1. Say happy birthday to Abney Park
Abney Park turns 175 this month, and to celebrate, there's a panoply of events, including a family fun day with cabaret, food, craft workshops and stalls; a talk by authors who've been inspired by the cemetery; a Victorian Day (featuring a death cafe and a look at some of Abney Park's music hall artists); and a day of music starring The Elastic Band, John Hegley, and "freeform urban sax where you least expect it" (talk about terrifying). Events are free or cheap. Check out the full list of events.
2. Mark the other Marx in Highgate
Everyone's fave cemetery fact is that Karl Marx is buried in Highgate, but on 20 May, biographer Rachel Holmes focuses on Karl's daughter Eleanor — a great change-maker in her own right (tickets £10+booking fee). Then, on 13 June Highgate invites you to a hands-on stone masonry workshop (tickets £95+booking fee), in which you get to carve letters into your very own piece of Portland Stone (probably not big enough to use as your actual gravestone).
3. Explore morality, sin and redemption at Brompton
The Fieri Consort are at Brompton Cemetery on 8 May, performing Out of the Shadows, which takes listeners on a chilling yet redemptive musical journey capturing everything from the intense expressions of murderous composer Prince Carlo Gesualdo, to a text written by Sir Walter Raleigh while awaiting execution in the Tower of London. Tickets £9-£12.
4. Dye naturally in Tower Hamlets
'Natural Dyeing Workshop' is a fittingly-titled event taking place in Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 9 May. Susie Wareham helps you create your own dyed textiles, using natural materials and sustainable processes (£45, £36 concessions). Other May events include a bat walk, a wild food forage, and a course on how to use herbs found in the cemetery for medicinal purposes. On 6 June, it's the Summer Fair (free). More info on all these and more on the website.
5. Hang out with birds of prey at Nunhead
On 16 May, Nunhead Cemetery hosts its biggest event of the year — a free open day featuring woodcrafting demonstrations, birds of prey on show, local history stalls, a children's bug hunt, choirs performing in the chapel and tours of the mausoleum and crypt.
There's plenty more happening in London's cemeteries over the summer. We'll be publishing a second of these articles in a couple of months.