We've been to the cafe in the crypt in previous trips and this time we went twice. Being in the middle of London it remains somewhat hidden in that it appeared that there were far more locals than tourists. The cafe is a buffet offering hot and cold meals, desserts, and hot and cold drinks. The menu varies perhaps daily. The atmosphere is very calm. Although this is a little more expensive than something on the street, it is nice to have a calm, cool, place, away from the tourist hustle.
Getting to the crypt is either from the staircase on the side of the church or from within the church.
In addition, the church itself is lovely. There are occasional organ concerts, which are worth the effort.
My friends and I discovered this place by accident. We had just left National Gallery and saw the pretty church across the street (if you exit National Gallery, it is to your left).
A lot of people were just sitting on the steps enjoying their lunch or seeking shade since it was a nice hot day in London. I went inside to take a peek and was amazed by the beautiful architecture of the church. The high ceilings, the details in the ceiling designs, the awesome looking church pipe organ, the weird looking windows. Everything was beautiful to look at. I did not spend much time exploring the rest of the church since we had a tight schedule but I would definitely want to come back and check out the food that the other yelpers are talking about.
I am a huge fan of St. Martin-in-the-Fields lunchtime concerts. They are free for all, with a suggested donation. They take place very Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 1:00 pm in an amazing location just by Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. If you are a tourist or a local I definitely recommend making a point to check out one of the concerts. We were lucky to see a cello and piano duet, which was absolutely fabulous. They played three pieces that lasted about an hour. It was a nice change from the fast paced activity around London. Just sit back, relax and enjoy very talented musicians. We got there plenty early, but if you get there 10 or so minutes before you should be ok. If you get there earlier you could get a better view though. Not much more to add but make it happen and check out a free concert!
While studying design and architecture for a summer in England, one of my favorite places to partake in a traditional afternoon English tea was at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. It is just a short walk across Trafalgar Square from both the National Gallery and the NPG where I spent many a day studying their collections. I believe it was Trafalgar Square with its proliferation of pigeons and modern buildings that Prince Charles referred to years ago as "monstrous carbuncles on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend."
One exception though to HRH's verbal assault was St. Martin's which is anything but modern having been built in the early 18th century by Scottish architect James Gibbs who also designed the beautiful Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University. But I digress... (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja…)
One could enjoy delicious scones, clotted cream and a steamy hot cuppa while essentially sitting on someone who is lying beneath. I had known of their classical music programmes and recordings but to find this rather unique use of space was like finding heaven on earth. This was in the early 90s so it was most novel for its time somewhat akin to Limelight in NYC.
This special and unique church offers it all, food for the belly, beauty for the eyes, history for the head and traditional church offerings for the soul. It is a definite must for any London bound traveler or dweller so put some Vivaldi, preferably the 6 Double Concertos conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, or perhaps Dead Can Dance's Into The Labyrinth (for the cafe of course) on your iPod and head on over!
This beautiful church is located right on Trafalgar Square. To be honest, there are some ugly behemoths on the square but the church is a great antidote to these
It is a live church with services through the day but you can wander inside to look at the lovely architecture inside
However, the church does offer more than this. One of its secret gems is the Cafe in the Crypt, which serves meals throughout the whole day including a good value afternoon tea. It also hosts jazz evenings on Wednesday evenings
There are concerts in the main church building itself with some free lunchtime concerts as well as evening concerts.
So a versatile venue with many string to its bow
My hood of treating and meeting friends... a fusion of music, food and drink in a Crypt.
The benches are hard; the tone is sizzling; the ceiling is ultra-high... especially when the recorders (English Flute) sing Telemann's concerto, everything seems all together for Baroque :) The church as a concert hall concept was discovered over 2 years ago together with my college friend following the same piano teacher. It has been a treat for us... our Californian and Boston visitors were also obsessed. Another time on Wednesday nights, jazz bands and the audience rock this 18th century brick-vaulted Crypt from the bottom - the café downstairs.
The seating is simple and humble; the coffee is strong and grande; the food is modern and British. House specialties include bread and butter pudding and apple crumble both served with lashings of custard, all self-serviced. The portions are generous and all freshly, made mostly from local ingredients. It is also one of the best afternoon teas in Central London and for a bargain.
Thanks to Christine C. for the initial introduction.
I'd heard classical music recordings by the Academy of St.Martin in the Fields before so while strolling the streets of London and coming across the actual St. Martin in the Fields Church, we just had to check it out.
St. Martin was quite the saint, inspiring a following across Europe and serving as the patron saint of soldiers and horses.
While still an active Anglican church, you don't have to be steeped in the cloth of religiosity to enjoy the architecture and music hosted in the church itself.
We were lucky enough to visit a few moments before a performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto and the Requiem. (yes!)
8 pounds a ticket and we were in the upper, upper area with a blocked view but that hardly mattered as the acoustics were excellent. The seats were actually in pews and the crowd was a surprising mix of young and old. (I've never seen young people 'fist-bump' before the start of a classical music performance but that's exactly what occurred prior to the Requiem, in all seriousness).
In the basement is a crypt that now serves as a cafe complete with various light snacks, teas and gift shop.
The concert was part of their by candlelight series, starting at 7:30pm. There are also lunchtime concerts for those seeking an afternoon sanctuary from the crowds of Trafalgar Square.
St. Martin, bishop of Tours, made my tour of London all the more exciting.
Such a beautiful church
It, too, is a place of holiness
The music playing
Forget about the chaos outside
This was another gem I stumbled upon when looking online for things to do while visiting London. It's a beautiful church that hosts a series of concerts throughout the year. You can check out brochures (I'm sure they have an online schedule, too) and see what's coming up.
During the day, they have classical concerts for free, open to the public. Arrive early to get a seat and please silence mobile phones! The concert lasted about 30 min. It was a break to sit, rest, and enjoy a taste of culture. If you're hungry for real sustenance, there's a cafeteria downstairs, albeit a nice one.
I went for a concert (Vivaldi) - it was a lovely experience, I would like to go again!
Big, beautiful, churchy, and older than Trafalgar Square. That's St. Martin-in-the-Fields. There's a café, and a decent are to wander (with its crypt) and they do interesting things with the community.
I somehow don't reckon that any number of Yelp reviews will do much for it. Or against it.
You might live already since years in London. But have you ever tried something different? Lets unravel the mystic poem written before me.
I discovered my passion for classical concerts. Playing myself piano and piccolo, which I neither can transport to the UK not practice in a two bedroom flat, I decided to visit more classical concerts.
This concert I discovered when listening to the radio Classic FM. They always have a wealth of classic concerts, which sometimes even are for free. It is just a question to find them.
We went to a Mozart concert that night, well known pieces, which anybody would recognise. I remember they had to hold back which one piece as one of the violinists was stuck on a train outside London. That is so typical - which other city something like this could happen?
This is why is love this city, even an ordinary Mozart concert has surprises! If you happen to work around Trafalgar Square, there are lunch concerts - why not skip the daily routine...
There once was a church named St. Martin
and in the fields was he.
I walked on in, there wasn't a din
and I rambled right in for free.
I was struck by the window in back
Whose metal ribbing was slack
The line undulated
And I celebrated
It's artistically wonderful knack.
(and here comes the woefully less rhythmic verse...)
Concerts are held here often
In the crypt you can go see a coffin
So why not visit
If only a bit
Leaving out butter makes is soften.
Oh, I simply loved my visit to St. Martin in the Fields Church. While it's located in a prime location you can find a bit of solace and peace relaxing along the steps outdoors, taking in the interior of the church and underground in the crypt (where the shop and cafe are located); this is thoroughly a unique place.
You MUST head to the church for one of their (free) lunch-time and/or (affordable) evening concerts...it's simply wonderful, surreal and such a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. I had the pleasure of attending an evening chamber music event and it was sublime!!! All the seats in the house are spectacular; it's an intimate space. And the cool optical illusion that makes up the glass window at the back of the church is so awesome!
Diese Kirche hat eine ganz besondere Atmosphäre. Sie ist sehr hell und freundlich. Das Ansinnen ist auch, eine Kirche zu sein, die allen Menschen offensteht. Und so sieht sie auch aus: Offen, hell, freundlich und einladend.
St. Martins in the Fields liegt am nördlichen Ende des Trafalgar Square, neben der National Portrait Gallery. Die Kirche ist nicht so überlaufen, wie andere Sehenswürdigkeiten in der Stadt, so dass man bei dieser Besichtiung ein bischen zur Ruhe kommen kann.
Und danach kann man noch im Cafè in the Crypt einkeheren.
This is the 2nd time we have attended a concert at St. Martin's in the Field Church. Tonight's concert was Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by the Belmont Ensemble of London. Fabulous ensemble and wonderful acoustics in the church. We plan to attend church service there this Sunday (we are from San Jose, CA) just to see how it is from a church perspective.
We sat up in the box gallery seats. Again, acoustics are great, but you have to lean over to see anything. If you go to a concert, I recommend floor seating there.
I love this church. I'm not sure what exactly captures my imagination so much, but I really love it. Its tucked into the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, and although its been under construction for a while, I think its reopened as of November 2007.
There are so many things to do at this church- I'd at least duck inside and take a stroll around if you don't have time for anything else, its quite pretty inside. If you do have time, definitely check out one of their concerts, the music is exquisite and in such a nice atmosphere, with excellent acoustics. stmartin-in-the-fields.o… .
You can also duck into the Crypt- which is not as morbid as it sounds. The crypt is a cafe and gift shop, and its actually quite cozy. Its also a good place to duck into the toilets if you need to, and a good place to take a break and dry off if you're touring around and its rainy. www2.stmartin-in-the-fie…
They have free noon time concerts - check their website. It was pretty crowded the week that we went and we got there 15 minutes ahead of time and were not able to get an ideal seat. I'd suggest 30 minutes if you really want a good view! Just check the times online, no need to buy tickets, and just walk right on in (for tourists: it's right in the church, not in the crypt entrance, although you can get in through there).
Catch a classical concert or choral work in this incredible venue. SIMPLY BREATHTAKING!!!!
It really is quite an experience to attend a concert at St. Martin in the Fields. We decided to spend our Friday evening at the church for its Fauré Requiem concert. It was awe-inspiring to listen to the choir (New London Singers) carry the audience on an emotional journey, really. The church itself is beautiful and worth a visit, even if you do not have time to attend a concert. Truly one of the highlights of my London experiences thus far!
Very interesting old church. During my last visit, I had the opportunity to watch Mozart's Jupiter Symphony by Candlelight performed by a 20 piece orchestra in the church. A unique experience. Worthy of a stop in to see the tombs in the crypt and the floor of the church.
Awesome acoustics for a concert! Can't remember the string ensemble that I saw (a couple of years ago), but they carried my rapt attention for the two hours. Wanted to close my eyes to take it all in, but kept getting distracted by the interesting architecture in the hall. My only complaint (says the old man) was the benches / pews. Fortunately, my eyes and ears were sufficiently engaged to overcome my glutes.
I went in to get a brass rubbing as a gift for a family member and was greeted and shown where I could go for such a purchase. I also saw the dinning in the crypts and church itself. all very pretty. Everyone there is very nice.
I saw someone i know play here. Surrounded by candel light, fantastic music and the beautiful architecture of this church the evening was really magical. Go as soon as you can!
This particular church has been re-opend after a major refit during the summer. It hosts many classical concerts and jazz performances.To make your evening unusual and different make an evening of it with dinner and drinks in the Crypt before hand like I did with a group of my friends from Italy.
The food is good and they serve both hot and cold foods as well as wines,teas coffees as well as desserts.
Beautiful candle lit classical music concerts :) and a cool underground cafe
When in London we make a point to worship at St. Martins. There is great music and a warm welcome. After worship a trip down to the Crypt for a bite to eat and then across the the National Gallery. Food the mind, body and soul.
Lovely church, active, welcoming, with interesting cafe, there might well be someone playing some kind of music - definitely worth popping in as an excursion from the Trafalgar Square attractions.
I think it is a shame that St. Martin's uni has moved a lot of its faculty up to the new building in kings Cross as this place is such an institution. If I was a student I'd be more than pleased to enter this grand building each day.
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