By the early 1800s, London’s population had grown exponentially. As a result, the cemeteries couldn’t support the growing population. Plans were drawn up for seven more cemeteries, which were later dubbed as the magnificent seven cemeteries. Abney Park is one of those seven.
When it was first constructed, it was designed as a non denominational cemetery, as well as an arboretum. In the 1970s, the cemetery company went into administration, and the cemetery was left to grow into the atmospheric, overgrown Victorian park it is today.
Abney Park is in the London borough of Hackney. The easiest way to get there is either via the overground or bus. The main entrance is off of the high street. For more information, visit the cemetery website. http://www.abneypark.org
Overall, Bowser and I really enjoyed ourselves. We went in the middle of winter and everything was all squidgy and muddy. I was very glad to have worn sturdy, watertight boots, as there were times I thought the mud was going to suck the shoes right off my feet. I was also glad I brought a towel so I could clean Bowser up a bit before our trip home.
I enjoyed wandering the narrow paths through the overgrown graves and toppled tomb stones. The combination of the narrow trails, coupled with everything covered in ivy, gives the impression that the grounds have been untouched since Victorian times. It was beautiful in a macabre way.
Bowser and I went on a Friday afternoon. There were a few other people there. Some were just walking around and taking pictures, and others were out walking their dogs. Although most people seemed friendly, a few were on the rougher side, and not all the dog owners had their dogs under control. Bowser was nearly attacked by an off-leash German Shepard. However, thankfully, I was able to swing him behind me and kick the dog away in time.
A couple more items of note:
- Neither the cemetery or the Stoke Newington train station have public restrooms.
- The cemetery does have benches you can sit on, but I didn’t feel comfortable sitting one one and eating my lunch since everything was so muddy.
- When I went, the church was fenced off. But, you can still walk right up to the fences and peer in.
If you enjoy wandering around cemeteries or need a change in scenery, I’d suggest you visit Abney Park. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes. And, if you’re walking your dog, be aware that not all dogs or dog owners there are as well behaved as you or your dog are.