Explore London’s best-hidden gem, St Dunstan in the East!
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
St Dunstan In The East: London’s Best Hidden Gem
Believe it or not, the most amazing enchanted garden surrounded by the ruins of a medieval church you can see in the pictures is not located on a remote island but hidden right in the middle of the City of London!
I have lived in London for over ten years and only discovered this secret hideaway where a strange peace suddenly descends upon the City.
Whenever I visit a new place, I try to find some secret and unusual attractions.
Today, I want to take you on a journey to discover London’s best-kept secret – St Dunstan in the East! It’s one of my favorite free things to do in London and a place I love visiting whenever I am in central London.
History Of St Dunstan In The East
The church was named after a rather curious character with a colorful past – a tenth-century monk who became the Archbishop of Canterbury.
St Dunstan in the East was a Church of England parish church on St Dunstan’s Hill, halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
In 1967, the City of London decided to turn the remains into a public garden, which opened in 1971.
Designed by the City of London Architects and Parks Departments, it won a Landscape Heritage Award in 1976.
It’s one of the last Blitz-damaged buildings left in the United Kingdom and a testament to the resilience of the City of London, which survived it.
St Dunstan In The East Today
Today, the gardens and the church ruins are Grade 1 listed buildings, which means they cannot be destroyed and are protected from further development.
Hidden away on a secluded side street, surrounded by the city’s modern steel and chrome structures, this oddly serene place remains one of London’s secret gardens.
Overgrown with trees, ivy, and wall-climbing flowers growing amongst the ruined arches, this hidden gem has a magical, fairy-tale feel.
Because it’s surrounded by modern London architecture, it feels like you are stepping into a different dimension, picturesque and frozen in time.
How To Get To St Dunstan In The East And When To Visit
The nearest underground stations are Monument and Tower Hill.
Green and vibrant in spring and summer or moody and nostalgic in fall and winter, St Dunstan in the East looks beautiful at all times of the year.
I would usually recommend visiting any attraction during the week rather than on the weekend, but not in this case. It’s best to visit St Dunstan in the East at weekends when it gets quieter and eerier.
During the weekdays, the gardens are a popular lunchtime retreat for City workers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of London.
This little oasis of calm near the heart of the city is not only one of London’s most fascinating historical and sightseeing spots but also a great place to have lunch, relax, and read a book.
Who wouldn’t want to spend their lunch break on a bench by the fountain in a magical fairy tale world?
Even on a busy day, the church feels like a world away from the bustle of the city. It’s a place where visitors can take a step back in time and imagine what life was like in London centuries ago.
The magical setting of St Dunstan In The East is also a truly romantic location, making it perfect for a wedding photography session.
A word of warning: if you are into photography or on a search for Insta-worthy locations, this place will blow your socks off, and you will not want to leave!
I hope you have enjoyed this digital journey to London’s best secret garden, and it has inspired you to visit this beautiful place when you are in London.
If you are interested in more UK travel destinations, check out the posts below.
Explore More UK Travel Destinations
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