St. Mary Woolnoth Church
St. Mary Woolnoth Church
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The area
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Neighborhood: City of London
From its ancient past as a Roman trading outpost to its 21st century status as the wealthiest square mile in the world, the financial district known simply as “The City” is one of London's most historic and fascinating neighborhoods. Here high rise office towers such as Norman Foster’s Gherkin mingle with Roman ruins and architectural marvels from virtually every era in between, including Christopher Wren's glorious St.Paul's Cathedral, and John Soane's dauntingly classicist Bank of England. This neighborhood is also home to some of the finest restaurants and plushest hotels in Europe, in addition to an assortment of watering holes, upscale shops, and Tube stations. During the week, the City is abuzz with white collar workers going about their business; the weekend sees this area turn into a quiet haven for sightseers.
How to get there
  • Bank • 1 min walk
  • Bank • 2 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
25 reviews
Excellent
9
Very good
12
Average
4
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Kirk M
Edmonton, Canada1,945 contributions
Jun 2016 • Solo
It seems that every church I go into in the east part of London is a product of Christopher Wren because he designed so many after the destruction of the Great Fire of 1666. This church is a refreshing change because it was built by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a rival.
Even though you might not be a great fan of visiting churches, you'll probably duck into this one just to escape the noise of heavy traffic and the hundreds of pedestrians outside, because it's located very close to busy Bank Underground station where at least a half-dozen streets converge. I especially appreciate the quietness of the interior at rush hour in the morning and evening, when office workers pour into and out of the financial district here.
The church is very strange-looking outside. It's a large rectangle standing on its short end, with a zebra-striped front, and two tiny, stubby square towers that to me look like smaller, more badly designed, versions of the two towers on top of Notre-Dame in Paris! A lot of this strangeness is because Hawksmoor was a rather untraditional architect in many ways.
Inside, there's an odd-looking altar consisting of corkscrew-shaped black-and-gold columns, and two huge red plaques looking like pages from a giant's book! Also odd are Hawksmoor's colossal white columns that seem more suitable for a huge cathedral. Adding to the church's strangeness is the fact that much of Bank Underground station lies beneath, and St Mary's is reinforced with steel supports to keep it from shaking!
St Mary's is not that attractive inside and out---but it's worth visiting just for its quirkiness and slightly sinister feeling. This was probably how the novelist Peter Ackroyd felt when he wrote "Hawksmoor," setting it as a scene for a murder.
Written August 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Samir S
Bristol, UK301 contributions
Nov 2015 • Solo
This is Nicholas Hawksmoor's only church in the City of London, just by Bank tube. The current building (the third church on the site) was constructed by order of the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches in the reign of Queen Anne. Hawksmoor's architecture is not to everyone's taste, and the church might seem gloomy and foreboding to some, but he does create the impression of a very spacious interior in spite of the relatively small size of the space and it is a wonderful haven of peace from the traffic and busy pavements outside. The church has interesting historical connections - the anti-slavery campaigners William Wilberforce and John Newton, who also wrote the words for 'Amazing Grace', were associated with the church and the it famously features in T S Eliot's poem 'The Waste Land'. Well worth a visit, and quite different from all the City churches designed by Christopher Wren.
Written January 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dan M
Spokane, WA71 contributions
Sep 2013 • Solo
This English Baroque church designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1727 is well worth the visit. It was one of many commissioned by Queen Anne in the 18th century. This church like so many others built in this period are often overlooked by tourists because there is such a wealth of more spectacular sites to see in London. However, if one has the time and is in the vicinity, take a moment to walk inside. This church should be of special interest to literature fans because it was the subject of T. S. Eliot's most famous poem, "The Waste Land".
Written November 2, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nicholas H
London, UK20,576 contributions
Nov 2017 • Solo
This church is small but has a beautiful interior. It's one of the Queen Anne churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and is located close to the Bank traffic junction, the Bank of England, the Mansion House and the Royal Exchange. Famous people associated with it include the anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce. The pulpit is a particular feature, with a beautiful wooden surround and ornate guilder pillars. Well worth a visit if you're in the City.
Written November 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gordotl1
Southlake, TX37 contributions
May 2017 • Solo
Blink and you will miss it. But, for history buffs, this is where John Newton (slave trader turned abolitionist, minister, and composer of Amazing Grace) preached.

With Wilbur Wilburforce, he led the cause of abolitionism in the UK. It is a testament to what a dedicated person can do to make a difference in the world.

It doesn't take long to see, but - rich in history.
Written May 31, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sheepygold
london5,583 contributions
Mar 2017 • Solo
I have walked passed this church hundreds of times but never been in. This is a very unusual cubic church with stunning plasterwork and wood carving. This church is literally at the exit of Bank Station but coming in you are transported a world away from the hustle and bustle of the City.
Written March 31, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bsandrs
Portsmouth, UK23,078 contributions
Dec 2016 • Couples
This impressive Hawksmoor church is wedged on a small triangular site close to Bank tube station. Over the years it has survived attempts to demolish it and at one stage in the late 1890's rather than destroy the whole building, the crypt was given over to help form the underground station. The building escaped any damage during the Second World War. The interior is spectacular with four sets of columns and it is a great pleasure to step from the Street bustle into the calm interior. There is a small entrance lobby, in which there is an excellent little cafe and a couple of chairs. Ideal for a quick recharge of the batteries.
Written December 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew
St. Albans, UK6,572 contributions
Apr 2016 • Solo
St Mary Woolnoth (1727) is on a site were Roman, Pagan and Christian worship has occurred for 2000 years. The church is only open Monday to Friday from 7:15 to 17:15 but is worth a quick visit (there is also a small coffee shop in the vestibule).
Written April 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WMIM
Horsham, UK3,231 contributions
Aug 2014 • Friends
This fascinating church is very close to the very busy Bank of England/Royal Exchange area but when I visited I arrived via Monument Station and walked straight past at first without even noticing it. It is sad that this could happen, but in the modern City many such buildings of historical and religious interest are overshadowed by more recent architecture.
The visit was a guided one for our group.
This early 18th Century church is one of several London churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, and the only one within the 'square mile'. We are lucky to still have it because, like many other City churches, it has been threatened with destruction on numerous occasions. It miraculously survived the horror of World War II bombing intact, and at the turn of the 19th Century was slated to become part of Bank station of the expanding underground railway. It survived that threat but was forced to lose its crypt in a forced sale, work had to be done to stabilise it and it now stands on top of part of the huge underground station. It was well known to writer T. S. Eliot who mentions it in 'The Waste Land.'
The interior is of harmonious proportions with sets of white Corinthian columns but the galleries were removed in Victorian times in what admirers of Hawksmoor consider an act of vandalism.
This church serves mainly City workers and is not normally open at weekends.
Written June 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ShaunH290
London, UK2,329 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
On the corner of King William Street and Lombard Street stands this unique building. From the outside, it could be mistaken for something other than a parish church. The coffee shop just inside the doors is very popular. The website does not give much detail about its history.

The present building was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and built between 1716 and 1724. Though the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches (in London and the surroundings) was an organisation set up by Act of Parliament in England in 1711, it only built 12, and two, including this one, were rebuilds. These became known as the Queen Anne Churches.

The most famous person associated with this church is John Newton, evangelical, anti-slavery campaigner and hymn writer, who was the rector from 1780 to 1807. He was buried here with his wife but both were reinterred at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Olney in 1893. Only a few years later, the crypt was sold to the railway company that built Bank station and the bones of those still there were moved to Ilford. Amazingly, the building was then supported on steel girders from underneath and is now said to be stronger than before the work and no cracks developed.

Grade I listed, it had been threatened with demolition by the builders of Bank station. The baroque design with Corinthian capitals is well worth a quick visit if you are in the area.
Written December 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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St. Mary Woolnoth Church, London

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