While the pace of life in London may decrease considerably on Sunday, there's no reason why your enjoyment of the city should do the same. London has some attractions reserved exclusively for Sunday visitors. Don your Sunday best for a traditional London church service. Then put on your most comfortable walking shoes and let London give its Sunday best to you.
Sunday Worship London Style
Even if you're not Anglican, taking in the Eucharist or Holy Communion service at one of London's venerable churches could be the high point of your Sunday. At Bartholomew's Close in one of London's oldest areas, Smithfield, you'll find the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, better known as Great St Bart's. Come for the 9:00 a.m. Holy Communion Service, or glory in the Church choir's performance at the 11:00 a.m. Eucharist or 6:30 p.m. Evensong.
Soak in the atmosphere where Londoners have been worshipping for close to a thousand years, since the time of Henry I. If the Church seems familiar, it could be that you recognise it from such films as "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or "The Other Boleyn Girl."
Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great 6-9 Kinghorn Street, London EC1A 7HW Tel. (+44) 020-7606-5171 http://www.greatstbarts.com
If you're doing London on the first or third Sunday of the month, make the trek below ground into the catacomb of one of the city's oldest public cemeteries, Kensal Green. This cemetery, with its two conservation areas, is as much a sanctuary for wildlife as it is a peaceful final resting place. Reach it from Oxford Circus and the West End by taking the Bakerloo Line underground to Kensal Green Station.
Although Charles Dickens is buried in Westminster Abbey, the memorials of many of his closest friends are here. So are those of Anthony Trollope, Harold Pinter, William Makepeace Thackeray, and rock group Queen's lead singer, Freddie Mercury.
The Friends of Kensal Green offer guided two-hour tours every Sunday beginning at 2:00 p.m. Only on the first and third Sundays, however, do they take visitors into the catacomb below the Anglican Chapel. Allow yourself at least ten minutes to walk from the cemetery's entrance to the Chapel at its centre. The Friends request a £5.00 donation.
The tours take place rain or shine, so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. You'll get tea and biscuits in the Dissenter's Chapel at the end of your tour. Bring a flashlight to make the most of your trip into the catacomb.
Kensal Green Cemetery General Cemetery Company Harrow Road London W10 4RA, UK Tel. (+44) 020-8969-0152 http://www.kensalgreencemetery.com
The Columbia Road Flower Market
Rise early to board a special bus at London Bridge and head for the East End and the Columbia Road Flower Market. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the market turns Columbia Road into a botanical garden each Sunday.
When your senses have been sated with the colours and fragrances of the blooms and the yells of the vendors pushing their plant-laden wheelbarrows, wander among the Victorian shops. You'll find no chain stores here, but the charm of the art galleries, pastry shops, and clothing boutiques will make you forget all about them.
Columbia Road Flower Market Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets London, E2 7RG Tel. (+44) 020-7377-8963 http://columbiaroad.info/flowermarket.html
Capture Your Memories with a Free Photo
Don't leave the East End without participating in photographer Seamus Ryan's Sunday Shoot. He throws open his Ezra Street studio to Flower Market visitors every Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Pose for a photo at no charge and he'll post it on his website for all the world to see.
Seamus Ryan Sunday Shoots 7 Ezra Street,Tower Hamlets, London E2 7RH Tel. (+44) 020-7613-5576 http://www.sundayshoots.com/