opened so he could retrieve a book of poetry that had been buried with her.

Nearest Tube station

Archway. It’s a much longer walk from Highgate station. 

Monuments and chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery (Creative Commons: MattHucke) Monuments and chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery (Creative Commons: MattHucke) 

2. Kensal Green Cemetery

Harrow Rd, London W10 4RA

Set in the well-heeled Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensal Green Cemetery is one of London's oldest and most distinguished public burial grounds. Inspired by the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, it covers 72 acres, houses over 65,000 graves and is home to 33 species of birds and wildlife.

Who’s there?

Engineer Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Newsagent W.H. Smith

Computer pioneer Charles Babbage

Novelist William Thackeray

Tight-rope walker Charles Blondin

Major Walter Wingfield, inventor of lawn tennis

Interesting fact

The armchair-shaped headstone for composer Henry Russell is a reference to his song, ‘My Old Armchair.’

Nearest Tube Station

Kensal Green or Ladbroke Grove 

John Bunyan monument (Creative Commons: Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry)John Bunyan monument (Creative Commons: Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry)

3. Bunhill Fields Cemetery

38 City Rd, London EC1Y 1AU

Unlike many of the denominational cemeteries in London, Bunhill Fields would accept anyone as long as they could afford the internment fees. It quickly became the most popular final resting place for non-conformists. It also has a Quaker section with an estimated 12,000 ‘residents.’

Who’s there?

Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress

Poet William Blake

Interesting fact

The name of the cemetery is a corruption of it’s original name ‘Bone Hill’ from the time the field was used as a dumping ground for human bones before the cemetery was opened in 1665.

Nearest tube station

Old Street

Columbarium, Golders Green Crematorium (Creative Commons: Stephencdickson)Columbarium, Golders Green Crematorium (Creative Commons: Stephencdickson)

4. Golders Green Crematorium

Hoop Lane London NW11 7NL

The first crematorium to be opened in London, and one of the first in Britain, the Crematorium at Golders Green is built in a distinctive, red brick Italianate style. While many of the notable people cremated here have had their ashes scattered elsewhere, there are many whose urns remain in the Columbarium.

Who’s there?

Sigmund Freud

Dracula author, Bram Stoker

Writer Rudyard Kipling

Actor Sid James

Singer Mark Bolan

Drummer Keith Moon

Actor Peter Sellers

Interesting fact

14 holders of the Victoria Cross have been cremated here.

Nearest Tube Station

Golders Green

Central Section, Brompton cemetery (Creative Commons: Stephencdickson)Central Section, Brompton cemetery (Creative Commons: Stephencdickson)

5. Brompton Cemetery

Fulham Rd, London SW10 9UG

Taking inspiration from St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, this cemetery features a domed chapel, made from Bath stone, that is flanked by two curving colanades and reached via a tree line avenue. It is home to over 35,000 monuments, 28 of which are listed.

Who’s there?

Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhust

Auctioneer Samuel Leigh Sotheby

Boxer John Jackson

American singer Blanche Roosevelt

Interesting fact

Beatrix Potter once lived nearby and it is believed that she took the names of many of her characters from tombstones in the cemetery.

Nearest tube station

Earls Court or West Brompton


Main image: Karl Marx's headstone (Shutterstock.com)