St Dunstan in the East – the fairy tale garden

Have you ever come across an absolute gem of a place and been genuinely so excited to go!

Well let me tell you, I came across St Dunstan-in-the-East on Instagram, and knew that when I finally got to go and see my family, from in and around London this was certainly going to be a stop off.

I love finding little hidden gems. St Dunstan-in-the-East is probably one of the best kept secrets of London Town. 

Just a 5 minute walk from Monument Tube Station, and pretty central between Tower and London Bridge lays this beautiful little church.

St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan-in-the-East is this mesmerising church ruins that has been transformed into a stunning garden, and when I say stunning.. I mean STUNNING, like jaw dropping stunning.

Situated on St Dunstan’s Hill, a little side street just off of great Tower Street, it gives you the instant relief of the sounds and lights of London City, which as much as I love London, I find being somewhere like that, that is hectic and chaotic,  nothing shy of overwhelming and sweating.

I apologise for the mental images, I can imagine they aren’t pleasant. But when you reach the church and step inside, the hectic noisy, chaotic, city just fades away. It’s like stepping into a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

secret ruins london

A brief history

St Dunstan-in-the-East, was originally built in 1100, with a new south aisle being added at the later date in 1391.

The church building was damaged severely during the great fire of London in 1666. The church was never repaired to its former glory, but instead it was patched up during 1668-1701 to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren.

The repairs were built to be sympathetic to the original gothic style.

nature taking over

In 1817, the weight of the roof had pushed the walls out by seven inches, it was then decided that the church would be rebuilt from the arches up but it was later found that the building was so badly damaged it would need to be completely rebuilt.

The foundation stone, was placed in November 1817 and the new church was reopened as a place of worship, in January 1821.

The church was again, terribly damaged, this time during the Blitz in 1941. The tower and steeple managed to survive the onslaught of bombs, however the only other part of the church building that managed to survive was the north and south walls.

St Dunstan in the East ruins

After the war during the reorganisation of the Anglican Church, it was decided not to rebuild. Then some 20 years later 1967 it was decided to transform the ruins, in the glorious public garden it is today.

A Lawn, trees and a low fountain were added. The tower that survived all of that, still stands proud, and now houses the All Hallows House Foundation. 

I mean I knew it was beautiful from the tiny bit of research I did before I went, but the history, I’m such a geek for history and it honestly just makes me love this enchanted garden even more. It is hands down one of the most breathe taking places I have ever visited.

The ivy that climbs round the gothic windows. The beautiful light streaming through the window frames,  and the hundreds of different shades or greens, yellows, and reds of the flowers, and trees were exquisite.

london garden

Whilst I stood there with my jaw practically hitting the floor, the entire world just stood still. 

old church wall

Visit Information 

St Dunstan in the east 

St Dunstan Hill, 

London 

EC3R 5DD

Five minute walk from Monument Station. 

Entrance is completely free and is open 7 days a week,  from 8am – 7pm/dusk.

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6 Comments

  1. Terry Deamer says:

    As per the previous correspondent, as a Londoner I spent many a year rushing around the city and suburbs without any knowledge of the existence of St Dunstan’s. I live in Lancashire now so it will be a special trip down to visit this special place. Thanks for highighting such a gem.

    1. Victoria England says:

      Aww no problem, when you’re next home you must visit, truly is an amazing spot!
      Strange you live in Lancashire but are from the London area, as am I!

  2. Vivienne sault says:

    Fantastic photography, great places. Thank you….

    1. Victoria England says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Phil Eagle says:

    I have walked around this area many times rushing to get to a meeting and never knew this place was there!

    Thanks so much for highlighting it. Love your descriptions of it – it’s as if we were there with you. The pictures really convey the atmosphere of a space that must be so magical – I can just imagine the moment when the hush cancels out the hurly burly f the surrounding area. Just wonderful.

    A really lovely piece.

    1. Victoria England says:

      Aww thanks so much Phil! Glad you enjoyed the read. Definitely a must see next time you’re in the area!

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