St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

This post has partner links that I may receive compensation for at no cost to you. Thank you!

The City of London is packed with towering skyscrapers & busy streets. However, despite the bedlam, there are still some quiet spots in the area. One of the best hidden spots in London is St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden, a tranquil park with almost 1,000 years of history.

st dunstan church garden london 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

The history of St. Dunstan in the East Church

St. Dunstan, who the church was named after, was a popular former Archbishop of Canterbury. The first incarnation of St. Dunstan in the East was constructed around 1100. It was expanded & remodeled over the course of the subsequent centuries. In 1666, the church was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London.

Rather than being rebuilt, it was just repaired a few years later. However, a steeple & tower designed by legendary architect Sir Christopher Wren were constructed between 1695 & 1701.

In the 1800s, it was determined that much of St. Dunstan in the East needed to be rebuilt. Wren’s tower was kept with this rebuild.

St. Dunstan in the East would once again be destroyed in 1941. The London Blitz saw bombs fall all over the city. All that remained of St. Dunstan in the East was the tower & steeple, along with the north and south walls.

st dunstan in the east church tower christopher wren 700x933 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

Rather than rebuild the church yet again, it was determined in 1967 that the ruins should be turned into a public garden. The garden opened in 1971. There aren’t many spots left in London where you can see the remnants of the Blitz, as most areas were redeveloped. Not only is St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden now a place of quiet for Londoners, but it’s also a memorial to those lost in the Blitz.

st dunstan in the east church history 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

Getting to St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden

St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden is located between Monument & Tower Hill stations, just off St. Dunstan’s Hill between Great Tower Street & Lower Thames Street. It’s also near several hop-on, hop-off bus routes. The garden is quietest early in the day.

st dunstan london garden 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden Today

Today, St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden is a beautiful example of how greenery can be incorporated into a city. The ruins are draped with ivy and other vines, showing how nature just might reclaim the world someday.

st dunstan in the east church garden 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

In the springtime, there are tons of flowers, including cherry trees.

st dunstan in the east church garden springtime cherry trees london 700x933 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London
st dunstan in the east church garden springtime 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

The park has lots of benches for sitting and enjoying the quiet. It’s a popular place for London office workers to sit and eat lunch on nice days. Even on the hottest days, the garden remains cooler & partially shaded.

st dunstan in the east church garden london 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

It used to be that weekends would be the quietest time to visit St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden, but nowadays it’s one of the most popular Instagram spots in central London. Get there early if you can, and please be respectful of everyone else around you who is also there to enjoy the garden & ruins. Permits are required for larger-scale photo & video shoots.

st dunstan in the east 700x525 - St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden: One of the Best Hidden Spots in London

For more nearby history, visit the Billingsgate Roman House & Baths, London Mithraeum, London Roman Amphitheater, and Bank of England Museum.

Here are some great London tours & activities & other things to see & do in London.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in London, check out these London hotels.

Last updated on June 20, 2022

Like this post? Share it with your friends!

What do you think? Add a comment!