6 cool and creepy crypts and cemeteries you can visit - if you dare - in the UK

Friday 29 September 2017

From a surprisingly attractive landscaped Victorian burial ground to a skull collection by the sea, dare to explore some of Britain’s crypts and cemeteries simply dripping with atmosphere...

1. Cafe in the Crypt, London

Arnos Vale garden cemetery with trees, and sun rays illuminating graves. Café in the Crypt © Marc Gascoigne

 

The Georgian crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields church that presides over London's Trafalgar Square is an unusual spot for a lunch break in the capital. You can tuck into an English afternoon tea with tombstones beneath your feet and vaulted ceilings above. For even more atmosphere, catch the live jazz night, every Wednesday.

2. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

Stone skull with two cross bones on either side on a tomb at Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland. Greyfriars Kirkyard, photo by Olivia Rutherford/REX Shutterstock

 

It's not just the site of the adorable story of Greyfriars Bobby - for the lowdown on the many grisly goings-on in and around Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, take a walking tour. Your guide will lead you around the church’s eerie graveyard where the Mackenzie Poltergeist is said to lurk in the Black Mausoleum. Enter at your own risk – an alarming number of people have reported cuts, bruises, burns and even loss of consciousness after venturing in!

3. St Leonards Church Crypt, Kent

Shelves full of skulls at St Leonard's Church. © St Leonard's Church, Hythe

 

See the largest and best-preserved collection of human bones and skulls in Britain at this macabre crypt in Kent, about 2 hours south-east of London. It houses the remains of around 2,000 people who are thought to have died sometime in the 13th century. No one is sure why, with explanations suggesting they are bludgeoned soldiers from the Battle of Hastings or victims of the Black Death. Go along and see what you can deduce...

4. Abney Park, Stoke Newington, London

Grave stones in beautiful woodland, Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington. Abney Park Cemetery, photo by Barry Phillips/Evening Stand/REX Shutterstock

 

This cemetery in north London is a favourite with photographers and spook-seekers. The photogenic spot, which dates back to 1840, even offers an open stunt grave for burial scenes! Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ video was filmed here.

5. Golders Green Crematorium and Mausoleum, London

Bram Stoker's urn at Golders Green Crematorium, London. © Dadamax, Creative Commons.

 

This magnificent crematorium, with its Italianate gardens, ponds and crocus lawn, was a pioneer of its time, opening in 1901. At Halloween, however, it is most noted as the final resting place of Dracula creator Bram Stoker - dare you go and seek him out?

6. Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol

Arnos Vale garden cemetery with trees, and sun rays illuminating graves. © Arnos Vale Cemetery

 

This Arcadian ‘garden cemetery’ was built in 1839 to accommodate the excess from Bristol’s burgeoning cemeteries, heralding the era of the ‘good death’. Before this, due to cholera outbreaks and the fact cremation was not yet practised, bones and other nasties would protrude and seep from the earth as the dead were crammed on top of each other. Nowadays, the tranquil grounds play host to events that bring the Victorians' elaborate burial rituals to life, from twilight walks to atmospheric theatre tours and horror film screenings. If that's all a bit too spooky, you can always enjoy a fascinating stroll around in the sunshine!

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