St Dunstan in the East is a hidden gem in the heart of London that’s perfect for a family outing exploring the City. This beautiful church, which was first built in the 12th century, was bombed during the Blitz in World War II and now serves as a public garden. It’s a unique and peaceful oasis that’s perfect for children to explore and learn about history.
Great for young explorers
When you arrive at St Dunstan in the East, the first thing you’ll notice is the stunning greenery that surrounds you. The garden is filled with lush plants and trees, creating a peaceful atmosphere that feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One of the best things about St Dunstan in the East is that it’s completely free to visit, so it’s a great option for families on a budget. You can bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing lunch while the children play and explore the area. There are benches and tables dotted around the garden, making it easy to find a quiet spot to sit and relax.
Bringing life to history with your kids
As you walk around the garden, you’ll come across many interesting features that will capture the children’s attention. One of the most striking is the church’s bell tower, which was rebuilt after the Blitz and now stands as a striking feature in the garden. The children will love climbing up the tower and taking in the views of the city from above.
Another feature that’s sure to fascinate children is the remains of the church’s walls and arches. The ruins of the church have been incorporated into the garden, creating a unique and beautiful space that’s perfect for imaginative play.
Severely damaged during the Great Fire
St Dunstan in the East is also a great spot for history buffs. Just like many of the churches in the City, St Dunstan has a fascinating past, severely damaged during the Great Fire of London which started a few hundred meters away in Pudding Lane. It was partially rebuilt by Christopher Wren, before being destroyed again during the Blitz. There are plenty of informational plaques dotted around the garden, which provide details about the church’s history and architecture.
Legend has it that during a ferocious storm, a messenger rushed to Wren to deliver the devastating news that all of his steeples had been destroyed. But Wren, in his characteristic confidence, replied with a firm, “Not St. Dunstan’s.” And once again, history proved him right, as the steeple stood tall despite the destructive force of German bombs that ravaged the rest of the church.
Today, the interior of the church remains a shell of its former self, transformed into a stunning green oasis that buzzes with activity during weekday lunchtimes. Office workers can be seen munching on sandwiches and Big Macs, taking in the serene surroundings. But on weekends, a sense of eerie quietness descends upon the church, making it a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
St Dunstan in the East is a wonderful destination for families looking for a peaceful and educational day out in London. It’s a great opportunity to learn about history, play in a beautiful garden, and enjoy some time together away from the noise and chaos of the city. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem – it’s definitely worth a visit!
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