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Gardens around St Paul's Cathedral and Festival Gardens

St Pauls

The gardens at St Paul's Coach Park ​complementing the gardens at Carter Lane. No trip to the City of London would be complete without a visit to the famous St Paul's Cathedral. The scenic gardens provide an ideal spot to relax with the Cathedral as a stunning back drop.

Visitor information

View a Google map of the gardens surrounding St Paul's Cathedral

How to get there

By tube

St Paul's - Central Line (2 minute walk)
Mansion House - Circle and District Lines (5 minute walk)

By bus

4,11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242

By train

City Thameslink - 3 minute walk
Blackfriars - 5 minute walk
Cannon Street - 6 minute walk

Plan your visit with TfL journey planner.

Bring the garden's history alive in our Audio tour

Nestling in the shade of one of London's most iconic landmarks, St. Paul's Cathedral, these award-winning, scenic gardens provide relaxing green spaces for City workers, residents and visitors. Louisa Allen from the team that looks after the garden, takes you on an audiotour of the area. This is one of several audiotours that bring alive the gardens in the Square Mile.

Gardens surrounding St Paul's Cathedral

Opening hours

The garden is open everyday from 6am to 8pm in the summer and 6am to 4pm in the winter, unless a special event or service is taking place, in which case the garden may be closed.

For details, please telephone: 020 7246 8335.

Find out more about visiting St Paul's Cathedral

History

Take in the imposing cathedral from a bench in the surrounding gardens, which have a pretty rose garden and a range of interesting plants and trees including plane and walnut. Look out for the three monuments on site. There is a granite memorial inscribed with "Remember before God the people of London 1939-1945" and a statue of John Wesley and a large monument of St Paul.

The gardens were formed in 1878 when the ancient burial grounds of St Paul's, St Gregory by St Paul's and St Faith the Virgin under St Paul's were combined. Remains of the earlier chapter house cloister are still visible in gardens to the south of the cathedral nave.

Biodiversity

The St. Paul's Cathedral garden is home to some of the oldest London plane trees in the City as well as lime trees and plants with biblical associations such as the Judas tree and the City's only giant fir tree. Large shrub borders provide nesting cover for birds such as blue tits, robins, and blackbirds. Look out for goldfinches feeding on the sunny southern side of the cathedral. It is designated a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC) due in part to its bird population.

In 2011 the churchyard's eastern shrub border was re-planted to encourage biodiversity. Plants with nectar-rich flowers for insects, berries providing year-round food for birds, and shrubs for nesting cover were chosen.

Information Centre garden - Carter Lane

Opening hours

Permanently open garden – site not fenced off.

History

A landscaped area in front of the City Information Centre, near the north entrance to Millennium Bridge, and with a ring-side view of the majestic St Paul's Cathedral.

The eye-catching City Information Centre now sits amidst an abundance of bold planting in a garden which has plenty of benches from which to admire the cathedral. Creating the gardens was one of the largest projects the City Gardens team has tackled. They brought in almost 2,400 buxus plants, nine trees, 5,895 herbaceous plants along with 625sqm of turf and 220 tonnes of new soil. The planting is made up of lavender, an attractive food source for bees and butterflies, gaura lindheimeri, the tall white plants, box hedging and soft ferns.

Festival Gardens

Opening hours

Permanently open garden – site not fenced off.

History

Redesigned as part of the City's contribution to the Festival of Britain in 1951, this garden has a year-round display of colourful bedding plants.

These award-winning gardens were originally laid out over a large expanse of bomb-damaged land after the Second World War. They now provide one of the most memorable views of St Paul's Cathedral from anywhere in the City. They were the Corporation of London's contribution to the Festival of Britain. The site was formerly that of Old Change, a street dating from 1293. The formal layout consists of a sunken lawn with wall fountain, which was a gift of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. The west of the garden features the sculpture 'The Young Lovers' by Georg Ehrlich which was erected in 1973. This lawn is surrounded by a raised paved terrace with stone parapets and seating, planting in tubs and a number of trees including a pleached lime hedge and a fine catalpa. The garden offers an excellent view of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Hire this green space

​Festival Garden is available to hire for events with up to 75 attendees, including family celebrations, receptions, film shoots and charity events.

Park features

  • Rectangular lawn with flowerbeds along two sides, a fountain at one, and a view of St Paul's Cathedral
  • Total area of 828m2
  • Lawn area of 497m2, of which 150m2 is available for event hire
  • No toilet facilities

Applying for hire

To look into hiring Festival Garden, please see our events application page.

Available times

Festival Garden is available for hire Monday to Saturday, 8am to 10pm.

Some events may be restricted on Sundays - please discuss with our City Gardens team.

Guidelines

The nearby St Paul's Cathedral School must be advised of any event and associated activities.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Garden

Permanently open garden – site not fenced off.

History

The newest addition to gardens around St Paul's Cathedral opened in March 2012. Once a former concrete Coach Park, it is now beautiful public gardens. The transformation of the coach park on the south side of St Paul's was undertaken in April 2012 to improve the view of the cathedral's dome and the nearby area. It is now a beautiful purpose-built garden.

The project's aim was to create a high quality public space reflecting the world class importance of this location. The transformation saw the re-landscaping of Festival Gardens by raising the levels of soil creating a sloping lawn. It is now fully accessible from the pavement and included new landscaping to extend the gardens already at Carter Lane. It provides new seating, new planting and trees, enhanced footways paved in natural materials and public art. The garden is predominantly herbaceous planting which provides seasonal interest to visitors, with buxus hedges to delineate walkways and lawn areas.

The planting element of the project was completed with the planting of over 200 Lavenders by the St Paul's Choir school.

The garden also boast new reflective sculptures and a memorial to John Donne, poet and former Dean of St Paul's. Formally unveiled on 14 June 2012, it was created by Nigel Boonham and will incorporates some of Donne's poetry and makes reference to his links with the City. The stainless steel Spherical sculpture is called 'Amicale' by sculptor Paul Mount (1922-2009) and was made in 2007 and installed in March 2012.

Key facts

378sqm of turf.

Approximately 3,000 herbaceous plants were planted covering an area of 336sqm.

In total 184 linear metres of hedge was planted.

A variety of single stemmed and multi-stemmed trees were planted including an avenue of Pyrus Bradford trees.

Published:
10 May 2012
Last Modified:
23 September 2016

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