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Climbing the Tower at St Mary's Church

Home > London > Churches | Free | Unusual Things to do | Views
by Sue Lancaster (subscribe)
I live and work in west London and enjoy writing as a hobby. Visit my blog at
Published August 11th 2014
A bird's-eye view of South-West London
Walking past the St Mary the Virgin Church in Mortlake one afternoon, a poster on the notice board caught my eye. On the second Saturday of every month between 10am and 12noon, you can climb to the top of the recently restored sixteenth-century tower. I returned on the next applicable Saturday morning to do just that.

On arrival, a member of the friendly church team escorted me up a narrow spiral staircase, made up of around 85 metal steps. It takes you high up into the brick tower and out through a small hatch at the top.

As you step outside, you are met with some fantastic views of the surrounding area, including the River Thames, the Budweiser brewery and its chimney, as well as a sweeping panorama of London's iconic skyline. The small open-air viewing platform, which encircles the belfry and cupola, is penned in by a sturdy brick wall, so you can take in the sights while feeling safe and secure.

On a clear day there is so much to spot, and as you make your way back down to the ground, be sure to take a peek at the rather impressive internal clock mechanism that is wound up weekly by hand.

The tower is free to climb (I'm sure any donations to the church would be gratefully accepted), and it is open to anyone, however young children and the elderly would probably struggle on the tightly-wound staircase. St Mary's Church is located on Mortlake High Street along which the 209 and 419 buses pass regularly. The nearest train station is Mortlake, which is a short walk away. For more information about the church, you can take a look at their website.
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Why? For stunning views of the surrounding area
When: Second Saturday of the month between 10am and 12noon
Phone: 020 8876 1630
Where: Mortlake High Street, London SW14 8JA
Cost: Free
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