At the heart of the Christmas celebrations is the Christian story of the birth of Jesus. In looking at London’s Christmas decorations, I saw very few religious scenes, so for this post I visited a church.
All Saints, Margaret Street is located north of Oxford Circus, in Fitzrovia. Turning off the street into the courtyard takes you one step away from the everyday world of central London, but doesn’t quite prepare you for the beautiful interior of the church. The building was designed by William Butterfield, completed in 1859, and is full of ornate paintings and carvings.
The north wall was originally tiled with geometric patterns, but in 1873 they were replaced by new tiles depicting scenes from the Bible and the Early Church. Here is a detail from the nativity scene.
At the east end of the north aisle is the Lady Chapel, with this statue of Jesus with his mother Mary.
All Saints Margaret Street has services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It is an English-speaking Church of England congregation, with an Anglo-Catholic style of worship, but if you are looking for a different type of church, I’m confident you can find what you need in London. Here are just a few of the churches I have walked past this year.
If you don’t want to go to church, you can still see a Christian nativity scene. Out in the middle of Trafalgar Square is “Christmas Crib”, a sculpture designed by Tomoaki Suzuki and Jessica Ogden and commissioned by the church of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields. There are carved representations of Jesus, his parents, the Shepherds, the Magi and an angel – but I focused on the donkey.