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“The Official Church Of The Ward Of The Tower!”
Review of St Olave's Church

St Olave's Church
Ranked #625 of 1,655 things to do in London
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: St Olave's is an historic church in the City of London and final resting place of English diarist, and observer of the Great Fire of London, Samuel Pepys.
Mount Holly, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
688 reviews
252 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
“The Official Church Of The Ward Of The Tower!”
Reviewed 18 March 2014

A lot of history here as the church was damaged by bombs in 1941 and restored in 1954. The Crypt Chapel is from the 13th century and the tower of the church is from the 15th century with additions from the 18th century. On the sign outside it says the dedication is to St. Olave, the patron saint of Norway and is the only surviving City Church with this dedication. Memorials include Samuel Pepys. There are beautiful stained glass windows. Many hand carved memorials on the walls of historic and community figures. The pulpit is dark hand carved wood with beautiful carving. There is a small grave yard on the side as you enter but the stones are so old that they can not be read. Charles Dickens called it The Churchyard of St. Ghastly Grim in "The Uncommon Traveller".
A blue sign outside listed Samuel Pepys and Mother Goose on the burial register and Pepys is buried in a vault under the communion table. The walls and foundation are old and look that way while the tower is brown brick. Worth a stop, this church is on the way from The Double Tree to the tube station. A wonderful old church with a lot of history in the middle of new financial buildings around it.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Piseu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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24 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Spokane, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Small, but very important”
Reviewed 9 January 2014

I had high expectations before visiting this small church, and my visit far surpassed my expectations. The tourist will find many more spectacular churches in London, but this church is indeed beautiful with much charm and historical significance. I wanted to visit this church for some time for many reasons. It was Charles Dickens' favorite church for he named it "St. Ghastly Grim" because of the three grinning stone skulls over the church yard doorway leading to the church. It was also Samuel Pepys' favorite church, and he is buried here. In addition, Mary Ramsay, the person who brought the plague to London was also buried at this church. St. Olave's church suffered extensive damage during WWII, but much of the church had been saved and beautifully restored. I was very fortunate to visit while a very friendly priest named, "Norman" was completing a guild service. He was generous enough to spend an hour with me showing and sharing many unique aspects of the church and its history that are not in any of the guide books.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Dan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
1,294 reviews
601 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 651 helpful votes
“A pre-Great Fire church, engulfed by the City skyscrapers”
Reviewed 18 November 2013

We used the entrance on Seething Lane, past the grave stones. St. Olave's Church dates from the 15th century and escaped the Great Fire of 1666. This church has a strong Scandinavian and seafaring connection. It is a beautiful old church, restored after it was damaged by WO II bombing. The contrast is great between this historic spot and the towering skyscrapers of the City of London. The church is also the resting place of Samuel Pepys. I added some pictures, they tell more than a thousand word review. Definitively worth a visit.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Hendrik_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
98 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Beautiful small church with lunchtime music”
Reviewed 5 October 2013

We made a point of visiting this church to hear one of the lunch hour live classical music events which are held during the summer and fall. The concert for double bass and cello was excellent, and free (make a donation), and was a delightful break from the usual tourist haunts. It was great to be able to hear classical music while taking in the stained glass windows and the details of this ancient church.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank JerseyBusiness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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