About St Dunstan in the East Gardens
St Dunstan in the East is a public garden surrounding the ruins of a famous church in a busy section of London, England, known as the City of London.
History of St Dunstan in the East
Central London may not be the first place you’d expect to find a tranquil hidden garden, but this smallish patch – just a stone’s throw from some of London’s most iconic sights – is an oasis of calm and tranquillity. The gardens snake around the ruins of the Church of St Dunstan, originally constructed in the early 12th century.
The church was badly damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was sporadically repaired over the coming years rather than being fully rebuilt. A tower and steeple designed by famed architect Sir Christopher Wren were added in the late 17th and early 18th century. In 1941, the church was severely damaged again during the Blitz bombings of the Second World War, although Wren’s steeple and tower remained intact.
The church sat in its ruinous form for several decades before the City of London Corporation decided to turn the site into a public garden in 1967. The church remnants are still a Grade I-listed building.
St Dunstan in the East today
The garden was officially opened in 1970 and remains open to the public today. Its somewhat ‘hidden’ location means that many people pass by, unaware of the fantastic and rugged green space just metres away from them. It’s a wonderfully wild garden, with ivy engulfing the ruins and bushy trees growing through church windows, and over the years the garden has quietly become a much-loved retreat for those who are lucky enough to know about it.
Getting to St Dunstan in the East
St Dunstan in the East is in the City of London, just above the north bank of the River Thames and near several tube and rail stations, including Tower Hill, Cannon Street, and Bank. Many famous London sights are within walking distance of the garden, including the Tower of London, London Bridge, and Leadenhall Market.