Think of churches in London and your mind probably goes straight to St Paul’s and Westminster Cathedral and while these are incredible places to visit, I hope after reading this post, you’ll take the time to visit St Martin-in-the-Fields as well.
It gets its name (in case you’re interested) because back in the 1500’s it was literally in the fields, not in the city of London at all. Now of course it is smack back in the centre, on the corner of Trafalgar Square, just opposite The National Gallery.
My first stop on a cold Tuesday was down under those impressive Corinthian columns, to the Cafe in the Crypt. It is literally as the name suggests, an incredibly impressive setting for a cafe that provides food that is both tasty and affordable all day long AND has free wifi. On Wednesday it stays open into the night and has live jazz as well.
The menu changes daily, offering cold and hot main dishes and light snacks. I went for the vegetarian lunch option (£7.50) – a delicious bean and vegetable dish, baked in a rich blue cheese sauce, which came with potatoes and salad.
It would have been easy to stay under those incredible brick-vaulted ceilings for the rest of the afternoon, but it was time to make my way up into the Church for a free lunchtime concert.
Yep, you read that correctly, most weekdays there are free concerts in the church. Everyday is something different, on my visit, there were students from Charterhouse School, playing a selection of classical and modern pieces. It was a wonderful atmosphere and the music was fantastic. They ask those that are able to make a donation when leaving the church.
St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of those places where all kinds of people come together, a group in suits discussing office politics, sat next to a table of tourists planning their afternoon of sightseeing, next to an elderly couple sipping on coffee and reading the newspaper. There was a very welcoming vibe in both the cafe and the church that you rarely find in a big City and I hope I’ll be able to visit again soon.
Check out St Martin-in-the-Fields website for information on the lunch concerts and opening hours for the Cafe in the Crypt.