When I looked into the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery, I read that “today the cemetery is managed by the Royal Parks, and is only visible through fences unless a special visit is arranged.” About a week before we left for Europe, I emailed the Royal Parks and asked if I could line up an appointment to see the pet cemetery on one of the three days that we’d be in London. It was while we were in Paris that they emailed me back saying the cemetery is only open a few times a year, and the first one was indeed on the last day of our time in London. It turns out that access to the cemetery is part of the Hidden Stories of Hyde Park walking tour, which is only once a month! I couldn’t believe my luck. I bought us four tickets and we rearranged our London plans.
The walking tour of Hyde Park was really nice! We learned about “the notorious criminals that met their untimely end at the Tyburn Tree, the inception of Speakers’ Corner and the park’s instrumental role during WW1.” More from the description of the tour: “Experience the magic of Hyde Park as you visit the Serpentine, where Peter Pan had his first adventure in JM Barrie’s novel Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Finally, finish with an exclusive visit to our Victoria Pet Cemetery, the first public Pet Cemetery in Britain, where over 1,000 pets have been buried.”
It was so exciting to see this pet cemetery because it’s so exclusive. It’s very small (it’s also the yard of a little building where I think someone lives!), and there is very little walking room. The graves are packed in, and they all look the same. There is nothing adorning them, as I have seen in every pet cemetery I’d visited before this one. But it is certainly a delightful experience to crouch down and read the names and inscriptions. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to visit (plus our tour guides were awesome).
Before the 10:30 tour, we’d actually made it to St. Paul’s Cathedral, mostly so I could see Postman’s Park nearby. And after the tour we had lunch at The Swan, saw the Animals in War Memorial, and took a double-decker bus (I’m sorry but !!!) to Portobello Road. We walked around there for a while, and when Nat’s parents headed back to our Airbnb, Nat and I went to Trafalgar Square and serendipitously into the National Gallery for a couple hours. All those photos in the next post.