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Temple Church
Inner Temple,
Fleet Street
+44 (0) 020 7353 3470

Closest station: Temple

Opening times: Times vary so click here to find when its open

Price: £3 entry, free for under 21's

Temple church near the Thames

There is nothing quite like making an unexpected discovery in London and in a city with so much history, you never know what just what you will find.

I had set out to visit Temple Church off of Fleet Street, but what I found was not just a church worth seeing, but an entire area worth experiencing.

The church, and indeed the whole area, was constructed by the Knights Templar in the late 12th century. It is a church of the Inner and Middle Temple, which were ancient societies of lawyers.

A new world

All I knew about the location of the church was that it was a short walk from Temple station.

Following the signs led to a gate facing the Thames River. Inside I find a large building with elaborately carved statues in its façade.

In the middle of the building is an archway, which reveals something completely unexpected when I walk through it.

A narrow cobbled street with high buildings on either side winds up a gentle slope and further up the road, more small archways and courtyards surround me.

I peak into the windows of the buildings, many of which are still used by lawyers today, and see decorated offices and people dressed in suits and ties.

There is a small parking lot at the top of the hill, where Mercedes Benz and Jaguars get cosy, leaving you in no doubt as to how nice an area this is.

But I came for the church, so I make my way through a small archway and into a paved courtyard with two large trees in the centre, creating an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. The church is on the other side of the square, much smaller and in a much tighter space than I had expected.

Setting for musical performances

The outside is plain, but very striking with two circular sections also known as the Round Church that has attached to it a long rectangular section.

There is so much to take in outside that I almost missed stepping inside the church. Only the sudden sound of music from within reminded me.

Temple Church is famous for its choir and live musical performances and I was lucky enough to be witness of such an event. It was actually quite haunting, hearing these beautiful voices coming from an area that has hardly changed in so many hundreds of years.

The Knights Templar is gone, but the lawyers, the church and the outside area remain almost as it must have once been.

So for a step back in time, don't just go to Temple Church, take your time to discover the whole area, it's worth it.

Patrick McCaul