London Goth Top 10 Sightseeing

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I started writing this as one post, and then I realised it was impossible to curb my enthusiasm for the subject, so I’m going to do ten locations over ten days, and then round it up for ease of reference! (insert laughing/crying emoji here)

So, where to begin? London has been my town for nine years now. I arrived here fresh out of home, and more or less fresh out of school. I was a rookie to life, and nowhere near an adult. So the adventure began as it does for most, finding a job, a place to live, learning to make new friends, and finding where the things I liked were generally located – and London is one hell of a big city.

There’s no place like London for a #GothGirl

When I first moved to Europe, I travelled with ‘fresh off the boat’ aggression and keenness, always Google searching subjects like “Goth Paris” or “Alternative sightseeing Paris” “Gothic in Paris” “Top 10 Goth Paris” to try and find things to do in each new city that aligned with my tastes. Very rarely would I get a relevant search result. Yes I do like Gothic architecture but no I don’t want to spend all my time on this long weekend away ticking off a visit to all the cathedrals in your fair city. So, I’m going to start compiling my own lists….

TOP TEN GOTHIC SIGHTSEEING FOR LONDON

#1 The Magnificent Seven.

London is drowning in graveyards, but in specific when the parish cemeteries began to overflow in Victorian times, the decision was made to consecrate 7 large new cemeteries on the outskirts of the city, where the dead could be housed in fancy new tombs to their families romantic Victorian tastes.

Highgate Cemetery is the most famous of these, and the only one you’ll have to pay for. If you do go to Highgate, make sure you go at a time when you can visit both the East and the West sides of the cemetery, because it is the tour of the West with a guide knowledgeable in the grave lore and funerary customs of the era who will make it 100% worthwhile.

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Inside the tombs at Highgate, photo by J R Manawa.

And least we forget, you’ll get a personal tour of the catacombs, previously sealed for hundreds of years, where you are permitted to gaze upon the red velvet furnished and brass adorned victorian coffins, still mostly intact.

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Victorian grandeur, the Egyptian Avenue at Highgate West. Photo by J R Manawa.

But Highgate isn’t the be-all and end-all of the magnificent seven.

My own personal order of visit-important is;

Abney Park Cemetery. Though the perfect and spooky gothic chapel in the heart of this great grave jungle is sadly being renovated at the moment (okay, maybe it’s a good thing. I’ll reserve my judgement for when I see it completed.)

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The gothic funerary chapel in the heart of Abney Park, prior to restoration. Photo and edit by J R Manawa.

Kensal Green, because epic tombs.

Kensal Green
Fly away, Kensal Green, photo by J R Manawa

Brompton Cemetery, because the layout of this cemetery is pretty cool. Word of wisdom, don’t try to peer into the catacomb vaults beneath the main structure. If you do, let me know what you find there…

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Cherubs in Brompton Cemetery, photo by J R Manawa.

Nunhead, for which I currently can’t locate my photos 😦 

Tower Hamlets, because what other grand cemetery in London would allow a circus to take up residence after dark upon it’s hallowed grounds?

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Contemplating life in Tower Hamlets Cemetery, photo by J R Manawa.

And last, but not least, West Norwood, who’s catacombs are rarely open but featured on the ITV series “Under London” last year, see it here.

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West Norwood at sun down, photo by J R Manawa.

All photos are taken by me. Cover photo for this post is possibly my favourite photo ever, a candid snap of a London taxi taking a shortcut through Kensal Green cemetery.

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