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St. Mary le Strand, London

4.4
#104 of 142 in Historic Sites in London
Church Tourist Spot
St Mary le Strand is a Church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand in the City of Westminster, London. It lies within the Deanery of Westminster (St Margaret) within the Diocese of London. The church stands on what is now a traffic island to the north of Somerset House, King's College London's Strand campus, and south of Bush House (now also part of King's College London). It is the official church of the Women's Royal Naval Service, and has a book of remembrance for members who have died in service. The nearest tube station is Temple, with the now-closed Aldwych station nearly opposite the church. It is known as one of the two 'Island Churches', the other being St Clement Danes.HistoryThe church is the second to have been called St Mary le Strand, the first having been situated a short distance to the south. The date of its foundation is unclear but it was mentioned in a judgment of 1222, when it was called the Church of the Innocents, or St Mary and the Innocents. It was pulled down in 1549 by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset to make way for Somerset House. The parishioners were promised a new church, which was never built, forcing them to move to the nearby church of St Clement Danes and afterwards to the Savoy Chapel. The site now occupied by the modern church was formerly occupied by a great maypole which had been the scene of May Day festivities in the 16th and 17th century but was severely decayed by the early 18th century.
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18 reviews
  • This is a church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand and it stands conspicuously on a traffic island. It is the official church of the Women's Royal Naval Service and has a book of reme...  more »
  • The facade of this tiny church situated in the middle of the Strand thorough fare in London is always intriquing. It is a very unique barogue style church. It beckons you as you approach it along the ...  more »
  • The second island church on the Strand (St. Clement Danes is the other, just to the Northeast), St. Mary-le-Strand has always captivated my daughter. We visited when she was five and seeing the little...  more »

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Many of London's main attractions are spread out, so nearby public transportation is key. There is no downtown area as such in London, and some of the least expensive hotels have more convenient access to tourist sites than the costlier ones. For a quintessential London experience, consider staying in the West End. This part of town offers excellent theaters, historical sites, and eating and shopping options for every taste. Lodging won’t be cheap, but you’ll have the colorful variety of London life right at your doorstep. Look at Notting Hill or Chelsea for charming and less expensive boutique hotels and B&Bs.
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