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Brompton Cemetery in London

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This post provides details about how to visit Brompton Cemetery in London, some of the most notable sites, and other information you may want to know before heading to this historic graveyard.


Overview

Brompton Cemetery first opened up in 1840, and it has become the final resting place for many notable British people.

It is managed by the Royal Parks of London, and it is still a working cemetery to this day.

In addition to all the historic gravesites, you can also expect to spot a lot of wildlife in the area, and some people visit just to see what types of animals they can find.

Brompton Cemetery has a beautiful chapel which recently received a restoration. Funerary services are still performed in this chapel today.

The Brompton Cemetery Gate.

There is also a cafe where you can grab a cup of coffee and a visitor centre which provides additional information and leaflets which include free self-guided tours.

In addition to those tour options, there are also guided tours offered on most Sundays. Alternatively, you can also watch our virtual tour of Brompton Cemetery to see some of the best attractions.

This cemetery is open every day of the year, and it’s easily accessed by either tube or bus.

While you can drive here, parking won’t necessarily be easy to find, so we recommend using public transit instead.

Check our post on how to use the London Underground for more information.


Plan Your Visit

The Brompton Cemetery is owned by the Royal Parks of London, and it is entirely free to visit this historic location.

You can visit the cemetery every day of the year during the following opening hours.

  • 25th Oct - 31st Jan | 7 am - 4 pm
  • 1st Feb - 21st Feb | 7 am - 5 pm
  • 22nd Feb - 27th Mar | 7 am - 6 pm
  • 28th Mar - 25th Apr | 7 am - 7pm
  • 26th Apr - 31st Aug | 7 am - 8pm
  • 1st Sept - 12th Sept | 7 am - 7pm
  • 13th Sept - 3rd Oct | 7 am - 6pm
  • 4th Oct - 25th Oct | 7 am - 5pm

Closing times might change depending on when the sunset takes place during the spring and fall. 


How to Get There

Brompton Cemetery is located on Fulham Road, London SW10 9UG. This address is Southwest of the city centre between Chelsea and Fulham.

The nearest tube station is the West Brompton stop, and it’s closer to the north gate of the cemetery.

You can find the north gate just off Old Brompton Road, which is a short walk from the tube station.

This map shows the closest tube station (West Brompton to the northwest of the cemetery) and the closest bus stop (south of the cemetery).

If you’re coming from the South, we recommend taking buses 14, 211, or 414 to the Hortensia Road stop. You’ll find the south gate to the cemetery nearby.

Parking on-site is only available to grave license holders, so the best way to get here is either by bus or tube. 

Read our post on how to use the London Underground for more details.


Cemetery Tours

The Friends of Brompton Cemetery offer guided tours on most Sundays throughout the year. They are authorized by the Royal Parks to provide this service.

Since they are a registered charity, a £10 donation is suggested to help keep the Cemetery in good shape, and they only accept cash payments.

These tours are available on the following dates:

  • Every Sunday from 23rd May - 28th Nov
  • 1st and 3rd Sunday of December
  • All Sunday tours begin at 2 pm

This charity organization also offers guided group tours at any time during the week for groups of at least 10 people.

They request a £12 donation per person for this activity.

If you’re looking for more opportunities to take a tour, the Friends of Brompton Cemetery are always working on providing even more services. Check their events calendar for more details.

One of their additional activities is a tour of the cemetery catacombs.

This service is not offered regularly, so it will be important to check their calendar to see when they are next offering the catacombs tour.

Alternatively, you can also email them at events@brompton-cemetery.org.uk to ask when this tour will be available.

For those who can’t make it to the cemetery on a Sunday, the also offer 4 self-guided tours on the official Brompton Cemetery leaflet.

In addition to these options, you can also enjoy our free virtual tour of Brompton Cemetery whenever you wish!


What is the Oldest Burial in Brompton Cemetery?

Emma Shaw was the first person buried in Brompton Cemetery on June 22nd, 1840.

Her gravestone is fairly easy to miss because it is very plain and common in appearance. You can find her grave near the southeastern end of the cemetery.

If you're coming from the south gate, simply stay on the main path north and walk past the chapel. Shortly after passing this landmark, you'll find Emma's grave on the righthand side of the path.

Consider using one of the cemetery leaflets for more help finding the gravesite.


Famous People Buried Here

There are a lot of notable people buried at Brompton Cemetery, so we’ll just list a few of the most notable gravesites you can see here.

  • Tim Rose (Musician)
  • Brian Glover (Actor)
  • G.A. Henty (Novelist)
  • Henry McGee (Actor)
  • Joseph Bonomi (Artist)
  • Richard Tauber (Actor)
  • John Snow (Physician)
  • Theodore Martin (Poet)
  • John William Godward (Artist)
  • George Henry Borrow (Novelist)
  • Mary Louisa Molesworth (Writer)
  • Thomas Pettigrew (Mummy Expert)

The Magnificent Seven Cemeteries

Brompton Cemetery is one of seven in London that was established in the 19th century to resolve the issue of overcrowding in smaller graveyards and burial grounds in the city.

As such, it's also one of the most historically significant cemeteries in the United Kingdom.

These large, beautiful graveyards were largely inspired by locations such as Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Although the idea of building suburban cemeteries in London was not new, it wasn't until the city's population more than doubled in the 1800s that it became necessary to create these massive new burial grounds.

Brompton Cemetery was actually the fifth of the Magnificent Seven to be constructed. Here is a list of the other 6 cemeteries included in this group:


Highgate Cemetery

Established in 1839, this was the third of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries to be built.

It's notable as the burial site of famous people such as Karl Marx and Douglas Adams, but also because of supernatural legend.

In the 1960s and 1970s, there were vampire hunters visiting this cemetery in search of a vampire they claimed to have lived on the site.


Nunhead Cemetery

This was the sixth of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries and it was constructed in 1840.

Once privately owned and known as All Saints Cemetery, today it is publicly owned and considered a nature reserve.

Many notable people are buried here including writer William Brough and Bryan Donkin, who created the first paper making machine and the first commercial canning factory.


Abney Park Cemetery

Having opened in 1840, this was the fourth of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries to be built.

Although this was originally the site of a parkland called Abney Park, they turned it into a cemetery in the mid-1800s.

Notable burials include both William and Catherine Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, and anti-slavery abolitionists such as James Stephen and Thomas Binney.


Kensal Green Cemetery

Built in 1833, this was the first of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries to be established.

The Kensal Green Cemetery has been listed as a Grade I structure on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens in London, and it remains in use to this day.

Several notable people have been buried here, including royalty such as Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, and Princess Sophia.


Tower Hamlets Cemetery

This was the last of the Magnificent Seven to be constructed, and it was established in 1841.

It was originally known as The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery, but locals referred to it as Bow Cemetery.

This site was actually built more than 100 years before the modern borough of Tower Hamlets was created in 1965.

Since then, this location has been declared a nature reserve and its walls were listed as a Grade II structure on the National Register of Historic Parks.


West Norwood Cemetery

Established in 1837, this was the second of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries to be opened in London.

Much like the others, this site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, and it is considered a site of value to nature conservation.

Notable burials here include more than twenty Members of Parliament in Westminster, several artists and entertainers, and significant inventors.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: September 15th, 2022
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