We’ve already been round some sites of old City churches, now gardens, but here’s a tranquil haven in a City church that’s open for business. St Vedast alias Foster is a stone’s throw from St Paul’s and also benefited from Wren’s hand (and Hawksmoor, too), but tucked away on Foster Lane it gets a tiny fraction of its neighbour’s visitors.
The courtyard is accessed through an anonymous alleyway to the north of the church’s main doors, and what peace awaits the visitor. Sit awhile on one of the benches (covered, so it’s a lovely resting spot even when it rains), enjoy the plants, examine the plaques left from years past and touch a piece of Roman London — an old slab of pavement, uncovered beneath St Matthew Friday Street when it was demolished in the 1880s. Once you’re done in the garden, don’t leave without pausing to admire the stained glass windows in the actual church.
This isn’t a place to turn up with a few mates and a beery picnic on a summer’s day — it is, after all, part of a church and it’s there for quiet contemplation — but it is one of our favourite hidden spots in the City.
The courtyard is open whenever the church is open, which is currently Monday-Friday 8am-5.30pm, Saturday 11am-4pm and Sundays.