A Lovely Place for a Stroll

When I lived in Boston, my dog and I would go for walks around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.   Our new place does not have a reservoir right across the street.  However, I have found a new place to go for walks.  On the second day in our new apartment in London, we went out to explore.  During our wanderings we met two people at different times that suggested going for walks in the Brompton Cemetery.  At first I thought this was odd.  I’ve always loved visiting old cemeteries, but I never wandered through one on a daily basis with my dog.  However, one of the individuals told us that not only was it beautiful, but it was home to many famous people including Emmeline Pankhurst, an important suffragette in Britain.  As a history nerd I was instantly intrigued.   I soon found out, that many of the residents in the area love to walk, jog, cycle, and meander through the cemetery.

Brompton Cemetery opened in 1840 and it is one of the seven cemeteries that started in the mid-1800s by private companies.  These cemeteries are referred to as the Magnificent Seven.  Benjamin Baud designed the cemetery.  At the center is a small domed chapel, which was constructed in 1839.  The basilica of St Peter’s in Rome was the influence for the chapel.

Before the land became a cemetery the area consisted of market gardens.  Lord Kensington sold 39 acres to the founders of Brompton Cemetery.  The cemetery is designed to give the visitor the feel that they are in an open air cathedral and is rectangular in shape.

The directors of the cemetery constructed high walls around it to give reassurance to the loved ones that the coffins would not be disturbed by grave robbers.  At the time, grave robbers would steal bodies and sell them to medical students.  The directors also hired watchmen to wander the cemetery at night with lanterns.

Beatrix Potter lived near the cemetery and it is reported that she named many of her characters from the names she found on tombstones.  These names include, Mr. McGregor, Mr. Nutkins, Jeremiah Fisher, and of course Peter Rabbett.   I’ll do my best to locate these tombstones.  But as you can see from the photos, there are many to explore.

The cemetery has been featured in many movies, including Sherlock Holmes (2009), Crush, Finding Neverland, and Johnny English.

I am ecstatic to find such a lovely place to go for walks with my dog.  Also, I am excited to explore, to locate and learn about many of the famous residents.  It will be a great way to learn about the history of England and its people.

If you are in the area and would like to visit the cemetery, the address is Old Brompton Road in West Brompton, SW10 in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  The main gate is by the junction with Kempsford Gardens.  There is another entrance on Fulham Road by the intersection with Hortensia Road.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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44 Responses to A Lovely Place for a Stroll

  1. Great shots. I love old headstones.

  2. Carl V. says:

    Yep, that place is ideal! I just knew you’d start finding amazing places once you were able to start wandering around London. What a fun place to take walks. I would be inspired to do that more often if I was treated to sights like that every day.

    • TBM says:

      It is very inspiring. Last weekend I started jogging in it and I was able to ignore the pain and look at all the beauty. Not sure how long that will last, but it is a good start. There are so many amazing places here. Now that I have internet at home I can start sharing them.

  3. Kristina says:

    I am meaning to visit this cemetery! I found it weir in the beginning that British go for a walk, cycle or jog in cemeteries, but now it seems normal 🙂 We have a very old Nunhead cemetery not far from home, it dates back to 1800, Victorian times, but I don’t think anyone very famous has been berried there. But it’s so lovely to have a walk there, especially because from the top of the hill you can see the panorama of the City of London: D St Paul’s Cathedral, Gherkin tower and other famous landmarks: D Amazing: D Now we always take our visitors there for a little stroll: D I will have to take a few pictures next time I am there! I also want to visit Highgate cemetery, they are famous, but you can’t just hang around there, there are guided tours at certain hours, very interesting 😉 Thanks for inspiring me! 😀

    • TBM says:

      Your cemetery sounds fantastic. I would love to see some pictures! The views sound amazing. I definitely want to visit more cemeteries. Thanks for the tip about Highgate. A guided tour would be fun. We took a tour of Brompton and I learned a lot, but you don’t have to take a tour to visit it. I look forward to seeing your photos.

  4. niasunset says:

    This is new for me too, but how nice… You captured beautiful photographs… I love UK and their cultures… This cemetery is very interesting for me too dear TBM, Thank you for sharing with us. And I am glad you found a lovely place to walk with your dog. Have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

    • TBM says:

      Hi Nia. It is a lovely place. And I was surprised that it was so close to it so I can enjoy it on a regular basis. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Seasweetie says:

    How gorgeous! I love cemeteries, especially old ones.

  6. Fergiemoto says:

    Thank you for sharing this story! It was very interesting. The photos are great, and I see the birds frequent this cemetery also.

  7. I too walk regularly in a cemetery although not as grand as this, it’s a very beautiful and peaceful place.

  8. The Hook says:

    Awesome pics! Sounds like a great place to seek inspiration!

  9. Caroline says:

    How beautiful. I love cemeteries and this seems a beautiful one. I’m amazed you are allowed to walk the dog there. Who would have thought that’s one of the places where Beatrix Potter found the names of her characters.

    • TBM says:

      I was surprised that it is treated like a park. You can still have burials there, but I hear that new burials are quite rare. It has turned into more of a park. There are some places where you can’t take your dog or ride a bike. But it is big enough so we can still enjoy a lot of it.

  10. IsobelandCat says:

    Funnily enough, I was just wondering yesterday how your animals were settling in and where you were walking the dog.
    For longer walks in the country, some Ramblers groups welcome dogs, as do some Ramblers Holidays – Hassness in the Lake District (more Beatrix Potter than London) has holidays where a limited number of dogs are welcome. http://www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/page/hassness-the-best-of-the-lake-district

    • TBM says:

      Thanks Isobel. We will have to look into these groups. I’ve heard a lot about the Lake District and it sounds wonderful. Thanks again for the link!

  11. T.F.Walsh says:

    Great images…. very inspirational for writing….

  12. jacquelincangro says:

    This post came at a great time because tomorrow I’m going on a tour of a neighborhood cemetery in Brooklyn. It dates back to the mid-1800s and was one of the first to be a planned space with architecturally designed buildings and sculptures. We’ll have to compare notes when I get back.
    Enjoy your walks with your dog!

    • TBM says:

      Ooooooo….I can’t wait to hear about it! I hope you have a great time. Where in Brooklyn, just in case I am in Brooklyn sometime. Both of these cemeteries were built during the same time. I wonder if they will resemble each other at all.

  13. These are beautiful shots. I was just in New Orleans a little over a week ago and my friends and I did a cemetery tour. While it may not be as idyllic as the photos you have posted here, they do have their own distinct charm – steeped in history as well. I’m sure you’d love it.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks! I was in New Orleans last year and did a cemetery tour. I agree with you, they do have their own charm. Did you see Marie Laveau’s tomb? That was pretty cool to see. New Orleans is a beautiful city and I hope you enjoyed your time there.

  14. Jo Bryant says:

    i am a cemetary lover – used to spend hours in them growing up – there was something so calming and serene within their boundaries – so I loved this post

  15. Palm Trees & Bare Feet says:

    Wonderful pictures and post! I have always loved strolling through cemeteries and would definitely enjoy seeing one as old as your Brompton Cemetery!

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  16. Novroz says:

    Wow…a cemetery that doesn’t look scary at all!!! I like the shot where there are so many birds in it

    • TBM says:

      Every time I’ve been there have been a ton of birds. I love it. This place doesn’t seem scary, but I’ve only been there during the daylight.

  17. Carol says:

    Looks like an absolutely beautiful cemetery, full of character.

  18. You must live in a very nice part of town! The Parisians too like their old cemetries – and why not, beautiful, restful places. Stunning photos, very atmospheric…but where´s your dog?!

    • TBM says:

      Thanks! Oh Miles was there. All of the pigeons drive him crazy since I won’t let him chase them. I’ll have to check out some cemeteries in Paris!

  19. lucyfurleaps says:

    There is also the legend of The Time Machine in Brompton Cemetery… try googling it 😉

  20. frizztext says:

    fine place for birds too!

  21. Exquisite cemetery and lovely photos! I adore a fine cemetery for its combination of beautiful landscape (whether tidy or wild), its intriguing sculptures, its inevitable bird population, its history . . . oh, I could go on and on. So I’m glad you took us along on this journey with you! Thanks!
    Kathryn

    • TBM says:

      Thanks Kathryn! The cemetery is beautiful that it would be hard to take a bad photo there. I also love the mixture of neat areas and overgrown areas. Some of the parts are a little eerie. I’m glad you enjoyed the journey!

  22. In that last picture I like the way nature has been allowed nature to reassert itself. I find a cemetery that’s natural or semi-natural more appealing than one that has been shorn into barren conformity. A wildflower-adorned one that I’ve depicted is at

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/a-one-day-departure/

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