Meet Me at the Cemetery Gates…

As Hallowe’en draws near, our thoughts turn to pumpkin banners, fake blood and bunny ears. But for a more cultured celebration of the afterlife, a visit to one of London’s magnificent seven cemeteries is the perfect antidote.

Highgate Cemetery

The most famous of the seven, Highgate Cemetery is a labyrinth of crumbling beauty. From imposing mausoleums to dishevelled, ivy-clad angel statues, it has the air of a hidden fantasy world. Be sure to visit the famous residents (many with fittingly outlandish headstones) including Karl Marx, George Eliot, Patrick Caulfield, Malcolm McClaren and Douglas Adams.

Events: On the 1st of November they open late for a beautiful candle lighting cemetery in honour of All Saints Day.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm, Weekends: 11am-5pm

Entrance Fee: £12 for East and West Cemetery Tour, £4 for East Cemetery

Closest Station: Archway

London Cementeries Halloween 2016 Highgate Cemetery - creative commons taken by Elizabeth Ellis
Highgate Cemetery. Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Ellis

Abney Park Cemetery

An overgrown jumble of gravestones, nature and modern fencing, Abney Park is just the right side of decaying beauty. This Hackney cemetery became the resting place for many of London’s religious nonconformists, and has at its heart Europe’s oldest non-denominational chapel. With a surprise around every corner, Abney Park is perfect for explorers.

Events: Fear In The Dark, a Hallowe’en anthology show adapted from stories by Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Sheridan Le Fanu and MR James. 20-23 and 26-31 Oct, 7pm & 8.30pm.

Opening Times: 8am-7pm

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: Stoke Newington

London Cementeries Halloween 2016 Abney Park Creative Commons by martin_vmorris
Abney Park Cementery. Photo: Courtesy of martin_vmorris
cementery halloween 2016 london Abney Park creative commons by tpholland
Abney Park Cementery. Photo: Courtesy of Tpholland

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

More nature reserve than cemetery, Tower Hamlets is a colourful addition to the seven. To add extra magic, download one of these specially written audio walks:

Opening Times: Dawn-dusk

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: Mile End/Bow Road

Kensal Green Cemetery

A more formal, manicured cemetery, inspired by Paris’ famous Père Lachaise. Kensal Green’s gothic atmosphere has provided the backdrop for a number of horror films, and also makes it the perfect Hallowe’en trip.

Opening Times: Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm, Sun: 10am-5pm

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: Kensal Green/Ladbroke Grove

London Cementeries Halloween 2016 Kensal Green creative commons by David Holt
Kensal Green Cementery. Photo: Courtesy of David Holt

Brompton Cemetery

Owned by the Crown, this regal cemetery has stunning architecture at its heart. Famous residents include Emmeline Pankhurst, John Jackson and Blanche Roosevelt Macchetta. To add some fun to your visit, play a game of Beatrix potter bingo – many of her character names can be found on the tombstones, including Peter Rabbett, Mr Nutkins and Mr McGregor.

Events: To check the website for latest, click here or follow the link:

Opening Times: Dawn – dusk

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: West Brompton

Brompton creative commons by Hunter Desportes cementery halloween 2016 london
Brompton Cementery. Photo: Courtesy of Hunter Desportes

Nunhead Cemetery

One of the lesser known of the seven, Nunhead is well worth a visit for winding romantic lanes and a beautiful view over London. Over 1,000 angels are hiding amongst the foliage.

Opening Times: Dawn – dusk

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: Nunhead

Nunhead Angel by fotologic cementery halloween 2016 london cementries
Nunhead Cementery Angel. Photo: Courtesy of Fotologic

West Norwood Cemetery

West Norwood suffered heavily from bombing during World War II and when Lambeth Council (illegally) cleared many of the old monuments for new ones. A little more like a modern lawn cemetery than the other six, it is still a delightful place to visit. The fairly ordered gardens give way to hints of wilderness here and there, with flowers adding spots of colour to the green.

Opening Times: Dawn – dusk

Entrance Fee: Free

Closest Station: West Norwood

London Cementeries Halloween 2016 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Jenny Novitzky


Jenny has a background in performance, writing and fashion. She loves to explore the cultural aspects of London, as well as propping up its many bars. "My favourite thing about London is that you are always able to find something exciting to do. The new sits side-by-side with the old, making for an exciting hot-pot of a city."

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright ©2018, The Urban Watch Magazine. All Rights Reserved.