London churches will be opening their doors for tours and concerts as part of a festival showcasing the best of the capital’s financial district.
The Celebrate the City festival kicks off next Thursday with a free performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at the historic Guildhall Yard.
Spread across four days, visitors to the commercial district around St Paul’s will have the chance to join exhibitions, family entertainment, musical events, walks, tours and talks.
The festival is being backed by the Diocese of London, with 28 churches open to visit.
There will be free entry to St Paul’s Cathedral for children during the festival, and tours of Sir Christopher Wren’s other churches in the area.
The Rev Oliver Ross will lead a “church crawl” taking in five churches around Tower Hill.
St Mary le Bow, home of the famous Bow Bells, and St Bride’s, the ‘journalists’ church’ with the steeple that inspired the traditional wedding cake, will be giving free guided tours.
At St Botolph’s, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama will give an open rehearsal of The Olympics in Song, and the church’s choir and organist will showcase wedding music.
Mark Boleat, chairman of the City of London Corporation policy committee said: “This is meant to be a significant event that brings together a lot of different things – the City and the churches and the various cultural establishments here – five weeks before the Olympics.
“Hopefully it will open up the City to people who maybe haven’t been before.”
As part of the festival, a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta will go on display in the Guildhall Art Gallery.
Visitors will also have the chance to peruse wares at a street “fayre” in Cheapside, and see bars of gold in the Bank of England.
Find out more at: www.visitthecity.co.uk/index.php/celebrate/