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West Smithfield Rotunda Garden

Statue at West Smithfield Rotunda Garden

​Pretty, circular park with a gruesome history, adjacent to the famous Smithfield Meat Market. A great place to relax and take in the market sites.

West Smithfield Rotunda Garden is now showcasing a new installation 'Joy and Peace' by Morag Myerscough

The garden will remain accessible to the public during regular opening hours.

Visitor Information

West Smithfield, London EC1A 9BD

Click here for a Google Map

Travel

By tube

Central
St Paul's
Circle
Barbican
Farringdon
Hammersmith and City
Barbican
Farringdon
Metropolitan
Barbican
Farringdon

By bus

8, 25, 45, 56, 63, 242

Opening Times

Open from dawn to dusk everyday including weekends, opened and closed by the Smithfield Market constabulary . Please call the constabulary for further details on 020 7236 8734. 

In 2011 The City of London installed seven new pieces of play equipment in the Rotunda Gardens to cater for the growing number of children and families visiting and living in the square mile.  The lawn was replaced and new plant species were also added to the garden.  The new play area was developed with funding from the Government Department of Education as part of it’s play builder programme and the City’s Community and Children’s Services Department.

Summer 2017

The Art installation 'Joy and Peace' is live from Thursday 20 July to Friday 20 October 2017. Some of the garden benches will be temporarily removed and alternative seating provided as part of the installation.

Hear the garden's history come alive

City of London Guide Sandra Lea talks about the history of West Smithfield Rotunda Garden. As Sandra explains, the park opposite Smithfield Meat Market, is very well tended by the City’s gardeners, but has a gruesome history. This is a series of audiotours of the City Gardens which make the spaces come alive.


​Hire this green space

West Smithfield Rotunda Garden is available to hire for events with up to 115 attendees, including family celebrations, receptions, film shoots and charity events.

Garden features

  • Round-shaped garden with a circular path and a central ramp
  • Grade II-listed status
  • Total area of 1,344m2
  • Lawn area of 470m2, of which 235m2 is available for event hire
  • No toilet facilities

Applying for hire

To look into hiring West Smithfield Rotunda Garden, please see our events application page.

Available times

The Rotunda 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

Consideration should be given to local or nearby residents to avoid disturbance.


History

In the Middle Ages Smithfield Rotunda – or Smooth Field as it was known – was a grim place of public execution. Heretics, rebels and criminals were burnt, beheaded or boiled and in 1305 Scottish hero William Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered here after being dragged to the site by a horse. In 1381 Wat Tyler, leader of the Peasants’ revolt, gathered his army in Smithfield and was stabbed by the Lord Mayor of London.  The injured Tyler was taken to hospital at St. Bartholomew’s Church, but dragged out again and beheaded.

Many religious martyrs were also executed at West Smithfield, including more than 200 Protestants who were burnt at the stake during Queen Mary's reign in the 1550s. But despite its gruesome past, Smithfield Rotunda has been a peaceful public open space for 137 years.

A competition-winning stone bench that was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of London in December 2006 and is one of the garden's focal points. Designed by students from Edinburgh University, the carving process was managed by apprentice stone masons from Cathedral Works Organisation in Chichester 

Biodiversity​

Today the garden also provides vital wildlife habitat.  As part of the Playbuilder project natural play facilities were introduced to the garden for all ages to use.  As part of this project new improved border planting was introduced to provide shrub cover for nesting birds and berries as a food source for birds through out the seasons. The garden is also home to the 'Bumblebee City Nester' insect hotel, a finalist in the 2010 'Beyond the Hive' competition.

Published:
10 May 2012
Last Modified:
15 September 2017
Author:
Leanne Brisland

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