Back in May, I had my first visit to Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol, a Victorian graveyard with 45 acres of land which is open to visitors. Arnos Vale hosts events for the local community throughout the year but is also still a working cemetery. I was really surprised to find such a haven of peace and nature so close to Bristol city centre, but found it to be a really pleasant retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
I visited on a warm Sunday afternoon when the cemetery was filled with dog walkers, couples out for strolls, families making the most the remainder of their Sunday and some other people out with their cameras like myself. I also saw fliers around for lots of events which are held in Arnos Vale, including an open-air performance of Romeo and Juliet in the grounds and After-Hours Guided Tours which I imagine would be very atmospheric.
As I have said, it really was lovely to get out of the city for a few hours and get a bit lost in nature. As a person who would not call themselves a nature lover, I found myself scrambling up paths, climbing between trees, standing inches away from beautiful, tiny birds and being surrounded by so many lovely wild flowers! I think many of us, me definitely included, don’t appreciate the advantages to be found from getting out of our cities full of distractions and stimulants and spending some time around greenery, and visiting Arnos Vale was a great way for me to do this without having to travel far.
As well as being surrounded by the beauty of the nature, Arnos Vale is also, unsurprisingly, full of some majestic tombs and memorials. I was equally impressed by the large Victorian monuments proclaiming the great deeds of the departed and the more modest graves, some of which memorialised generations of the same family. I also found the tomb of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, an Indian Social Reformer, very interesting and would recommend searching it out.
I do know that visiting a cemetery is not everyone’s idea of a fun time, but I really do enjoy spending some peaceful time in such places and find it is can be really good to clear my head. If you have a beautiful, open cemetery near you, maybe it’s time to go explore it!
Have a lovely rest of the week 🙂