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St Bartholomew the Great

Cloth Fair West Smithfield London EC1A 7JQ

The City and Clerkenwell are full of ancient and evocative churches, but this is one of the best, founded in 1123 as an Augustian Priory and once attached to the nearby hospital. It was dissolved in 1539 and half of the priory church demolished in 1543, but it survived the Great Fire of London and bombings in both world wars, and restoration began in the 19th century and has continued since. Some still visit to worship, but inevitably it’s something of a tourist attraction, not least because of its numerous film appearances – in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth and others; it is also used regularly for TV programmes including The Real Sherlock Holmes and Spooks. It’s also worth a stop for its café, which is open daily in the church’s cloister serving coffee, wines, monastic beers and food.

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