St John’s, Smith Square

in The West End

In the heart of Westminster, this eye-catching church was built by Thomas Archer in 1728 under Queen Anne's New Churches in London and Westminster Act (1710), which aimed to build 50 new churches for London’s rapidly growing metropolitan area. After receiving a direct hit during WWII, it was rebuilt in the 1960s as a classical-music venue and is renowned for its excellent acoustics. Check the website for upcoming concerts and other events.

Although they never did build all 50 churches, St John’s, along with a dozen others, saw the light of day. Unfortunately, with its four corner towers and monumental facades, the structure was much maligned for the first century of its existence thanks to rumours that Queen Anne likened it to a footstool. Today it is considered a masterpiece of English baroque. The brick-vaulted Footstool Restaurant in the crypt is a delightful choice for sustenance or a coffee.