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London's Top 10 : Churches

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  1. Westminster Abbey

  2. St Paul’s Cathedral

  3. St Martin-in-the-Fields

    Known for its royal connections, St Martin’s is the only church to have a royal box. There has been a church on the site since the 13th century, but the handsome present building was designed by James Gibbs in 1726. Coffee shop in the crypt.

    • Trafalgar Square WC2

    • Open 8am–6:30pm Mon–Sat, services only Sun

    • Free

  4. Southwark Cathedral

    This priory church was elevated to a cathedral in 1905. It has many connections with the area’s Elizabethan theatres, and with Shakespeare, who is commemorated in a memorial and a stained-glass window. US college founder John Harvard, who was baptised here, is remembered in The Harvard Chapel.

    • London Bridge SE1

    • Open 8am–6pm daily

    • Free

    Southwark Catherdal
  5. Temple Church

    This circular church was built in the 12th century for the Knights Templar, a crusading order. Effigies of the knights are embedded in the floor. A chancel was added later, and a reredos (screen), designed by Christopher Wren. The church was rebuilt in 1958.

  6. St Bartholomew-the-Great

    A survivor of the Great Fire, this is London’s only Norman Church apart from St John’s chapel in the Tower of London. It was founded in 1123 by a courtier of Henry I, and its solid pillars and Norman choir have remained unaltered. The 14th-century Lady Chapel, restored by Sir Aston Webb in 1890, once housed a printing press where Benjamin Franklin worked .

  7. Brompton Oratory

    This very un-English, Italianate church was established by a Catholic convert, John Henry Newman (1801–90). He introduced England to the Oratory, a religious institute of secular priests founded in 16th-century Rome. The building, designed by Herbert Gribble, opened in 1884, with many of its treasures imported from Italy.

    • Brompton Road SW7

    • Open 6:30am–8pm daily

    • Free

    Italianate interior of Brompton Oratory

    Brompton Oratory interior
  8. Westminster Cathedral

    The main Roman Catholic church in England is in a fearless Byzantine style, designed by John Francis Bentley and completed in 1902. It has an 87-m (285-ft) campanile, which can be climbed for a great view of the city. Mosaics and marble decorate the interior, which has the widest nave in Britain.

    • Ashley Place SW1

    • Open 7am–7pm Mon–Fri, 8am–7pm Sat & Sun

    • Free

  9. St Bride’s

    There has been a church on this site since Roman times. Sir Christopher Wren’s fine church has a wonderful tiered spire that was copied for a wedding cake by a Fleet Street baker, Mr Rich, starting a trend. This is traditionally the journalists’ church and memorial services are held here.

    • Fleet Street EC4

    • Open 8am–6:30pm Mon–Fri; call 020 7427 0133 for weekend opening hours

    • Free

  10. All Souls

    This distinctive building, with a semi-circular portico and stiletto spire, was designed by John Nash, creator of Regent Street. After the BBC built their headquarters next door, it became the home of religious broadcasts.

    • Langham Place W1

    • Open 9:30am–6pm Mon–Fri, 9am–9pm Sun

    • Free

    All Souls
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