One of the joys of doing walking tours around London is that I often come across new areas, secret oasis almost, in the midst of one the largest and busiest cities in the world. I find that my tourists often prefer the hidden gems even over some of the big tourist sites or indeed big gems as is the case with the Crown Jewels.
I spent this afternoon writing up and preparing a new tour which is dedicated to some of the ancient ruined churches that though destroyed in The Blitz, live on in some form as tranquil, magical and slightly ephemeral green spots in the concrete jungle.
The link to the tour is here https://yeoldeenglandtours.co.uk/our-tours-2/london-tours/secret-sanctuary-gardens-walk/ but I thought I might share it below too.
If you ever come to London and want a truly special and unique tour with your ever so friendly blogger and guide, then be sure to let me know 🙂
For centuries the City of London was the most densely populated place on Earth. Even today countless millions live in Greater London but only a handful of people live in the original City of London, outnumbered by their long dead predecessors that rest in ancient graveyards,
Christopher Wren rebuilt most of the City churches after the Great Fire of London and whilst many survive, several were all but destroyed in The Blitz during WW2 leaving nothing but picturesque ruins and tranquil, hidden oasis in the middle of the financial capital of the world
This very special walking tour will take you to secretive green spots not known even by most Londoners and all with a special story to tell and with a quiet and peaceful beauty.
We will visit St Olave’s in Mincing Lane, a rare survivor of the Great Fire and rather reminiscent of a country church. Samuel Pepys lived here and is buried here too. Charles Dickens went so far as to proclaim it “my best beloved churchyard”
“It is a small small churchyard, with a ferocious, strong, spiked iron gate, like a jail. This gate is ornamented with skulls and cross-bones, larger than the life, wrought in stone … the skulls grin aloft horribly, thrust through and through with iron spears. Hence, there is attraction of repulsion for me … and, having often contemplated it in the daylight and the dark, I once felt drawn towards it in a thunderstorm at midnight.” he wrote in “The Uncommercial Traveller.”
A particular favourite of mine is the churchyard of St Dunstan’s in the East. The ruins of a Wren church have been overgrown with wisteria and creepers to create a garden of magnificent romance, where almost no-one goes. You can sit here within the nave surrounded by high walls on all sides, punctuated with soaring Gothic lancet windows hung with leafy vines which filter the sunlight in place of the stained glass that once was there.
Visiting St Mary Aldermanbury in Love Lane with its intricate knot garden is a must and here we will see the bust of William Shakespeare, commemorating John Hemminge and Henry Condell who published the First Folio and are buried there.
The yard of the bombed out Christchurch Greyfriars in Newgate St is another essential point. Now only the walls and steeple of the church remain though there is dense border planting that occupies the space where once the congregation sat.
Other beautiful spaces that we will visit include The Guildhall Church of St. Bennet at White Lion Hill, London City Presbyterian Church, Aldersgate St., St Lawrence Jewry-next-Guildhall, Gresham St., St Michael Paternoster Royal, College St., St Michael Cornhill and last but not least the hidden gem that is Postman’s Park with its incredible memorials.
Departure Time:10 am
City Location: London
Duration of Tour: 3 hours
(Approximate times as all tours are bespoke)
Standard Adult Prices per person excluding entry fees (child prices available upon request).
1 Adult = £80
2 Adults = £75
3 Adults = £70
4 Adults = £65
5 – 10 Adults = £50
For more information or to make a booking, please email firstname.lastname@example.org