Cathays Cemetery was opened in 1859 and at 35 hectares, is one of the largest Victorian cemeteries in the United Kingdom. Since 1859 both the prominent members of society and those less well known have been buried in the cemetery. There are a variety of stunning memorials as well as a Commonwealth War Graves Commission area and the Chinese section.
Cathays Cemetery is laid out as a Victorian Garden Cemetery in line with the ideas of John Claudius Loudon with chapels, lodge and gateway designed by Mr. Robert G. Thomas of Newport, together with Mr. Thomas Waring, town engineer and cost £5,200.
The Victorians would visit and treat cemeteries in a similar way that we do parks today and often they would spend their Sunday afternoons walking through the cemetery enjoying the peacefulness and the vast array of plants and trees, many imported from overseas. When Cathays opened it was designed to form the principal walk for the people of Cardiff since (until 1894 when Roath Park opened) Cathays Cemetery was the only green space for all people to access and walk through. Trees generally had their details close by them for the public to learn their names.
The site has continued to provide burial space to the people of Cardiff up to 1986 when it was closed for any new burials and has remained so to date with only burials in existing family or pre-purchased graves being permitted. Since 1996 three trails have been developed for the Fairoak Road side of the cemetery. The Heritage Trail, Insignia Trail and Tree Trail look at different aspects of the cemetery from memorials and famous historical people, to the wide ranging military insignia found on the Commonwealth War Graves Headstones to the wide variety of trees planted on the site. All the walks are self guided and copies are available in the information centre.
Cathays Cemetery is a Grade II* listed site within the Cadw Register of Register of Landscapes Parks and Gardens and the Cemetery gateway and forecourt walls; mortuary chapels and reception room are Grade II listed. In addition Cathays was awarded a Green Flag in 2009 and was the first cemetery in Wales to receive this award which means that the cemetery has been judged to be a welcoming place, which is safe and secure and well maintained. We also undertake measures to ensure the sustainability of the site and conserve its history and heritage for all. The Cemetery is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation due to the number of wax caps found on the site and there is wide community involvement in the cemetery through the Friends of Cathays Cemetery and Walking for Health group
Address: Fairoak Road, Cathays, Cardi
Postcode: CF24 4PY
Tel number: (029) 2054 4820
Web Address: www.cardiff.gov.uk/bereavement
Opening Hours: Varies according to time of year and day of week - please check website
Admission Charges: Free admission
Parking Charges: On site parking
Accessibility information: Some level access but there are uneven paths throughout the cemetery