Top 5 London Cemeteries

12 06 2010

I am not sure what it is about cemeteries that fascinates me so much. It certainly has no morbid roots at all. Maybe it is the differences in the traditions between various cultures, like the grand tombstones and statues in Parisian cemeteries versus the colourful above ground plots throughout Latin America. Wherever I travel to, visit a major cemetery is always on the to-do list.

This especially goes for England, home to some of the most beautiful cemeteries I have seen. Most English cemeteries are separated into a new and an older section, the former usually less interesting than the latter. The older tombstones offer countless things to discover, interesting inscriptions which inspire me to wonder about the lives of the people and their families, beautiful sculptures, famous people…

London in particular has beautiful cemeteries rich in history and beauty and shrouded in mystery and wonder. Here are my top 5 both for visitors to this great metropolis, and for Londoners, too, plus a 32 image gallery of beautiful photos by photographer, Mariposa!

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Last Days of Summer

26 08 2009

Originally this post was to be a To-Do list – what I wanted to do and see in London before the end of summer.  After a super active last couple of weeks, I have decided to combine a to-do list with a have-done list into one Last Days of Summer post, a random sampling of all there is to do in the summer in London.

Notting Hill Carnival – Bank Holiday Weekend

Notting Hill Carnival 2

Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest Carnival celebration outside of Rio, and some of the craziest days London sees every year. I go every year, and this year will be no different. Some people don’t go because its really crowded, very noisy and supposedly a bit dangerous. That’s silly. It’s an amazing celebration of Carribbean/Latin culture, with Dance Hall, Rap, Reggae and Latin music blaring out around every corner, thousands of people dancing and celebrating and some of the most delicious food at any outdoor event in London.  I hope to see some visibility from the Rise Festival people. Rise was cancelled by good ‘ol Boris Johnson this year, and I would really like to see it come back in 2010.

Hyde Park – Rollerbladers

A few weeks ago, we took the train from New Cross, deborded at Charing Cross and walked to Queensway station. It wasnt as far as we thought at a little over an hour, and was some of the best sightseeing you can get in London, all for absolutely free.  Charing Cross to Trafalgar Square through past Buckingham Palace, through St James’ Park, through Hyde Park and then cut through Regents Park up to Queensway station in Bayswater. As we cut through Hyde Park we saw the rollerbladers who are absolutely amazing and reminded me of the two rollerbladers we saw outside Notre Dame in Paris in June. These guys and gals in Hyde Park are some super cool dudes and dudettes, and I’d like to just grab food, sit down, and try and absorb some of that coolness by osmosis!

Lay in Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

We did this a couple of weeks ago, and I’d like to do it everyday. Head first to Greenwich Market for some fresh bread, cheese, olives, maybe some West African, or Italian, and of course maybe some of that wonderful flavored coffee, and then maybe….stop stop, just the food is fine. Then walk on to the park and plop down and read the day away. It’s so easy… a ten minute walk from our house, or one stop on the DLR, and its such a fun park to be in. There are tourists galore on account of it being, oh, the beginning of time (Greenwich Mean Time), but the most relaxing of days, as I know that home is so close by! Nothing like staying local.

Bike ride- Anywhere far

Hackney Wicked Artscream

Hackney Wicked weekend was the perfect opportunity to cycle from the Southeast to Stratford – up through Greenwich, through the tunnel under the Thames (!!!), up and out through to Canary Wharf and then on paths through Victoria Park and continuing on to Hackney and Hackney Wick – eventually to the Fish Island open studios.  Just last weekend for a friend’s birthday we rode up to the White Hart in Stoke Newington – an excellent pub with a giant beer garden filled with Stoke trendies and Islington darlings. Both rides were a blast, but I’d like to go just a bit farther, just one more time before summer ends. Maybe this time from South East to South West…

Brompton CemetaryUPDATE: This Saturday, we rode from Deptford to Brompton Cemetery. One of the coolest cemeteries in London, though upon some consideration, our favourite is still the one in Stoke Newington. Time to Cemetery – 2 hours, though it took us 3 as we stopped at Borough Market, got some amazing breads and cheese, stop to eat a bit in the grass outside of the Tate Modern on the river and then rode through masses of tourists along the Southbank before heading over Battersea Bridge and over to West Brompton. Stay tuned for full Cemetaries of London post!

Sunday saw us get back on the bikes and ride all the way up past Hackney Marsh almost to the resevoirs and to Tottenham Hale and back home. Hackney Marsh was an amazing park, so relaxing that I even fell asleep before the ride home. Time from Deptford to Hackney Marsh – 2.5 hours, home from Tottenham Hale – 3!

Dinner at Benitos Hat

Scratched this off the list last Wednesday – good, fast food tex-mex in the heart of Fitzrovia. Very similar to Chilango. Great tortilla chips, excellent burrito and tacos, very veggie friendly. Stay tuned for Official Mexican Food in London Post.

Martin Luther King – The Mountain Top

Mountaintop

Was on my to-do list, but as  lastminute.com newsletter offered us £15 a ticket deals – went to see this on Monday! The story of Martin Luther King, named after his last public speech before being assassinated, and produced in the first year Obama’s presidency. Was essentially a two-person dialogue which came slowly but surely to the point that Obama is the Mountain Top of which Martin Luther King Jr. (apparently a heavy-smoking, but god-fearing adulterer)had spoken in that speech before he was assassinated.

Battersea Powerstation Red Bull X Fighters Championship

Red Bull X Fighters London

Saw this on Saturday night. Pretty awesome. Stay tuned for full review.

BFI Southbank

BFI

Unfortunately I won’t be able to get to  the onedotzero arts in motion festival on the 9-13th of September, but with free wi-fi in a very comfy space, Benugo, a mediateque and some of the coolest movies on in September (including Juice, Krush Groove and Clerks!), I would love to have a Saturday at the BFI Southbank. Maybe we’ll save this one for a rainy day.