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There are few architectural achievements to compare with it: 52 parish churches, all begun within a period of 16 years, all the product of a single creative team dominated by one individual – Sir Christopher Wren. Half still survive, which itself is remarkable, given the remorseless destruction and rebuilding that has always been the fate of the City of London. We have selected five of the best-preserved churches for this day, which marks the tercentenary of Wren's death.

Very few churches were built in England after the Henrician Reformation, and pure Classicism was still uncommon in these isles before the Great Fire of 1666. It fell to Wren virtually to invent the post-medieval English church and establish canonical classicism as standard. His involvement in each building varied, from full responsibility for all matters of design and construction to merely signing off drawings and checking on progress. Surveyor General to six monarchs, he was a busy man.

Oh, and he also did a cathedral. A heroic 40-year struggle with not only issues of design, engineering and supply but also against parsimony, prejudice and hostility, the outcome was the greatest building of its age and Britain’s noblest classical edifice. We see parts not generally accessible.

A pioneering empirical scientist, Wren was interested above all in solutions to problems. And there were plenty of those: constricted sites, tricky topography, limited funds and the embers of heated debate about liturgy. From this simmering cauldron he wrought buildings with ingenuity, inventiveness and imagination which are among the loveliest creations in English architecture.


Start: 9.45am, St Margaret’s Lothbury, near Bank underground station. Finish: 4.45pm, near Blackfriars station.


£220. This includes lunch and morning refreshments, admission charges, special arrangements and donations to all churches.

More information about Culture Days gift vouchers.


Approximately 2.5 miles are covered on foot during the course of the day; there are 141 steps to the triforium at St Paul’s.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?

Group size

10 to 18 participants.


We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.

Map: London Days.