South Bank London

St John's Waterloo

Enjoy live classical music, grab a bite at the food market and relax in the pretty gardens at this Victorian church.

Opening Hours

St John's Church Food Court open Mon–Fri 10:30am–3:30pm

Contact Info

St. Johns Church, Waterloo, Waterloo Road, London, UK
020 7633 9819

St John the Evangelist Waterloo, more commonly known simply as St John’s, is a Grade II* listed working church that also operates as a regular venue for local cultural events.

Constructed in 1822-24 in the Greek revival style, the building has been sensitively renovated over the years. During the Blitz a bomb fell through the roof and caused extensive damage, although fortunately, the 150 people who were sheltering in the crypt were unharmed. Following repairs it reopened in 1951 as the official church of the Festival of Britain. The crowning glory of the renovation was the creation of two new murals by the German Jewish refugee Hans Feibusch, and ever since St John’s has held a close connection with the arts community.

In 2021 the church was again extensively renovated. The crypts were transformed into spaces that can be used for meetings and events, the nave was enhanced to better allow for events and concerts, and a number of adjustments were made to improve the building’s environmental sustainability.

St John's Churchyard Garden

In addition to its rich programme of concerts, exhibitions and community events, St John’s is also known for its beautiful churchyard garden. In 1877 the graveyard surrounding the church was transformed into a small ‘country garden’ as part of a citywide campaign led by National Trust co-founder Octavia Hill to provide more public green spaces for the urban poor.

Today the garden remains a serene green space that is particularly beautiful in spring and summer when the abundant flower beds burst into bloom. The churchyard gardens have been designed with sustainability and biodiversity in mind with planting choices favoring drought toleranace and nectar-rich plants for pollinators.

The gardens also function as a soothing and healing community space. The garden's volunteer gardening team work with charities that support those with special needs to gain skills in horticulture and partner with homeless charities like St Mungo's on gardening projects.

St John’s Waterloo Food Court

Monday to Friday from 10:30am-3:30pm, the area in front of the church plays host to a small street food market offering a great variety of flavours from across the world including Thai, central Asian, Japanese and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Concerts at St John’s 

In addition to regular festivals and exhibitions, St John’s is particularly well known for its live music programming. Look out for classical concerts by well-known London chamber orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, as well as solo recitals, choir performances and the Southbank Sinfonia’s Rush Hour concert series that costs just £2 to attend (including a free drink!). Check out the upcoming events programme here.

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