Opened in 1840, Abney Park is one of London’s so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’ – a ring of seven graveyards built around the capital in response to the booming population. They were encouraged by the government in the early eighteenth century in order to stop body-snatching, grave-overcrowding and other dodgy goings-on. Most fell into disrepair, but recent conservation efforts and community groups are shaking up the way Londoners use the spaces. Hence why you’ll find a lively events calendar at the stunning Abney Park, with gigs, wood- and stone-carving courses, and a forest school hosted in its lush wooded grounds.
Suggesting a trip to a graveyard as a day out in London might get you the odd funny look. Your friends will instantly assume you’re going through a goth phase. The truth, however, is that our city’s cemeteries are some of the most astonishing in the whole world.
Not only are these historic places of rest the permanent homes of some of London’s most famous residents, the on-site architecture is often spectacular. Little wonder some of the capital’s writers have traditionally used them as places to walk and think. So why not swap an afternoon in a London park for a peaceful wander through one of these grand and picturesque cemeteries?
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