West Smithfield, near Farringdon station

7 quiet things to do near Farringdon station, London

There are a few areas in London that take on a different personality during the weekend… St Paul’s is one; The City is another. But Farringdon and Clerkenwell are by far my favourites.

I held my wedding reception across the road from Farringdon station…

…and I always bring friends here when I really want to show London off.

It just so happens that there are tons of quiet activities to do that are within a short walk of Farringdon station, too.

Here are a few of my favourites. Is yours on the list? Let me know by leaving a comment, or drop me a message

Explore Dr Johnson’s old workplace at Saint John’s Gate

Discover the ancient religious military order that now supports St John’s Ambulance at the Museum of the Order of St John in (fittingly) St John’s Lane.

The collection on show is impressive and includes rare armour, a bronze cannon given by Henry VIII and ancient coins.

The museum is also housed in St John’s Gate, where Dr Johnson once worked and Charles Dickens socialised with fellow writers and artists.

Join a tour and they’ll even show you the 12th-century crypt and priory church.

Walk from Farringdon station: 4 minutes

Address: 26 St John’s Lane, London EC1M 4DA

More information: Visit The Museum of the Order of St John website here.

Step into a time capsule at St Bartholomew the Great

st bartholomew the great church, London

Picture credits: KotomiCreations on Flickr

If you like beautiful old monuments, tall ceilings and dark corners, then you’ll find lots to love at St Bartholomew the Great, which has atmosphere and charm by the bucketload.

Founded in 1123 as an Augustinian monastery, the building has survived almost a millennia of fires, wars and religious upheaval.

Stepping among the tombs and graves dotted around the building, you can almost feel the presence of the thousands of people who have passed through the doors.

A post shared by David Taylor (@davidahbtaylor) on

The church also currently holds a different type of work of art: Damien Hirst’s Exquisite Pain is currently on long-term loan and gilded in gold.

Forget the Tate Modern — this is my kind of art exhibition.

Walk from Farringdon station: 5 minutes (or 6 minutes from St Paul’s)

Address: Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ

More information: Read my review here or visit their website.

Relax at Thackeray’s cafe

Thackerays Cafe, Clerkenwell, London

Image: A Peace of London

This new cafe next to The Charterhouse is a lovely example of a museum cafe and the perfect place to take the weight off if you’re exploring the area.

It was also pretty peaceful when I visited on a Saturday recently, so you could spend a happy few hours here if you want a place to write, read or study.

Walk from Farringdon station: 6 minutes (or 3 minutes from Barbican)

Address: 14 Charterhouse Square, London EC1M

More information: visit the Charterhouse website here.

Discover 900 years of history at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum

St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum, London

Image: A Peace of London

This little-known museum in the West Smithfield entrance of St Bart’s Hospital tells the story of the building, its patients and its staff.

Among the collection are a teaching head that was used as a football, a copy of Henry VIII’s refounding document for the hospital and a painted staircase by William Hogarth, which depicts real-life patients.

Henry VIII Gate at St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum

Image: A Peace of London

The museum is only open Tuesdays to Fridays, but if you’re visiting on the weekend then you can still check out the only public statue of Henry VIII in London, which stands above the entrance to the hospital on West Smithfield.

Walk from Farringdon station: 6 minutes (or 7 minutes from St Paul’s)

Address: 19 Giltspur St, London EC1A 9DD

More information: read my review here or visit their website.

Get a glimpse of Tudor London at The Charterhouse

Exterior of The Charterhouse, Smithfield, London

Image: A Peace of London

The Charterhouse in Clerkenwell has been super-popular since it opened in February 2017.

And it’s no wonder, since it has a history to rival the Tower of London…

The site started life as a burial ground for victims of the plague before the Charterhouse was built in 1371 as a Carthusian monastery.

In 1535 — a year before Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower — 18 of the Charterhouse monks were either executed or left to rot in prison for refusing to accept Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church.

Exterior of The Charterhouse, Smithfield, London

Image: A Peace of London

The monastery was suppressed and passed to the King, before being turned into a Tudor mansion.

Later, the Charterhouse welcomed Henry VIII’s daughter Elizabeth I — who stayed here before proceeding to the Tower of London for her coronation — and James I who conducted business here before his own coronation.

Nowadays, the site is an almshouse which still houses 80 brothers and has been opened to the public.

Tours are available daily (book in advance as they’re very popular) and the free museum is open every day except for Monday.

Walk from Farringdon station: 6 minutes (or 3 minutes from Barbican)

Address: Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AN

More information: read my review here or visit their website.

Take a breath at St. James Church Garden

Hide away from it all in this little church garden off Clerkenwell Green.This is where we came to take a breath after our wedding (that’s a blurry me in the white dress above) and if we can disappear from view for half an hour on that day, then anyone can do it.

This is where we came to take a breath after our wedding (that’s a blurry me in the white dress above) and if we can disappear from view for half an hour on that day, then anyone can do it.

St James is lovely inside and out, so have a look around the church if you can. Otherwise, the garden looks just as lovely covered in autumn leaves as it does in the bright sunshine.

Otherwise, the garden looks just as lovely covered in autumn leaves as it does in the bright sunshine.

Walk from Farringdon station: 8 minutes

Address: Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0EA

More information: visit the St James’s Church website.

Dive into the London Metropolitan Archives

London Metropolitan Archives, City of London

Picture credit: Matt Brown on Flickr

London Metropolitan Archives holds City of London records (plus other territories such as Epping Forest) going back centuries, so this is a must-see for anyone remotely interested in London’s history.

There’s always an exhibition on, or to see inside the archives you’ll need to sign-up for a history card and have some clue of what you’re looking for.

The Archives are open Monday-Friday plus selected Saturdays: visit the website here to check times before you visit.

Walk from Farringdon station: 10 minutes

Address: 40 Northampton Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB

More information: visit the City of London website.

Find these places on the map:

And a bit farther away…

Byng Place, Bloomsbury, London

Image: Duncan Harris on Flickr

Around 15 minutes’ walk from Clerkenwell are Fleet Street, Holborn and Temple, which are full of quiet places to take a break — much of these are quieter during the weekend, too. Find out more about my favourite places in this area on my post or follow Matt Brown’s quiet walk through Holborn and Bloomsbury here.

Speaking of Bloomsbury… this laid-back area is one my favourite in London. I wrote a post about my 14 favourite quiet places in Bloomsbury and Russell Square here.

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