Popping in to see some of London’s top churches and cathedrals has long been one of the highlights of a trip to the capital, and the city certainly has many wonderful options to choose from.
The churches of London have proven pivotal to the ongoing development of the city, with many of them regarded as a key part of London’s culture and skyline.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most impressive examples which you can visit on your next trip...
A beautiful church which rarely receives the attention it deserves, St Martin-in-the-Fields is sometimes used to host major events in the faith calender. It is based close to some of the most impressive attractions in London, such as the Portrait Gallery and National Gallery.
Founded in the 18th century, this is a great place to go for quiet contemplation, with morning prayer sessions throughout the week and a range of evening services. The church also has a unique and distinctive feature, which helps to set it apart from other churches in the local area. The ‘Cafe in the Crypt’ is an atmospheric place to stop for a coffee while staying at the Montcalm Royal London House.
In addition, the church regularly hosts classic music recitals throughout the year, providing live entertainment in a distinctive venue.
St Dunstan and All Saints
A peaceful church with a village feel, St Dunstan and All Saints is one of the more relaxed additions to our list, and also amongst the oldest in London. Its roots stretch back to the 10th century, and the venue is dedicated to an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere.
Guardians of St Dunstans encourage people to visit a Sunday service and get to know the church, so if you’re enjoying the latest London hotels special offers, this would be a fantastic way to experience a local hidden treasure.
Rich with history, Westminster Abbey is one of the city’s most famous churches. It is the site where William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066, and today welcomes visitors from all over the world.
We recommend booking a sightseeing pass if you really want to experience the abbey in all its glory, as they provide fast-track access to the venue. Tourists often consider this a must-see space when they’re in the city, thanks to both the stunning architecture and historical significance the church provides.
St Paul’s Cathedral
There’s been a church on this site for nearly 1500 years, and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is world famous. Built by noted architect Sir Christopher Wren, the cathedral was developed after the Great Fire of London, and is one of the city’s most remarkable structures.
It is also a fully working church, hosting morning prayers and opening its doors to sightseers throughout the year. You may have seen St Paul’s featured in everything from postcards of London to movie shots of the London skyline; it was also selected as the venue for the most famous wedding of the 1980s, when Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married here in 1981.
St Dunstan in the West
This remarkable church is located close to the publishing hub of Fleet Street, and a fine example of Gothic revival architecture. It suffered significant damage during the Blitz, but was subsequently repaired in the 1950s thanks to a series of donations.
The church can be visited for free, but welcomes donations whenever possible.
This church is noted for its music, with a choir which regularly hosts performances. Its also one of the city’s oldest churches, first developed by the Knights Templar as their English HQ. For fans of gospel music and British history, Temple Church has much to recommend it.
Not to be confused with Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral is the second biggest church in London and strongly linked with the religious background of the country. It’s also particularly beautiful, with a neo-Byzantine style which makes it stand out from the rest of London’s churches.
Guests who don’t mind heights can take a trip to the 210ft viewing gallery located in the Westminster Abbey tower, which provides stunning views across the city.
It used to be considered that someone from East London could only truly consider themselves a cockney if they could hear the Bow Bells, an integral part of St Mary-le-Bow Church. This venue is so popular amongst locals that it has become an integral part of the city’s rich heritage – and stands out distinctively amidst the otherwise relatively unmemorable skyline in this part of London.
Today, the church is as active as ever, offering everything from lectures to bell ringing and music recitals. If you’re looking for a busy London church with a distinctive connection to the history of the city, then St Mary-le-Bow is a fantastic place to begin your search.
Located in Sloane Street, Holy Trinity is a slightly different church to many of the others located in London. This venue features a pioneering arts and crafts design, spearheaded by John Dando Sedding. Its eastern window, designed by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, is a fine example of the arts and crafts tradition.
Idyllic and peaceful, visitors can join a church service here every day between 8:30am and 6:30pm, providing a short break from the busy city while staying at your hotel in Finsbury Square.
One of London’s largest cathedrals, Southwark Cathedral includes some of the most beautiful stained glass you’ll find anywhere in London. It’s situated in a great place for local browsing, too – beside Borough Market, where you can indulge in some retail therapy while staying in the city.
Its free to enter the church, and the guardians who take care of it will also be happy to provide you with a tour for a small fee. Tours are available on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday each week at appointed times.