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CANONS PARK Jubilee Line (Stanmore)

A short walk for Handel fans and collectors of unusual churches. Also a pleasant park.

Canons Park was a large early 18th century country estate owned by the first Duke of Chandos. The original mansion has gone, but its gardens are now a public park with a walled garden laid out in formal 1930’s style. It lies behind the church of St. Lawrence Whitchurch*. This church** is very unusual. It has a stone tower dating back to 1360 but the rest of the church was rebuilt in 1715 in baroque style. Plain on the outside, the interior is full of riches – flamboyant monuments, wall-paintings by Italian artists and wood carving (including the organ case) attributed to Grinling Gibbons. Handel was employed by the Duke around 1717 as his composer- in -residence, writing the famous Chandos Anthems in this period

*In addition to being open for public worship, it is possible to visit the Church and see all its architectural features on a Sunday afternoon between 14:00 - 17:00 (16:00 October - March inc.). Please check before making a special journey.

Church and park are situated a few minutes walk from the Tube station. Turn left, walking east down Whitchurch Park. After a few minutes you will reach one of the entrances to the park, go past this to have a look at the church, then return and turn into the park. The large white building you see in the distance is the North London Collegiate School, an establishment renowned for its high academic achievement which stands as a memorial to the pioneer of girls’ education in this country, Miss Buss. The building itself is late eighteenth century. Walk towards it down a long stretch of grass with trees on either side and then go through the gate to the left of the college entrance. Once in the park, note the neo-classical ‘temple’ on the right before you go into the walled area that was once part of the Duke’s kitchen garden. It was laid out as a public garden in the 1930’s. If you wander round the outside you will come to a long herbaceous border. After admiring this, go to the right through the trees to get back to the long grass walk, then turn right again towards the excellent children’s play area. Go past this, keeping parallel to the Tube trains you can glimpse through the trees. Soon you will arrive in Donnefield Avenue. At the end of this turn right to get back to the Underground.

Alternatively, you might like to continue your walk to Edgware where there are some charming almshouses to be found. To link up with that route go to Canons Drive at the right hand side of the college end of the park. After walking along this pleasant road for about ten minutes you will come to The Basin, a lake that was once part of the water gardens belonging to the Chandos Estate. The Edgware route starts about 5 minutes after that.

 *Since it has been accessible in previous years, it is worth checking the Open House London website to see if the church is listed as being open in September. 
This is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings to be found in the area covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!