Trying to find a piece of greenery in London that isn’t crowded with other people can be difficult to find.
You could spend hours wandering around trying to find a place to call your own for the afternoon and enjoying non-stop bliss.
So forget Hyde Park, Primrose Hill and the rest and embark on a little adventure to find the Gardens which are set in the ruins of a town church.
READ MORE: Beautiful village 72 minutes from London with the most beautiful greenery you will ever see
St Dunstan’s Church was originally built around 1100, a south nave was added in 1391 and the entire building repaired in 1631.
The Gothic architecture stands in sharp contrast to the modern buildings that surround it.
But let’s turn back the clock a little.
The church was named after St Dunstan, a 10th-century Benedictine monk and later Archbishop of Canterbury who had an interesting past.
(Image: Peter Trimming /Geograph)
He is said to have survived the temptations of the devil, black magic and leprosy – an eventful and – some would say – unhappy life that made him famous.
Unfortunately, the church that inherited his name seems to have also inherited his bad luck. Badly damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666, it had to be rebuilt – although this meant the parishioners benefited from the architectural genius of a certain Sir Christopher Wren, who added a new tower.
St. Dunstan has managed to survive three centuries of disasters – but then the Flash struck. In 1941 the church was practically obliterated, with only the tower, spire and north and south walls remaining.
The Church of England decided not to rebuild at the end of World War II. Instead, the City of London decided to convert the ruins into a public garden, which opened in 1970.
(Image: Elisa Rolle/Wikimedia Commons)
Now that you know the history, it’s time to experience the ruins for yourself.
If you’re a regular visitor to the city and just want to escape for a while, stop for lunch to sit among the grape vines that twine around the church.
Relax in your own secret garden away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
With each season comes a different backdrop as the church shines in summer, but the colder months can make the ruins look otherworldly.
Perfect for a weekend stroll or a midweek lunch, St Dunstan’s is a throwback to years past – just waiting to be discovered.
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how to get there
Location: St Dunstan’s Hill, London, EC3R 5DD
The closest tube stations to St Dunstan’s are Tower Hill and Monument, served by the Circle and District lines.
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