Cannon Street underground station, London
Guided by Rick Jones
|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.
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 legendary Rick Jones – Blue Badge Guide and Secretary of the Critics Circle.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.