Abney Park, London

You can feel about London whatever you want, one thing is for sure: it’s always good for a surprise and will continuously let you explore new things. And Abney Park in Stoke Newington, north-east London (bus stop at Bouverie Road), is definitely worth exploring!

It is indeed a very unusual public park. Most of the park is taken up by the Abney Park Cemetery (for more information see Wikipedia on this). So far not that unusual…
But most of the graves were lushly overgrown by vegetation, trees forcing their way, turning over stones and ivy thickly creeping its fingers over beloved messages to the deceased. There were a few ones dating from 2007 or 2008, but the big majority – if you could decipher the inscription – was at least 100 years old…

In the centre of the cemetery is Abney Park Chapel (more information on Wikipedia) which shares the same fate as most of the tombs – ivy crawling up on one side, trees on the chapel tower; plus some graffiti one the backside, while the door and windows have been removed.

Abney Park Chapel
Abney Park Chapel

Despite the dominance of vegetation left to its own devices and the feeling of having entered the setting of a horror movie or a magical maze, Abney Park is a park – no need to illegally climb fences, there’s a park map at the entrance, a visitor centre, officially labelled paths and botanically labelled trees. And people behave like they’re in a park – meeting up and having picnics (on the tombs, it should be added, which makes you look for pointy teeth…).

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