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Christ Church Spitalfields is one of the most striking landmarks in London and regularly attracts droves of visitors.
Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and built in the early part of the 18th century, it is one of the noted ‘Commissioners’ Churches’, as it was part of a project that was to see 50 new churches built around London.
In the end only 12 were actually constructed, of which six were designed by Hawksmoor, with Christ Church arguably the most striking venue. It also boasts over 40 memorial plaques.
Previously described by the London Evening Standard as the “best building in London”, the church is much more than a place of worship, as it can be hired out for events, you can take a tour to learn more about the history, or you can get involved in the local community by assisting with church life.
The church boasts one main space, with two overlooking mezzanine galleries, and a separate boardroom style room. Its style has Hawksmoor’s usual abruptness, with the central space of the nave organised around two axes, while the ceiling is richly decorated. However, significant remodelling was carried out in the 1850s as a result of fire damage, which saw the side galleries removed and upper and lower aisle windows combined to make tall, thin windows.
Services are held two days a week – Tuesdays and Sundays. On Tuesdays, there is a 30-minute lunchtime service at 1.10pm followed by soup and bread. There are four separate services on Sundays (8.30am, 10.30am, 4pm and 5pm) and these consist of various Bible-based teachings and spirit-led worship. A daily prayer takes place at 9am on Mondays to Fridays and everyone is encouraged to attend.
Taking a tour
What better way to find out more about the church than to take a guided tour? Groups of up to ten people can be brought around the location, find out about its history and marvel at the quality of the architecture. The tour lasts for about an hour and the content can be tailored to your group’s interests. Prices start at £6 for adults and £5 for concessions. Qualified guides can also bring their own group for £25 per tour. Opening hours for the tours are Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, and Sundays 1pm to 4pm. Groups are advised to book their tour two weeks in advance.
Venue for hire
Often referred to as the St Paul’s Cathedral of the East End, Christ Church is an excellent location to hold a unique event. The main hall is able to hold 270 for seated dining and 600 for standing receptions, but smaller numbers can work equally well. Visitors will enter the church through the grand Brushfield Street, while you will also be close to both the Old Spitalfields and Brick Lane markets. The magnificent interior provides the setting for an experience that will be truly spectacular.
Getting to the church
- By train/tube – Liverpool Street station is about ten minutes away. The Underground is serviced by the Central, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan lines, while National Rail runs trains all across the city. To get to the church, take the Bishopsgate exit out of the station and turn left. Cross the road and turn right into Brushfield Street. Christ Church is straight ahead.
- By bus – The number 67 stops right outside the church. There are also a lot of bus services that stop at Liverpool Street station.
- By car – The church is outside the congestion charge zone and there is some street parking around the location. There is also an NCP car park close by on Commercial Street.
Nearby places of interest
- Raven Row (56 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London E1)
- Whitechapel Gallery (77-82 Whitechapel High Street, Spitalfields, London E1)
- Dennis Severs’ House (18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London E1)
- The Rectory Gallery (2 Fournier Street, Spitalfields, London E1)
- Whitechapel Bell Foundry (32-34 Whitechapel Road, Spitalfields, London E1)
- Tower of London (Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB)
- Lollipop Gallery (58 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT)
- Boxpark Shoreditch (2-10 Bethnal Green Road Shoreditch, London E1 6GY)
- All Star Lanes (95 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL)
- Electric Blue Gallery (64 Middlesex Street, Spitalfields, London E1)
- Spitalfields City Farm (Buxton Street, Shoreditch, London E1)
- 71a Gallery (71a Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A)
- Bank of England Museum (Bartholomew Lane, City, London EC2R)