The Hidden Garden In The Heart Of London

St Dunstan in the East, a place to read a book

In the heart of London lies a hidden garden built over the ruins of a church. The rich history behind it is a good enough reason for you to pay St Dunstan in the East a visit.

One of the most fascinating things about London is the vast variety of areas within its region. You get places like Camden and Brick Lane that have their own very unique artistic personality to places like Greenwich and Cutty Sark that feel more like a town in the outskirts of England.

Luckily for me, living in London is one big adventure with endless journeys on the way. I discovered a beautiful hidden gem in the heart of The City, surrounded by tall and iconic buildings, tucked away from the hectic life myself and millions of other Londoners get sucked into.

The History

Located between Tower of London and London Bridge, St Dunstan in the East used to be a Roman Catholic church. The church was named after Dunstan, a 10th century monk with an unorthodox past: he was accused of using black magic, diagnosed as having leprosy, and had an altercation with the Devil to name a few. His insanely eventful life has led him to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Saint Dunstan
Saint Dunstan, image fron Wikipedia

St Dunstan Church was built in the 1100s with an extension added to its south side in 1391. The church was one of the sufferers of the famous Great Fire of London in 1666, which badly damaged the church. The renovation was built in a gothic style to compliment the remaining structure of the church.

St Dunstan being in the popular location that it is, took a hit again during the Blitz of 1941 and got severely destroyed during the Second World War. The Anglican Church in London apparently had enough and decided not to rebuild the structure. That is when the City of London Corporation decided to take over and transform the ruins of the church into a garden open for the public.

Talking about something great coming out of a bad situation!

In case you were wondering, yes there is in fact a St Dunstan in the West. It can be found in the famous Fleet Street, and it’s a functioning church until this day.

Beautiful arch windows
Beautiful arch windows, peaking outwards to the busy city

Why it’s my favorite spot in London

Yes, St Dunstan is central. But when I get there I instantly feel like I’m in a completely different place. A beautifully unique place out of a British novel. 

It is my place to sit quietly and read a book, have a chat with a friend or write my next blog post with a clear mind. I find it especially pleasing in knowing that these gardens that hold such rich history and were once a place of wreckage, today are a peaceful place open for all.

If you read my previous post about Euston Station’s Lost Tunnels, you already know how much I love to find secret and hidden spots.

The remains of the church's tower
The remains of the church's tower
A place to quietly read a book
A place to quietly read a book
A peaceful place
A peaceful place

Why you need to go there when you’re next in London

St Dunstan’s garden is very easy to get to – They are in the middle of the City. We could all use a little break from the endless walking we typically do in London, and breathe in St Dunstan’s beauty.

It’s a garden. Made on top of a church’s ruins. How many of those have you seen lying around?

The garden is truly remarkable in its beauty with ancient church windows surrounded by greenery. Two separate worlds that were unexpectedly moulded together. St Dunstan is especially magical when the sun hits through the big arched windows. 

It looks like it was taken from a movie set. Great for selfies, groupies and any other kind of photography! I think my photos speak for themselves 😉

A great photo spot
A great photo spot
A great photo spot

How to find St Dunstan in the East

Address
St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD
Close by to the popular viewpoint attraction Sky Garden

Closest Underground station
Monument station: 4 minute walk
Tower Hill station: 7 minute walk

Daily opening hours
8am – 7pm
Free entry

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