Monday 8 July 2024

Summer Family Events at Willesden Jewish Cemetery


Guest post by Irina Porter

Where would you go on a sunny day to enjoy exploring outdoors in the cool shade of the trees, stunning flowers and urban wildlife? Where can you do this with all the family – from the young ones to the grandparents – experiencing something educational and fascinating? To the cemetery, of course!


Willesden Jewish Cemetery (WJC) is not just a place of remembrance, but also a beautiful sanctuary full of life. It is a 20 acre oasis of nature, combined with a beautiful architectural landscape, right in the middle of a busy built up area. Adjacent to Roundwood Park, it forms part of a large green corridor where nature thrives, and it is now open for everyone to explore and enjoy.

WJC opened in 1873 as a garden cemetery. It was nearly full by the 1960s, and now only 20 funerals a year take place there. In 2015, an innovative project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other benefactors transformed the cemetery into a heritage attraction, with historic displays, interpretation boards, information leaflets, free car parking, disabled access and toilets. The new Heritage Centre welcomes visitors of all faiths and cultures, telling the story of the Jewish community in London and beyond. If you happen to drop by during the opening hours (see the website for details:, a friendly volunteer will show you what’s on offer and answer your questions.

Volunteers are at the heart of what we do: from gardening to guided tours, from historical research to front of house. Our friendly team is there to contribute passion, time and expertise to our common cause – to bring this gem of history and nature to a wider audience.

The cemetery runs a busy programme, which includes guided walks, family history advice, Death Café, schools’ visits, World War commemorations and nature events.

This summer we are launching a new programme of activities, aimed at families and children:


On Sunday 14 July join us for our Family Discovery Day, a morning of nature exploration, something unique and fascinating for the whole family. A short guided walk offers an introduction to what we have to offer to a young nature lover, as well as taking in the beauty of a historic architectural landscape. Throughout the morning children will be able to take part in creative workshops, such as making bug hotels and butterflies. Our volunteers will share the remarkable stories of some very special people connected with the cemetery. Plus: try on a special hat for a perfect photo opportunity!

If you fancy exploring the cemetery by yourself, we offer discovery trails tailored for different school ages, which uncover stories and secrets hidden within the cemetery's grounds. From spotting symbols of Jewish traditions to unravelling mysteries surrounding intriguing figures, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

For the grown-ups, we offer a leaflet with a map and life stories of 20 remarkable individuals, which will help you navigate through our enchanting gardens and significant monuments as well as a FREE guide on Bloomberg connects:

The event is free, there is a small charge of £5 per family for craft activities. For more information and to book, visit: (

If you cannot make 14 July, check out our summer workshops for children. Discover the Wonders of Nature sessions which will run on 24 and 31 July, 2pm – 4 pm. We’ll take a short nature walk through our beautiful grounds, exploring the hidden gems of our local ecosystem with our knowledgeable guides. Following the walk, we will run a craft session.



Using materials sourced from the great outdoors, let your imagination soar as you create beautiful works of art inspired by the wonders of the environment. From nature mosaics to bug hotels, there's something for everyone to enjoy!

Every Wednesday morning in August we will run Creative Collage Workshops. Inspired by the cemetery and expressing this on paper, create beautiful and meaningful collages which tell stories of the past, stirred by the evocative landscape. The workshops are aimed at primary school children but will be suitable and enjoyable for all ages. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Advance booking is essential.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have further questions: either by email ( or phone (020 8459 6107). We will be happy to hear from you and welcome you to our very special historic green space.



Anonymous said...

This looks very interesting, thank you for posting

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very good educational event.Good Luck with it.

Anonymous said...

A great range of activities in a unique location. I am looking forward to getting involved!

Anonymous said...

I've been to the cemetery a couple of times for open days and guided tours and it's great. Welcoming, interesting, and the volunteers are fantastic. Highly recommended.