London Open House 2011: Churches

Open House London to be held over the 17-18 September weekend offers an opportunity to view many of London’s 100 Best Churches.

Although most are open during the year some will have special displays for visitors.

St Giles-in-the-Fields (Sat 10am-5pm/Sun12noon-5pm) has an archives display. The Grade I listed Palladian church, by the architect of Woburn Abbey architect Henry Flitcroft, has one of London’s best preserved early Georgian interiors.

St Paul’s Covent Garden (Sat10am-5pm) by Inigo Jones is the Actors’ Church and has been called a Tuscan-style church.

St Martin-in-the-Fields (Sat 10am-4pm) is offering tours of the church and crypt and a bellringing demonstration to those who pre-book on 020 7766 1100. There are also free audio tours. The famous church has recently undergone a £36m renewal programme and won RIBA and Civic Trust awards.

Christ Church (Sat10am-4pm/Sun1pm-4pm) has a RIBA award for the restoration of the Nicholas Hawksmoor masterpiece.

St Ethelburga’s (Sat/Sun 10am-6pm) is a 14th-century church restored after being hit by an IRA bomb in 1993.

St Helen’s Bishopsgate (Sat 10am-5pm/Sun1pm-3.30pm) survived both the Great Fire of London and a bombing to be controversially reordered by Quinlan Terry.

St Mary-at-Hill (Sat/Sun 10am-5pm) remains a delight despite the loss by fire of the box pews. On Sunday director of music Robert Smith will play the famous Hill Organ.

St Mary-le-Bow (tours Sat at 10.30am and Sun 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm) is home of Bow Bells.

St Stephen Walbrook (Sat/Sun10am-4pm) has the controversial central stone altar by Henry Moore under the dome.

St Mary’s Addington (Sun 2.30pm-5.30pm) is at the end of the tram line the burial site of five Archbishops of Canterbury. This is a rare chance to see inside.

St Lawrence Whitchurch, Little Stanmore (Sat 10am-4.30pm/Sun11am-5pm) is an amazing continental baroque church rebuilt in 1715 by James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos and now standing in a suburban setting.

St John’s (Sat 2pm-5pm) stands next to the old church which Pevsner called “one of the best ruins in London”. The churchyard has the tomb of WS Gilbert.

St Mary’s (Sun 2pm-5pm) is an ancient church on top of the hill with the famous school. Byron’s daughter Allegra is buried by the door.

St Augustine’s Kilburn (Sat 10am-5pm. Tours 11am, 11.30am) is Pearson’s grand masterpiece used in films.

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