The church of St Stephen Walbrook in the heart of the City of London launched a series of private tours and experiences on Monday 20th March during English Tourism Week, offering exclusive access to one of the City of London’s hidden gems.
Described by Sir John Summerson as ‘the pride of English architecture’, St Stephen Walbrook is an architectural masterpiece with its spectacular interior capped with a magnificent dome, beneath which a unique circular altar, carved by Henry Moore from a single block of Travertine marble, was installed in 1987.
2023 marks several globally important anniversaries at St Stephen Walbrook: The 350th year since work on the present building commenced, the Tercentenary of the death of its architect Sir Christopher Wren (who lived next door) and the 70th anniversary of the founding of The Samaritans by the then Rector, Dr Chad Varah.
The church serves a diverse population of those who work in and visit the City, offering a range of regular services and events responding to changing patterns of life in the Square Mile post-Covid. These include lunchtime “Choral Classics”, early morning “Start:Stop” reflections and the popular evening “Rush Hour Jazz”.
With an aim to attract new audiences to experience the beauty and heritage of the space and in order to help finance free-to-access ministry, St Stephen Walbrook has commissioned Work With Milan, a specialist events and venue consultancy, to raise the profile of the church as a venue for events and as a cultural and tourism destination.
Known as a place of celebration, St Stephen Walbrook has launched private venue hire to offer private individuals and corporate clients exclusive access to the church for tours, experiences and events. Guests will be able to enjoy a private tour of the church either pre-opening or early evening with an expert guide to learn more about the deep history of the church. In addition to this, clients can enhance their evening tour by enjoying gin cocktails and canapes on arrival.
To mark the launch of these experiences St Stephen Walbrook invited travel & tourism professionals both in the leisure and MICE industry to experience the church first-hand and be given a guided tour of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. Guest of honour, British Tourist Authority Chairman Nick de Bois (CBE) commented:
“As we come together to celebrate English Tourism Week, it is timely to highlight the outstanding visitor attractions and destinations here on our doorstep. Our research demonstrates the importance of churches and places of worship to our tourism offer and it is fantastic to see St Stephen Walbrook creating these new experiences and event opportunities, bringing added value to a day-out and supporting to drive visits across the year.
“These new experiences will not only offer a moment away from the hustle and bustle of life to reflect, but give visitors the chance to learn more about the area’s wider history and culture, telling the story of the destination and encouraging visits to other local businesses and attractions.”
Reverend Stephen Baxter commented:
‘For over a thousand years, St Stephen Walbrook has been a place of sanctuary, offering a diverse range of activities and events. Our new tours, experiences and venue hire opportunities launched this week represent another exciting chapter in the successful and growing partnership between church, culture, commerce and the city.’’
Find out more about booking our exclusive tours at this link.
Venue & Events: (photos by Black Edge Productions)
Tours Launch: (Robert Crowley Photography)