Churches & Cathedrals in London

Christopher Wren built fifty-one parish churches in the City of London, plus St. Paul’s Cathedral. Only thirty of them are still standing, and the best ones are shown below. We also have a guide to religious events in London. You might like to attend the Evensong service at St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey.

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Top 10 churches in London Here’s our list of the most beautiful and historic churches, cathedrals and cemeteries that every tourist should try and visit in London.Westminster Abbey
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Brompton Oratory
Chapel Royal at Hampton Court
Highgate Cemetery
Temple Church
Westminster Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral
St. Bartholomew-the-Great
All Hallows by the Tower

Recommendations Craig recommends… My favourite services are the Evensong at St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, plus the Sunday services in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court and the Tower of London.

All Hallows by the Tower

All Hallows by the Tower is associated with the executions on Tower Hill, and has a museum in the crypt with a piece of original Roman pavement.

All Saints’ Church

All Saints’s was built in the 1850s and was one of the earliest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. It has the second-highest church spire in London.

Brompton Cemetery

Brompton was one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries built in the 1830s and contains over 35,000 monuments, 205,000 burial spaces and a catacombs.

Brompton Oratory

Brompton Oratory is the second-largest Roman Catholic church in London after Westminster Cathedral, and has a beautiful Italian Baroque-style interior.

Highgate Cemetery

Most people come to see Karl Marx’s tomb in the east cemetery, but it’s the huge monuments and overgrown wilds of the west cemetery that are really worth seeing.

Holy Trinity Church

This Anglican parish church was built in the late 19th-century. It’s not especially long, but it’s so wide that it even exceeds the width of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Andrew Holborn

St. Andrew Holborn was the largest of Christopher Wren’s fifty-one City churches, and has been heavily restored after suffering damage in the Blitz.

St. Bartholomew-the-Great

One of the oldest churches in London, dating all the way back to Norman times. You can feel its incredible age as soon as you walk through the door.

St. Bride’s

Famous for its three-tiered spire which is said to have inspired a local baker to create the first tiered wedding cake. There’s an interesting little museum underneath.

St. Clement Danes

Christopher Wren and James Gibbs rebuilt the original 9th-century church, but only their outer walls and steeple survived the heavy pummelling it took in the Blitz.

St. Dunstan-in-the-West

Famous for the Giant’s Clock and 16th-century statue of Elizabeth I outside the front. The crypt is associated with the legend of Sweeney Todd.

St. Etheldreda’s

This dates from the reign of Edward I and is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the country. It was originally the private chapel of the Bishops of Ely.

St. Giles Cripplegate

This 16th-century church is one of the very few to have survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. It is conspicuously situated inside the concrete Barbican.

St. Giles-in-the-Fields

St. Giles-in-the-Fields is known as the Poets’ Church and has a number of important burials including a pit of plague victims from the mid-17th-century.

St. Helen’s Bishopsgate

St. Helen’s dates from the 12th-century and managed to survive both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. It’s the largest parish church in the City.

St. James’s Piccadilly

This was the last of Sir Christopher Wren’s London churches and it holds lunchtime music recitals and has a small market outside.

St. Lawrence Jewry

Situated next to the Guildhall in the old Jewish quarter of the City, this church was rebuilt by Wren after the original burnt down in the Great Fire in 1666.

St. Magnus the Martyr

This church used to stand at one end of the original London Bridge and has a stone from it outside, and a model of it inside the door.

St. Margaret’s

The parish church of Parliament is next to Westminster Abbey. Churchill and Samuel Pepys were married here, and Sir Walter Raleigh was buried in the yard.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields

The parish church of Buckingham Palace has its own orchestra – the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields – and holds regular classical concerts.

St. Mary-le-Bow

True Cockneys need to be born within the sound of the Bow bells. They were also the bells that turned back Dick Whittington on his way to Highgate.

St. Mary-le-Strand

This beautiful little 18th-century church was James Gibbs’ first public commission. It sits in the middle of the busy traffic on the Strand, like an island roundabout.

St. Mary Woolnoth

This rather bizarre looking Anglican church was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor – his only City of London church. The original one dated back to Norman times.

St. Michael Paternoster Royal

Thrice-times Lord Mayor of London Dick Whittington is said to be buried somewhere outside, and there’s a stained-glass window of him inside.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Christopher Wren’s masterpiece contains the tombs of Wellington and Nelson in the crypt, and tourists can climb to the top of the dome for a view of the skyline.

St. Paul’s Church

Also known as the Actor’s Church, this is situated next-door to Covent Garden’s piazza and is said to have been designed by the 17th-century architect Inigo Jones.

St. Stephen Walbrook

Wildly regarded as Wren’s best City church, this was damaged during the Blitz so they commissioned Henry Moore to design a new altar.

Southwark Cathedral

This rather small cathedral dates from the 14th-century, but its original history stretches all the way back to the early 12th-century.

Temple Church

Temple Church is associated with the Knights Templar, and famously contains stone effigies of eight knights on the floor of the Round Tower.

Westminster Abbey

Arguably the most historic building in London. Kings and queens have been crowned here for 1,000 years, and many of our greatest monarchs are buried inside.

Westminster Cathedral

The most important Catholic church in England has a striking Byzantine exterior. Tourists can climb the bell tower for views across London.
 
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