Visitor's Guide To Saint Martin in the Fields Church in Trafalgar Square, London
On this page you will find an overview to the church, a description of what it is like to visit there, details on ticketing, photographs, ideas for where to eat close to the church, location, contact details and opening times.
Saint Martin in the Fields overview: what makes the church special
Saint Martin in the Fields is one of the central churches in the whole of London. It comes as a pleasantly different option amongst the shops, bars and museums that sit around it. It is a small church but it has a long history. A church was first built in this spot in 1222. A new church was built in the spot in 1542 when Henry VIII decided that a new church was needed - he extended the parish boundaries as he did not want plague victims to be carried through his palace!
In 1721 the church was pulled down again and the church that we see today was completed in 1726. It was designed by James Gibbs.
Saint Martin in the Fields is an Anglican Church that is situated in the top corner of Trafalgar Square and gives the impression of being charged with an authority to overlook the Square. It offers a place for relaxation and reflection at the heart of a busy city. It is still a fully functioning church so you can come here for mass. The church is well-known for the musical concerts that are put on here - see more below.
Whether you are religious or not the venue is noted for its chamber and classical music. There are regular lunchtime and evening concerts (the lunchtime concerts offer an opportunity to see some music in the middle of the day - some relaxed respite from your sightseeing).
It is described as the 'Church of the Ever Open Door' - it has a welcoming policy regardless of your religion and is known for its work with homeless people.
You may not initially realise that there is an area called The Crypt that is linked to the church. It has a separate entrance next door. A lift or staircase will lead you down into a space with arched exposed brick ceilings. Down here you will find a popular café that buzzes with people at lunchtimes (they offer jazz sessions on a Thursday night), an art gallery, the ticket booth for music concerts and a brass rubbing centre. Excavations at the site of the church in 2006 led to the discovery of a grave dated about 410. The church survived the Great Fire of London, but was replaced with a new building, designed by James Gibbs in 1721 and completed five years later. Furniture maker Thomas Chippendale is buried in the church. The Church has close connections with the Royal family as it is their parish church when they are in London.
It is worth remembering that the church sits directly opposite two of London's best-loved museums - the National Gallery and the National Portrait gallery. Whilst you are planning your schedule for a trip to London it might be a good idea to plan a trip to the church, followed by a visit to one of the museums. Check out our Guide to the National Gallery in London or our Guide to the London National Portrait Gallery.
The Saint Martin in the Fields experience
On a visit to the St Martin in the Fields church, there are lots of different experiences that you can have. See below for an insight into the various options that are available to you during a trip there:
Services: You may wish to head to the church for a mass. If this is a case, you will be welcomed into this Church of England Church. To find out the times of the masses during your visit, head to the Weekly timetable page on the official Saint Martin in the Fields website.
Music: On almost a daily basis there is the opportunity to see some live music at the church. This could be a jazz evening, some chamber music or a lunchtime concert. For some of these concerts you will need to buy a ticket, whilst others are free. To find out what is on during your visit, and to check whether you will need to buy a ticket, head to the Official Saint Martin in the Fields Website concerts page.
Tours: If you would like to take a tour of the church, to find out about the history and the architecture of the building, it is possible to arrange this. However, tours are sporadic (they tend to be twice a month on Thursday mornings) and are normally taken for groups. However, it is also possible to rent an audio guide from the church Box Office to take your own tour of the church (for more details, see the Tours page of the Official Saint Martin in the Fields Website.
Food and drink: You will find a café located in the crypt area of the church (see below for details).
Entrance and concert tickets
It is not necessary to book or buy tickets for Saint Martin in the Fields. It is open to the public at all times and there is no entrance fee. However, if you would like to see a concert at the church, you may need to buy a ticket (see above for more details).
See above for the times when masses are taking place at Saint Martin in the Fields.
Saint Martin in the Fields
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7766 1100 (General And Box office enquiries)
Email: [email protected]
Website: Official St Martin in the Fields website
Closest tube stop to the church
Tube: Leicester Square (Black Line / Northern Line, Blue Line / Piccadilly Line)
On leaving Leicester Square tube station you will find yourself on Charing Cross Road. Simply turn left down Charing Cross Road. Keep walking for about two minutes. You will arrive at the church on your left hand side.
At Saint Martin in the Fields Church you are right at the very heart of London, ensuring that you are absolutely surrounded by places to go to get a drink or something to eat. There is a café in the church itself and there are also lots of other eating options in the area.
Café in the Crypt
The café that is located inside the church is in the belly of the building, in the crypt. It is an atmospheric space, with bare brick arches throughout. It is open all day for everything from continental breakfasts to fish and chips or Sunday Roasts. The café is a surprisingly lively space, for one that is to be found in a church. It even hosts jazz nights. To find out more about the daily changing menu and the musical programme in the café, check out the Official Saint Martin in the Fields website Cafe in the Crypt page.
Café in the Crypt Opening Times:
|January - December||Monday - Wednesday||11:00 - 17:00|
|Thursday - Friday||10:00 - 19:30|
|Saturday||10:00 - 17:00|
|Sunday||11:00 - 17:00|
There is no parking directly at Saint Martin in the Fields church. They also recommend that you take public transport to get to the church (there can be a lot of traffic in the area and it is also difficult and expensive to park in the city centre). To find out more about your parking options, check out the Official Saint Martin in the Fields website transport page.
Saint Martin in the Fields church offers a place to relax, pray, listen to music or soak up some history. Its location on Trafalgar Square makes it a convenient addition to a day of sightseeing in London. Take a look at the information provided above and choose what appeals to you most about a trip to Saint Martin in the Fields.