St. Bartholomew the Great
West Smithfield, London, United Kingdom
www.greatstbarts.com - 0207-606-5171
St. Bartholomew the Great London Reviews
A Church with a Cinematic History Mar 06, 2012
You will recognize this church as soon as you step inside. If you are fan of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love or Sherlock Holmes, you will recognize the sanctuary immediately.
Located in West Smithfield, London, St. Bartholomew the Great is a beautiful church, originally founded in 1123. Parts of the church have been destroyed over the years by fire and buildings, but the main church still exists. This church still has an active congregation.
I originally found out about this church by reading a book, "Quiet London", and it's incredible to me that such a lovely church has so few visitors. Many films have been cast here and there are books near the church's exit with photos from filming from several movies. As an example, this church was the setting for Hugh Grant's wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Entry to the church is four pounds plus an additional pound if you wish to take photos. The very enthusiastic staff will point out the church's features and there is a video in the back of the church for visitors to watch on the church's history. The staff will be happy to play it for visitors.
Be sure to ask about the cat gargoyle high above the church's exit, which is meant to guard off evil spirits.
The church also includes the Cloisters Cafe (10:30 to 4 p.m.) where visitors can enjoy tea, snacks, lunch, wine and even trappist beers. There is a crypt in the floor in the middle of the cafe (look for the door) which is both interesting but creepy at the same time.
Getting to this church is not particularly easy as it is now hidden by buildings in Smithfield and St. Bartholomew's Hospital but it is worth the find. You will have the church practically to yourself and the staff are genuinely interested in explaining about their church. Be sure to check the website in advance to make sure no movies are being filmed before visiting.
St. Bartholomew the Great is a gem in the heart of central London which tourists seem to have missed.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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