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Beautiful hidden London garden with ruins and vines that has a tragic history

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Trying to find a snippet of greenery in London that isn’t overflowing with other people can be difficult to find.

You could spend hours wandering around trying to find a spot to call your own for the afternoon and enjoy some uninterrupted bliss.

So forget about the likes of Hyde Park, Primrose Hill and the rest, and go on a little adventure to find the gardens that lie in the ruins of a City church.

READ MORE: Beautiful village 72 minutes from London with the prettiest green you’ll ever see

Enjoy a moment of calm in the chaos of the city

The Church of St Dunstan was originally built around 1100, with a south aisle added in 1391 and the whole building being repaired in 1631.

The gothic architecture is a sharp contrast with the modern buildings that surround it.

But let’s rewind the clock a little bit.

The church was named after St Dunstan, a tenth century Benedictine monk and later the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had an… interesting past.

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Keep a look out for some tropical palm trees in the ruins

He was said to have survived being tempted by the devil, black magic and leprosy – an eventful and – some might say – unlucky life which made him famous.

Sadly the church which inherited his name also seems to have inherited his bad luck. It was severely damaged in 1666 in the Great Fire of London and had to be rebuilt – though this did mean parishioners benefited from the architectural genius of one Sir Christopher Wren who added a new tower.

St Dunstan’s managed to get through three centuries with disaster – but then came the Blitz. In 1941 the church was virtually wiped out, leaving only the tower, steeple and the north and south walls still standing.

The Church of England decided at the end of the Second World War not to rebuild. Instead the City of London decided to turn the ruins into a public garden that opened in 1970.

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The Church has struggled through destruction multiple times over the centuries

Now you know the history, it’s time to experience the ruins for yourself.

If you’re a regular visitor to the City and just want to escape for a little while, take a lunch break trip to sit amongst the vines that wrap themselves around the church.

Relax in your own secret garden away from the hustle and bustle of the City.

With each season comes a different backdrop, as the Church shines in the summer, but the colder months can make the ruins look otherworldly.

Perfect for a weekend stroll or a midweek lunch spot, St Dunstan’s is a reminder of the years gone by – and is just waiting to be discovered.

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How to get there

Location: St Dunstan’s Hill, London, EC3R 5DD

The closest Tube stations to St Dunstan’s are Tower Hill and Monument, served by the Circle and District lines.

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