For many years the most fashionable necropolis in England (you wouldn’t be seen dead anywhere else), Kensal Green Cemetery accepted its first occupants in 1833. This Gothic boneyard is the final resting place of many illustrious names, including Charles Babbage, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, William Makepeace Thackeray, Baden Powell and the almost comically named Dr Albert Isaiah Coffin. The cemetery remains in high demand among the deceased: a prime lot today costs £22,000 (plus burial fees).
Supposedly based on the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris, the 29-hectare cemetery is distinguished by its Greek Revival architecture, arched entrances and the outrageously ornate tombs that bear testament to 19th-century delusions of grandeur. Two-hour tours (£7) of the cemetery are offered on Sundays at 2pm (from March to October; first and third Sundays per month other times) by the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery (www.kensalgreen.co.uk). Some of these tours also visit the catacombs beneath the Anglican Chapel (although at the time of writing, they were still closed for the restoration of the chapel). The cemetery is laid out alongside the Grand Union Canal, which makes for splendid walks alongside the water, especially if the sun obliges.