Nunhead Cemetery, South London

Nunhead Cemetery, South London

Nunhead Cemetery, South London

Nunhead Cemetery, South London
5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Cemeteries
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8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
58 reviews
Excellent
48
Very good
9
Average
1
Poor
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Terrible
0

Ian C
London, UK23,970 contributions
Solo
Nunhead Cemetery in Southwark was the sixth of the 'Magnificent Seven' cemeteries.

Consecrated in 1840 and, although there is an area of modern graves, much of the cemetery is today more of a wildlife reserve dotted with gravestones.

At its heart is the Gothic Anglican Chapel, now ruined after an arson attack in the 1970's.

There are a number of interesting monuments which have been conserved - including the monument to the Scottish Martyrs - a partner to the larger one on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. The Martyrs were five men - two from Scotland and three from London who were sentenced to penal transportation because of their campaign for parliamentary reform.

There are several war graves from those who died in the two world wars, with many from Belgium in the First World war and countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada in the Second, and a monument to nine Sea Scouts who died in the Leysdown Tragedy off the Isle of Sheppey in 1912.

Enjoyable to visit and explore and a green natural space for people to enjoy
Written August 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

730chrysn
Sutton, UK76 contributions
Couples
I loved the fact that nature is taking over and the variety of different and ornate gravestones. It makes a lovely walk, limited parking outside the cemetery and no toilet facilities. There is preservation work going on, so some of the paths were closed. Lots of families and walkers but some dog owners had their dogs off the leash, which l felt was disrespectful.

On the whole, a lovely way to spend an hour or two.
Written April 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CareySJC
London, UK1,392 contributions
What a wonderful place. We visited to try and find a grave of a relative (no luck) but wandered around for about 2 hours. Nature has reclaimed this incredible space, it is clearly a haven for wildlife, with an abundance of bird song. There are some really ornate gravestones and memorials.

There are a number of benches where you can just sit and soak up the peace. It seems a reasonably popular area for dog walkers and walkers alike. There is some parking outside the cemetery
Written November 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Islander2256
Jersey, UK15 contributions
Couples
Walked to Nunhead Cemetery from Crystal Palace following one of the Green Chain London walks. Nunhead Cemetry was the final destination. Could easily have spent longer exploring all the paths and monuments as I believe the whole site covers about 52 acres.
Written August 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric B
London, UK1,072 contributions
We travelled from W London to see this place and were delighted. It's a hilly, wooded site, with distant St Pauls glimpses and loads of tombstones in varying states of repair. Lots of walkers, many with dogs, and it feels totally safe. It's fascinating reading some of the inscriptions. Near the South entrance is The Ivy House, London's first community owned pub and a good place for lunch.
Written February 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brian T
London, UK5,502 contributions
Friends
Nunhead Cemetery is one of South London’s hidden treasures. It’s probably the least know of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, the seven great Victorian cemeteries built in the 1830s and 1840s on the fringes of London at that time, to relieve the terrible overcrowding in the traditional churchyard burial grounds. And it probably gets overlooked simply because it’s not located near an Underground station!

Nunhead Cemetery was consecrated in 1840, but fell into disuse after World War Two. Today, much of it is overgrown, rundown and derelict. Statues are minus heads and arms; tombstones are cracked or broken; headstones have toppled over, and many are overgrown with ivy and holly. In the spring, the woodlands which hide the graves are awash with wildflowers - Daffodils, Bluebells and Cow Parsley. And there lies the absolute charm of this place!

Small pockets of the cemetery have been restored, but vast amounts remain derelict and covered in undergrowth. There are some walking paths criss-crossing the 52 acre site; some are paved and suitable for wheelchairs; others are dirt tracks. Off the beaten track the cemetery is an eerie, evocative and mysterious place. It’s not creepy or spooky by any means, though there are some reports of it being haunted. It’s closed at night!

The best approach is to get off the established paths and wander on the tracks into the undergrowth. You’ll see magnificent monuments, as well as a myriad of small headstones marking the common graves of the public. Read the headstones, as there are some extraordinary stories thereon.

From the main entrance on Linden Grove. a wide path lined with lime trees leads to a ruins of Gothic-style funerary chapel, the Anglican Chapel, roofless since World War Two. At the far end of the cemetery, near the Limesford Road entrance, there are a number of graves from World Wars One and Two. There’s very few notables buried here; however, the ‘Friends of Nunhead Cemetery’ website has some guidelines on how you can trace a grave location if any of your ancestors are buried here! The cemetery is still in use, though its limited to family burials in established graves.

It’s a sad place for sure, but unfortunately not always peaceful as its used by many joggers and dog-walkers.

Here’s a few practicalities to help with your visit.

1. The cemetery is in the London Borough of Southwark, Zone 2, and the rail station of Nunhead is a short walk away. Trains to Nunhead run from London Victoria and London Blackfriars.
2. The cemetery is open from 08:30 until 16:00 in the winter months, extending until 19:00 at the height of summer.
3. There are no toilet facilities in the grounds, nor any facilities for the purchase of food and drinks.
4. The ‘Friends of Nunhead Cemetery’ conduct guided tours on the last Sunday of every month. Check their website for details.
5. It’s a photographers’ paradise, and warrants more than a half hour stroll. Indeed, at a high point in the grounds of the cemetery you will get a fantastic view of the London skyline, with St Paul's Cathedral the main visible point!

Enjoy your visit!
Written April 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brian T
London, UK5,502 contributions
Couples
It seems almost macabre to be writing once again a review of something so closely associated with death, and also to be giving it a 5* rating (I last reviewed this place in April 2017). But Nunhead Cemetery in Nunhead in South London is such an evocative and eerie place to visit, and if you take the time to read some of the hundreds of headstones which are there, you will learn firsthand the history of some of the locale's working class citizens, as well as some of its most eminent citizens of the day. It was originally called All Saints' Cementery, and was consecrated in 1840. It was one of the 'Magnificent Seven' London cemeteries, built in Victorian times to elevate the severe overcrowding of the city's more traditional cemeteries, but it closed after WW2 as it itself became completely overcrowded. Since then it's fallen into disrepair, and most of it is now completely overgrown, derelict, broken, and in some parts very neglected. But there lies its appeal!

The 'Friends on Nunhead Cemetery' do an amazing job at keeping some small parts of the cemetery in a reasonable state of preservation and restoration. There are some decent paths throughout parts of the cemetery to give you a glimpse of some of the grand monuments and mausoleums dotted throughout the 52 acre site. These are accessible to the mobility-impaired. There's also lots of 'informal' tracks through the thick woods, nettles and undergrowth, revealing a myriad of broken, ivy-entangled headstones (many highly decorative). Wandering these paths will show you the most evocative and interesting parts of this vast burial ground. Just be respectful as you explore these 'off-the-beaten' tracks, and try not to walk over or disturb the final resting places of the who lie there.

There are two entrances to the cemetery. The main (northern) entrance is on Linden Grove, and is the closest entrance to Nunhead Rail station. Using Nunhead Rail `station is probably your easiest way to get to the cemetery from Central London; it's no more than a 10 minute walk away. The southern entrance is on Limesford Road, and not really convenient to anything, though by this gate you'll find some of the graves of some 500 WW1 and WW2 service people. At the main gate on Linden Road you'll get a fabulous view of the view of the ruined Anglican Chapel at the end of a stunning grove of lime trees. The chapel is occasionally open, when the 'Friends of Nunhead Cemetery' conduct their open days and cemetery tours.

The collection of photos I've attached should give you an idea of the magnificence of this former burial ground. It's open daily, and is now a designated nature reserve. You'll find peace and serenity off the well-worn paths; otherwise you'll have to contend with joggers and dog walkers (some completely disrespecting the rules relating to paths where a dog must be on a lead, and where off-lead is permitted). And at a high point of the cemetery you'll be afforded (through the trees) a fabulous view of St Paul's Cathedral and the London skyline. It just seems appropriate.

Enjoy your visit. Photographers will find it a wonderful place for some creative photography. And if you are in a position to do so, support the excellent work the 'Friends of Nunhead Cemetery' are doing.
Written May 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SolubleDuck
Hadlow, UK30 contributions
Couples
Nunhead cemetery has got to be one of my favourites in the world. Don't expect highly polished paths and tombstones. Oh no friends - this little gem is a wonderland of the macabre and a great joy to dog walkers.

Great for a stroll or an alternative view of St Pauls. Well worth checking out.
Written June 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sandy H
London, UK298 contributions
Solo
I visited this cemetery years ago but forgot all about it until I moved back in the area and wanted to see it again. I remembered it was lovely but going back really made me realise that it is a real gem in south east London. It's quiet. It's like little woodlands, and you meet a few people walking their dogs, jogging or just having a quiet time reading a book or a paper. Away from the hustle and bustle of London.
I walked there so I don't know if there are buses taking you right outside, but it's just a short walk away from Nunhead train station. There is a car park outside and you can also leave your bike there. I am unsure if we can cycle in the cemetery, but I would certainly like to.
Although it is a bit spooky walking in a cemetary, there are lovely angels around and it's very green so you almost forget where you are.
fabulous place for a quiet time.
Written June 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carole T
Greater London, UK80 contributions
Solo
Angels gazing reflectively from beneath ivy, a ruined chapel with an unusual shape, a huge tomb based on one that takes up an entire room at the British Museum and a quiet place in which to explore and enjoy.
Nunhead Cemetery is often a surprise to the first time visitor. It’s in the midst of an urban sprawl of council estates and yet behind its high walls and the downturned torches on the entrance gate columns there is a unique and much loved green space.
Its winding, serpentine paths which were part of its original landscaping lead through Nunhead’s 52 acres. They contain over 250,000 burials from imposing monuments to simple headstones and common graves which have no memorial. Music hall artistes, war graves and the urban poor are all equal in death.
One of Nunhead’s best kept secrets is at the top of the hill where you can look out over London and see a very famous landmark. But, as you walk up the dramatic main avenue, lined with towering lime trees , make sure that you look back your shoulder to see the Millennium Wheel on the horizon.
Officially, Nunhead is actually All Saints Cemetery and it was consecrated in 1840. It was owned by the London Cemetery Company who also owned Highgate Cemetery. Although Nunhead was never as fashionable as Highgate it possesses a charm and atmosphere all of its own. Abandoned and closed in 1969 when its owners went bankrupt, Nunhead went from being a carefully tended cemetery into a Gothic woodland which is part of its appeal. A haven for wildlife with butterflies and wild flowers in abundance during the summer and you might be lucky enough to find a stray and surprised duck on the ephemeral Wetlands pond. Whenever you visit there’s always something to find from fungi to blackberrying.
There’s also a full programme of guided tours on website if you want to know more.
Written February 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Nunhead Cemetery, South London is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


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