Saint Margaret’s Church | World Heritage Site

Saint Margaret's Church, London
Saint Margaret's Church, London

Saint Margaret's Church located in central London is also known as the parish church of the House of Commons. The historic church has a long history witnessing a number of important and significant events in UK history. Saint Margaret’s is located close by to both Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament which together form the World Heritage Site in central London. The church has active worship today and it attracts both those coming to attend the church services as well as tourists. Visitors to the church will see a place not only of history but with plenty of character making for an interesting place to visit.

Overview


Saint Margaret's Church is located between the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and despite not being as famous and recognised by visitors from around the world, the church is an attraction in itself. The World Heritage Site (WHS) in central London that encompasses all three buildings offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to see and experience the best in UK history, culture and architecture. The church is referred to as the parish church of the House of Commons, the connection with the House of Commons dates back to Palm Sunday in April 1614, when the entire House of Commons gathered in the church and took Holy Communion together. The custom continued for a number of years and over the years there have been a number of other religious services such as 'parliamentary' baptisms and weddings that have been held here.

Other links with parliament include the crowned portcullis, the symbol of Parliament that is present throughout the church reminding visitors of the close relationship with parliament located close by.

It is estimated that the church was built towards the end of the 11th century, there is no exact date for construction. The church is an Anglican church and is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch. The church was originally founded by Benedictine monks to enable local people from the area around the Abbey to be able to pray and go to church services without disturbing the monks who could carry on their work and prayers in peace at the Abbey.

The church has been used as a popular venue for weddings for some influential people over the years including Winston Churchill. St. Margaret's has a long and distinguished musical tradition with Edward Purcell, son of Henry Purcell, a former organist at the church, in the 18th century. The musical tradition is continued to the present day and the church is well known for quality organ and choral music. The church choir is highly regarded and has performed a wide range of songs from Renaissance to modern ones.

The first church here was Romanesque in style and stayed until the late 14th century. However by the end of the 15th century the church had unfortunately fallen in to disrepair and required a full scale reconstruction. Robert Stowell started the task of rebuilding the church in 1482 and over many years the church was slowly rebuilt, leading to the church being consecrated on 9 April 1523. Over the next few centuries there have been reconstructions and repairs done but the main structure remains essentially as it was in 1523.

The church is close walking distance from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, the convenient location offers visitors the chance to visit 2 or possibly even all 3 sites in one day (Note: assuming summer time for overseas visitors to see the Houses of Parliament)


How To Get There


Saint Margaret's is located in Westminster in the City of London, the central location makes it easily accessible by public transport.

By Car:

Car drivers need to be aware that finding cost effective car parking in central London can be a challenge with expensive car parking charges (approx £4 per hour). The car park near Victoria Tower offers disabled bays and there are some disabled parking spaces in Great Peter Street and Smith Square. There are a number of parking restrictions in place and visitors travelling by car need to also factor in the cost of the London Congestion Charge that the site falls under.

Alternatively car drivers can park in car parks or street bay parking further away from the church and take a bus or taxi in.

By Train:

The train stations located close by are London Victoria, London Waterloo and Charing Cross which are between 15 to 20 minutes walk away.


By Bus:

Local bus services stop close by to Parliament Square in Victoria Street (located opposite the Houses of Parliament) and towards Trafalgar Square, in Whitehall. All buses in London are now accessible for wheelchair users.


By Tube (Underground):

The closest Tube station is Westminster, a short walk away. St James's Park station is also close by and is linked on the Circle, District and Jubilee Underground lines. The Tube stations at Victoria and Waterloo are all within a 12-15 minute walk.


By Foot:

Those travelling by foot can use Westminster and Waterloo bridges located close by to access the Houses of Parliament. Whilst the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridge (Formerly the Hungerford Bridge), connects the South Bank area with Victoria Embankment.


Contact Details


Address:

St Margaret's Church
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3PA
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7654 4840

Website: Saint Margaret's


Facilities and Information


Opening Times:

The Church is usually open around the year. On religious days in the year, the church may have varying opening times.

The usual opening times are:

Monday to Friday: 09:30-15:30

Saturday: 09:30 to 13:30

Sunday: 14:00 to 17:00


Further Information:

Admission Fees:

Free Admission


Map



View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: St Margaret’s Church Map


Tips & Other Considerations


There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and other factors. Visitors are advised to double check before going to ensure any attractions and place of interest is open and avoid disappointment.

When travelling always remain alert and aware of your surroundings and environment. Follow travel safety tips and ensure your belongings in particular your wallet/purse and valuables are hidden away from public view (particularly at tourist attractions & places with crowds). If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to central London you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Note that central London has a number of no entry roads, bus lanes, traffic restrictions birth temporary and long term and car drivers are advised to drive with care and exercise caution at all times. For useful door to door directions for car and public transport journeys use the Route & Journey Planning tool for more information.

If you are looking for local car parking in central London, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. Car parking rules are strictly enforced and any infringement of the rules can result in vehicles being fined, clamped or towed away. Fines for clamping & towing can be very expensive. The rules & regulations can be complex if you are not sure it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.


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