The City Churches Tour

(17 customer reviews)

Cannon Street underground station, London

Guided by Rick Jones

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Friday Weekly 10.30 am 12.30 pm Winter Summer Reserve Online

Discover the City of London’s extraordinary spires. After the devastating Great Fire of 1666, the renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren worked on rebuilding the city. That included, not just his famous work on St Paul’s Cathedral, but also a further 51 city churches.

What’s on this guided tour? We’ll explore five London churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren, along with others that have fascinating stories of their own. Here’s a taster: fan vaulting, Bow bells, a Mediterranean courtyard, a sermon timer, a mighty organ beneath Sir Christopher Wren’s most beautiful dome… Served up by a brilliant guide.

Want a five-word distillation of the tour?  Visual feast, no dull moments.

The Wren Churches Walking Tour – The Practicals

Every Friday, the tour begins at 10.30 am outside Cannon Street  tube station. It ends 2 hours later near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Your Wren Churches Walking Tour guide is the distinguished arts critic Rick Jones, Secretary of the Critics Circle.

The Wren Churches Walking Tour – The Itinerary

Starting at Cannon Street Station, our walking tour takes in five Wren churches. This old part of the city of London is endlessly fascinating. Make sure you look down the alleyways and up at the spires and intricate architecture of London buildings within the Square Mile. It’s brought to life by the interesting insights and stories from your illustrious guide (don’t just take it from us, be sure to feast your eyes on the rave reviews Rick gets, see what his walkers say about him).

St Mary Aldermary, Bow Lane

This Gothic-style church is the only surviving one of its kind. Its fan-vaulting is delicate as lace, so don’t forget to look up. Whilst this is cited as a Wren church, most of the work was done by one of his pupils as Sir Christopher was a very busy man in the late 17th-century.

St Mary-le-Bow, Bow Lane

This church isn’t only known for being designed by Wren. Its bells determine whether you can be legitimately called a Cockney (born within the sound of Bow bells). These same bells also made Dick Whittington turn again and return to London. Its Norman crypt is a show stopper (let alone a time stopper – yes, welcome to the 11th-century).

St Vedast with its discreet Mediterranean courtyard, St Mary-le-Bow with its bells and Norman crypt,

St Vedast, Foster Lane

The Great Fire of 1666 swept through this church on day three. Along with Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor was involved in its reconstruction. Its discreet Mediterranean courtyard is a hidden gem in the midst of the bustling financial district of the city.

St Lawrence Jewry with its mayoral connections and St Stephen's Walbrook

St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street

Right in the Square Mile and banking capital (pretty much within the shadows of the Bank of England and Mansion House), is St Lawrence Jewry. It’s in the courtyard of the Guildhall with its mayoral connections and the Lord Mayor’s Coach on the front. It’s on the site of a Roman amphitheatre, dating back to 1136.

St Stephen Walbrook

This wonderful church has the architect’s rehearsal dome (the precursor to St Paul’s Cathedral). It’s accompanied by Sir Henry Moore’s sculptured stone altar in the centre. This is where the tour ends in time for the free lunchtime organ recital. The glorious acoustics here make it well worth stopping to enjoy.

Other churches on the tour

The walking tour also includes non-Wren churches with their own interesting histories. There’s St Giles Cripplegate with links to Shakespeare, Milton, Cromwell and Bunyan. Then there’s Hawksmoor’s St Mary Woolnoth which has links to TS Eliot and Revd John Newton, slaver turned abolitionist and author of Amazing Grace.

If you want to explore more Wren churches nearby, take a look at:

St James Garlickhythe

St Michael Paternoster Royal

St Nicholas Cole Abbey

St Andrew Holborn

St Michael’s Cornhill

Did you know that Sir Christopher Wren also turned his hand to pub architecture? The Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street was built by Sir Christopher Wren to keep his masons happy as they rebuilt the city in the wake of the Great Fire of London. Discover this and more of London’s oldest pubs on our guided tour.

Private tours

If you want a tour on a different day or in a different way, chat to us about private tours. We can provide guided tours for groups – a wonderful way to explore the city and to find out more about it at your pace. Have the tour guide to yourself or with your family, friends or colleagues. Our architecture and art gallery private tours are always guided by professional art experts – art historians or art critics (like Rick Jones) – who are, into the bargain, professionally qualified, award-winning Blue Badge guides.

 

17 reviews for The City Churches Tour

  1. Allison

    Rick Jones is a perfect tour guide, and this tour hits the spot for anyone interested in Wren Churches in the City. Note that the tour could take longer than 2 hours, but only if you choose to attend the organ recital at the end – very well-planned and timed. Highly recommend.

  2. Paul Reynolds

    A terrific walk with the highly informed Rick. One of the very best London Walks we have been on over many years. Rick brought these wonderful buildings to life and what a treasure they are. He did them justice.

  3. Olga

    One of the best London Walks and Rick Jones is just magnificent .

  4. Peter Garrod

    We did this walk during a long weekend in London. I’ve always been interested in the City churches but have never had the time to visit them. Rick’s walk started at Cannon Street and ended near St Paul’s, and brought the churches along the route alive in a continuous narrative. Definitely worth it! We liked it so much we decided to do Rick’s Shakespeare’s London tour the following day.

  5. Sophie

    Rick is a fantastic guide and led us on a very informative tour of five churches. I learnt a lot about architecture and history. It was exactly what I was looking for and I would thoroughly recommend this tour.

  6. Tom W

    Superb tour led by Rick. Extremely knowledgeable and articulately presented. Thoroughly enjoyed this 2 hour walk around the City of London and learning about Christopher Wren and his churches. The organ recital at the end of the tour (~45 minutes). was an added treat and highly recommended as well.

  7. Chris Haines

    We attended Rick Jones’ City Churches walk today. It was extremely well constructed and thoughtful, giving us enough information laced with anecdotes and asides so that we did not suffer from overload. We both learned a few things and enjoyed visiting churches that we had simply walked past on many occasions in our working lives. Thankyou for a most enjoyable morning and arranging the ending at the organ recital.

  8. Pamela Fuselli

    Rick is so passionate and knowledgeable about churches, their architects and architecture, history, and the people who lived and attended these wonderful buildings. He brought them all to life and gave us a fascination two hours that ended with a musical organ performance. Thank you!

  9. Mark Craig

    This is an excellent tour. Rick knows his Wren churches and then some. Wonderful to have met another musician as well. His tour was thoroughly enjoyable. We learned so much about architecture, history, and churches. I would highly recommend this tour!

  10. Susanna

    Excellently guided by Rick through the City’s Wren churches. This also included a most charming courtyard , alleys that I would never go by myself, the
    chiming of the Bow bells. All with expert knowledge and well delivered. 29/07/2022
    and an organ recital by Bach , Wibberley etc..

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