Open House Festival

St Anne's Church, Limehouse

religious, concert/performance space, community/cultural

Nicholas Hawksmoor, 1730

Three Colt Street, E14 8HH

St Anne's Limehouse has been described as 'the finest parish church in England.' Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, it is Grade I listed and one of the Major Churches in the Church of England. It is home to a thriving Christian congregation.

Getting there


Limehouse, Westferry




15, 115, 135, D3

Additional travel info

Bus stops right outside. We are between Limehouse and Westferry stations on the Docklands Light Railway. Car park in churchyard.



Accessibility notes

We regret that until our building project is completed, accessing the building does require climbing a number of steps.

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Drop in activities

Sat 14 Sep


Drop in: open days

Mon 16 Sep


Drop in

Tue 17 Sep


Drop in

Wed 18 Sep


Drop in: open day

Thu 19 Sep


Drop in

evening opening

Fri 20 Sep


Drop in

Sat 21 Sep


Drop in


Welcome to St Anne’s!

Open House 2024 is very special! As a part of our restoration program "Hawkmoor300", we are offering tours of the tower and the crypt, and an exhibition featuring the restoration stories of all the Hawksmoor churches including the work of the international artist Helene Binet, and a film of Sir Nicholas Serota talking about his connection to the Hawksmoor churches.

The church family at St Anne’s is privileged to be able meet in this remarkable Grade I listed building.


The building was gutted by fire in 1850 but the interior was restored by Philip Hardwick largely as it was previously. The north-east vestry and the south porch and staircase are the only original Hawksmoor interior.

Restoration and future maintenance of the building is overseen by the charity, ‘Care for St Anne’s’. Development includes the construction of a parish room (1984) in the crypt.

Unusually, the east window (Charles Clutterbuck – 1851) depicts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in enamelled rather than stained glass. The Bible teaches that the crucifixion was the central event of history. The Apostle Paul explains its significance: "For our sake God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

You might be surprised by some of the features of our interior:

The front of the church has been re-configured with flexible seating in a horseshoe shape. The Bible uses the language of family – brothers and sisters – to describe church. So we want to be as warm and friendly a gathering as possible within this grand and imposing building.

There is no altar in the church. Jesus told his followers to remember his death by sharing bread and wine together. When we do this we are not sacrificing his body and blood, but rather remembering and proclaiming his death as the once-for-all means by which we can be forgiven by God. An 18th century communion table is brought forward from the chancel into the centre of the horseshoe for this purpose.

The focal point of the church is the lectern. This is because the Bible is read and preached from the lectern. The pulpit (1856), now to one side, would previously have been used for this purpose. The one tradition we all share at St Anne’s is to learn more about knowing God and his Son Jesus Christ through straightforward Bible teaching for all ages.

Other features of the interior may be more familiar from other churches:

The font (1853) at the west end of the church. Jesus and his Apostles said that Christians and their children should be baptised, and the font was designed to hold water for this purpose. Today the church family uses a bowl at the front of church – or, for adults, a baptism pool – so that everyone can gather round and see.

The organ (1851) won the gold prize at the Great Exhibition before being moved to St Anne’s. It was fully refurbished a few years ago and is used regularly to accompany our singing of songs and hymns to praise God and encourage each other to live for him.

Exterior and churchyard

We have the rare privilege of flying the white ensign.

The unusual pyramid in the churchyard dates from the time of the church’s construction and may have been one of a pair to be mounted on the eastern turrets of the church.

The war memorial by Arthur Walker RA depicts Christ, with a bronze bas-relief on the west face of the monument,
showing a soldier dying amidst the carnage in the mud of the trenches.

Both the pyramid and the war memorial are separately Grade II listed.

Film and television

St Anne’s has often been used as a setting for film and television, including 28 Days Later, Legend and Call the Midwife.

Online presence


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