Admittedly, cemeteries should only be visited on certain circumstances (for example, you wouldn’t want to take a guy/girl there on a first date). However when you need to unwind or just want to learn a bit about London’s rich history, then the Victorian cemeteries are a way to explore and see the Victorians’ unique relationships with life and death.
Although I am a big fan of Highgate Cemetery, I find Nunhead Cemetery in south London more suitable for quiet walks and exploration. Unlike Highgate Cemetery, admission is free and visitors are not required to join a group led by a guide. I can sit on a stone bench and listen to the wildlife or admire the monuments families made to their loved ones.
There are many photo opportunities dotted throughout the grounds: stone angels whose faces are faded from the rain, ivy creeping over statues, tombstones with names barely legible whose inhabitants might be forgotten forever. It’s a perfect playground for budding photographers to hone their craft. As the second largest Victorian cemetery in London, Nunhead Cemetery will give you plenty of space to wander.
Rather than being a depressing place, I find a walk around Nunhead cemetery gives me lots of time to think, learn a bit about London’s past and ultimately remind myself on the joys of life. To get more out of the surroundings, consider volunteering with the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery who carry out preservation work once a month.