Temple Church

Church in The West End

This magnificent church was built by the secretive Knights Templar, an order of crusading monks founded in the 12th century to protect pilgrims travelling to and from Jerusalem. Today the sprawling oasis of fine buildings and pleasant, traffic-free green space is home to two Inns of Court: Inner Temple and Middle Temple. A key scene of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was set here.

The Temple Church has a distinctive design and is in two parts: the Round (consecrated in 1185 and believed to have been modelled after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) adjoins the Chancel (built in 1240), which is the heart of the modern church. Both parts were badly damaged by a bomb in 1941. The church's most obvious points of interest are the life-size stone effigies of nine 13th-century knights lying on the floor of the Round. Some of them are cross-legged, but contrary to popular belief this doesn't necessarily mean they were crusaders. It's one of just four round churches left in England.