Skip to main content 
 
 

 
Autumn at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground
38 City Road
London
EC1Y 2BG

Getting there

Find Bunhill Fields using Google Maps.

Entrances via Bunhill Row and City Road.

Tube: Old Street (exit 3) or Moorgate.

Plan your journey using the TfL Journey Planner.

About Bunhill Fields

See our Bunhill Fields Map (880KB)

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground is located in the London Borough of Islington but is owned and maintained by the City of London Corporation. The 1.6 hectares of Bunhill Fields are an oasis of calm and greenery in a bustling area just north of the Square Mile. It has been managed as a public open space by the City of London since 1867.

Opening hours

October to March: Weekdays from 8am to 4pm. Access to the gated areas is by prior arrangement and weekends and Bank Holidays from 9.30am to 4pm.

April to September: Weekdays from 8am to 7pm or dusk (which ever is earlier). Access to the gated areas is by prior arrangement and before 3pm only.

Weekends and Bank Holidays: from 9.30am to 7pm or dusk.

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Enclosed areas: Some of the graves are behind railings. Most areas can be seen from the main paths. If you wish to enter an enclosed area please call the City Gardens Office on 020 7374 4127 to arrange an appointment. Tuesday 12.30pm - 2.30pm only.​

History

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground's historic significance has been recognized by its designation as a Grade II listed building.

It is the last resting place for an estimated 120,000 bodies. The site has a long history as a burial ground, but is most significant for its Nonconformist connections. These date from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with the burial of prominent people including William Blake, Daniel Defoe, John Bunyan and Susannah Wesley. The significance of the burial ground is recognised by the designation of its historic landscape as a Grade I listed entry on the National Register of Parks and Gardens. Bunhill Fields also forms part of the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground and Finsbury Square Conservation Area. It has 75 listed tombs within its boundary.

The current layout of Bunhill Fields Burial Ground dates was developed in two main phases. The first of these was in the 1860s, when the City of London improved the site. This involved laying out paths, undertaking tree planting and carrying out work to the tombs including re-cutting and recording inscriptions. In the 1960s another layer was added to the site with a sensitively designed public garden by one of the foremost landscape architects of the period, Peter Shepheard. The southern area remained dominated by the memorials, fenced off from public access by metal railings. To the north, a new open lawn enclosed by shrub planting was created to complement the memorial landscape. The burial ground now contains 2,333 monuments, mostly simple headstones (of which there are 1,920) arranged in a grid formation.

Many of the graves are packed closely together, giving an idea of how London's burial places looked before large cemeteries further from the centre of London opened from the 1830s onwards.

Bunhill Fields today is a popular lunchtime spot for office workers wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding City.

Download our Bunhill Fields Map (885KB)

See our Bunhill Fields Conservation Management Plan pages which details how the historical features of Bunhill Fields is protected and preserved.​

Surrounding area

Nearby Bunhill Fields Burial Ground are two other Nonconformist sites:

Wesley's Chapel

Wesley's Chapel is situated opposite the burial ground across the City Road to the east. The chapel was built by John Wesley as his base in London in 1778 and is known as 'the cathedral of world Methodism'. Part of the site is Wesley's House, the Museum of Methodism. To the rear is a small burial ground which is the site of John Wesley's tomb. Other members of his family are buried at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground. Wesley's Chapel has an active programme of services, as well as around 10,000 visitors a year and is a key site for Methodists worldwide.

Quaker Gardens

To the west of Bunhill Fields Burial Ground lies Banner Street, where another important Nonconformist site and small public open space is located. This is the Bunhill Fields Meeting House and the Quaker Gardens. The gardens are a small fragment of a Quaker burial ground, which was also known as Bunhill Fields Burial Ground. This was the first freehold property owned by Quakers. It was bought in 1661 and used until 1855 for 12,000 burials. George Fox, Edward Burrough and John Bellers were buried there and many people interested in Quakerism still visit the site from all over the world for this reason.

Guided tours

The City Guides conduct guided walks around Bunhill Fields Burial Ground beginning at 12:30pm every Wednesday from April to October.

Guided walks start at the Attendant's Hut in the centre of the garden and the price is £8.

Visit guided walks around the City Gardens

Management of Bunhill Fields

Bunhill Fields has been managed as a public open space by the City of London Corporation for over 140 years. Initially this was under the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground Act 1867, and latterly under the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1960. In order to set out the vision, objectives and priorities for the management of Bunhill Fields between now and 2020. A site management plan is being prepared by the City Gardens team.

Our overall aim is to provide a high quality urban green space, which reflects and benefits the local community it serves. Our vision is to maintain the site as a valuable historic property with rich cultural, natural and social attributes at a local and international level.

Bunhill received its first Green Flag Award in 2009. The Green Flag Award scheme recognises the value of green spaces to communities. It recognises staff and managing organisations that are dedicated to providing excellent green spaces for the community.​

Biodiversity

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground provides a valuable oasis of greenery in a highly urban area. It contains grassland and shrubbery along with fine mature trees which harbour birds and bats. Its value for biodiversity is indicated by its designation as a Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation.

The graveyard is well stocked with around 130 trees including, London plane trees, oaks, limes, golden-barked ash, a black mulberry and a drymis winteri from South America. The dominant pattern of tree planting began in the 1870s when the burial ground was laid out with avenues of plane trees. The trees provide cover for birds including great tit, blue tit, wren, robin and feral and wood pigeons. It is of note that a pair of spotted flycatchers (a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species) is also reported as breeding on site.

The ground flora, patchy shaded and regularly mown grass cover, is comprised of annual meadow grass, greater plantain, perennial rye-grass and common chickweed. It also has locally abundant spring beauty, dandelion, white clover, selfheal and procumbent yellow-sorrel.

During the spring, swathes of crocuses surround the bases of the trees on the north lawn. In the grass surrounding the graves to the south are snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths.

The memorials, together with the shade provided by the tree cover, provide suitable habitat and micro-climate conditions for lichens, bryophytes and ferns.

For more information about the City's biodiversity visit our wildlife and nature pages.

Burial records

For information regarding burial records, please contact the London Metropolitan Archives, The National Archives or visit the Burial Ground itself.

Records held at London Metropolitan Archives include the interment order books 1789-1854 and the list of those persons whose gravestone inscription survived in 1869. The original registers of burials at Bunhill Fields Cemetery for 1713-1854 are held at The National Archives.

London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road
London
EC1R 0HB
ask.lma@cityoflondon.gov.uk


The National Archives
Ruskin Avenue
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU
Tel: 020 8876 3444

Hire this green space

​Bunhill Fields is available to hire for events with up to 500 attendees, including family celebrations, receptions, film shoots and charity events.

Park features

  • Historic burial ground with a large grassed area
  • Grade I-listed Park and Garden status
  • Total area of 16,009m2
  • Lawn area of 1,030m2, of which 1,015m2 is available for event hire

Applying for hire

To look into hiring Bunhill Fields, please see our events application page.

Available times

Bunhill Fields is available for hire Monday to Saturday, 8am to 10pm.

Some events may be restricted on Sundays - please discuss with our City Gardens team.

Licencing and Byelaws

Bunhill Fields is located in the London Borough of Islington and therefore Islington's licensing laws will need to be followed, along with park byelaws. We're happy to advise you of byelaws during the application process.

Enter your comment

Is there anything wrong with this page?

Your comments will be subject to moderation. Offensive or inappropriate comments will not be published. Comments made here are the views and responsibility of those making the comments and do not necessarily represent the views of the City of London Corporation.

The City of London will hold the personal information you have provided when making your comment in its Customer Database for monitoring purposes and will not be shared with any third parties. For further information on how personal information is processed by the City of London visit our legal notices page.

CAPTCHA
Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Comments (0)

There are no comments

Notifications