Ivy covered Greek, Classic, Egyptian and Gothic Mausoleums in a Victorian “Magnificent 7” parkland cemetery
|Start / Finish||Kensal Green underground station|
2 miles / 3 km.
|Time||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Travel||Kensal Green is on the Bakerloo Line in Travelcard Zone 2.|
Kensal Green is one of the 'magnificent 7' Victorian parkland cemeteries around London. Now slightly neglected, the Egyptian, Greek, Classical, Gothic (and mixtures thereof) mausoleums are ivy covered and slighlty crumbling (the former gasworks opposite did the limestone no favours) but very picturesque. They are set in a parkland of mature trees. The cemetery is open to the public every day, and the 'Friends of the Cemetery' run some highly recommended tours. Note it's a working cemetery, people are visiting graves, so act accordingly.
There are several Grade I listed buildings, including a Chapel, and a Dissenter's Chapel. In Victorian times, you had to have Christain burial rights to be buried in a Church cemetery, so it was a great asset for the cemetery company to offer non-Anglican burials.
One unique aspect of the cemetery is that the plots are freehold, not leasehold. They are never re-used. So there are some interesting signs like "we need to repair this mausoleum, we wrote to the owners at the last address we had for them from 1860 but had no reply, if we don't hear from you in 6 months, we will undertake repairs ourselves". It also means that once the burial spaces are used up, there less income for the cemetery company, leading to the benign neglect of the place.s
Reading the 'Friends' website before you visit, or going on a tour, is highly recommended, as it really helps to know the context of the place, and the stories behind the more impressive mausoleums. Finally, the catacombs, underground burial rooms, are closed as they are now unsafe.
Guided tours are on Sundays at 2pm (1st and 3rd Sundays only in winter) and cost £7. There is also a highly recommended annual open day in early July.
Cemetery Opening Times: 9am (Sun & BH: 10am) to 6pm (Winter: 5pm, BH: 3pm)
The Mason's Arms. Great 19thC. pub, nice food, real ales, beer garden, between the entrance and the tube station. Recommended.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.
- Coming out of the tube station, go right (west). Pass the Mason's Arms (pub). The Cemetery entrance is on your left.
- Wander around the cemetery. The more impressive mausoeums are on the main thoroughfare leading to the Anglican Chapel.
- The Dissenter's Chapel is at the far eastern end of the cemetery.