Changes to cemetery and crematorium access and threat to close Ramsgate cemetery due to ‘groups picnicking’

Ramsgate cemetery Image Josh Tilley / CC BY-SA (

Changes to public access to the district’s cemeteries, crematorium and burial grounds have been made as a result of national measures in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

People should only visit Margate Crematorium if they are attending a service. Ramsgate cemetery remains open but people flouting social distancing rules by picnicking in the grounds may force the site to be closed off to the public.

At Margate the gates will be closed following the last service each day and remain closed at the weekends. No-one should enter the crematorium grounds even when the gates are open, unless they are attending a service. Services are limited to immediate family members only.

St John’s Cemetery, Margate, has been temporarily closed to visitors

Ramsgate Cemetery currently remains open as it does not have a crematorium within its grounds. The council is keeping this decision under review following recent incidents of fly tipping and groups ignoring social distancing rules. This has included the gatherings of people having picnics in the grounds.

As an operational cemetery, visitors to Ramsgate Cemetery must also abide by the instruction signage in place to protect public safety.

The action has been taken to comply with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.   The changes only relate to Thanet District Council grounds and do not include those run by religious organisations.

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience and understand that this action may cause distress at this already difficult time.  This closure will be reviewed in line with national guidance with a view to reopening the cemetery as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

“It’s disappointing to hear that some people visiting Ramsgate Cemetery have not been following guidance on social distancing, with some even seen picnicking in the grounds. If this continues we will have to take the difficult decision to close Ramsgate Cemetery as well.”

For more information on council services affected as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit

Guidance for funerals during coronavirus crisis