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Free church concerts and dining on the dead

London's church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields

This perfect little 1726 churchlet, reopened in late 2007 after a long restoration, anchors the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square with its grandly small spire. As to the name, this area was, in fact, a field way back in the 13th century when the first church was built on the site.

But it was this 18th century version that became part of the blueprint for the American colonial style—which may explain why the structure might look vaguely familiar to folks from the sorts of old towns in New England that still retain their church spires. Call ahead to book one of the free, hour-long tours, usually on Thursdays (sometimes Wednesday) at 11:30am.

St. Martin's hosts a multitude of free lunchtime concerts, usually at 1pm on most days except Wednesdays and Sundays (just sit in a pew and listen; donations appreciated), most of which are actually warm-up and practices for the official evening concerts (for which there is usually a small admission fee).

There's a spiffy cheap cafe in the crypt underneath, where the little metal tables balance atop a pavement of worn tombstones and they do jazz on Wednesdays. It opens for breakfast (£6.25 for the full English) at 8am, does a cafeteria lunch, an afternoon tea (£5.25) from 2–6pm, and candlelit dinners (Mon–Wed 5–8pm, Thurs–Sat 5–10pm, Sun noon–6pm). Also down here is a brass rubbing center (prices start at £4.50).

Trafalgar Square (northeast corner at St. Martin's Lane)
Tube: Charing Cross
tel. 020-7839-8362



Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in May 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.