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Smithfield Rotunda Garden

Statue at West Smithfield Rotunda Garden

​West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DY

Opening hours

Open from dawn to dusk everyday including weekends.

Opened and closed by the Smithfield Market Constabulary.

Getting there

Nearest tube: Farringdon or Barbican

Find this garden using Google Maps

Plan your journey using the TfL journey planner.

Facilities

About this garden

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.

Hear the garden's history come alive

City of London Guide Sandra Lea talks about the history of 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.

Events and green space hire

Find out how to host your event or hire a space at Smithfield Rotunda Garden.  

Guidelines for filming and photography

Anyone wishing to use Smithfield Rotunda Garden for filming or photoshoots should seek permission first and pay the appropriate fee. Individuals are welcome to take photographs for their own use.

Please see the Filming in the City pages for more information, and apply directly with Film App.
For wedding and lifestyle photography please see the events and green space hire page.

Published:
10 May 2012
Last Modified:
05 October 2018

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