Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
Tucked away in the very heart of Central London, Host Café is a must-see for those who enjoy delicious coffee in beautiful settings. Set against the backdrop of a Gothic Church, here’s everything you need to know about Host Café, as well as how to visit for yourself!
A history of Host Café
St Mary Aldermary (short for St Mary Aldermanbury) is a Gothic church with roots dating back to 1510, though there has been a church on site for at least 900 years. Unfortunately, the original medieval church was badly damaged during the Great Fire of London and so was largely rebuilt following 1666.
A great part of the new design of the church was by Sir Christopher Wren (the very same man who designed much of St Paul’s Cathedral). Today, key highlights of the church include plaster fan vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and casts of the coats of arms of Henry Rogers and Archbishop Sancroft of Canterbury.
Today, the church is still in use for its original purpose as a Place of Worship by the Moot Community. As such, you’ll still see the altar, plenty of stained glass windows, and wooden pews lined up facing the altar. Host Café was opened in 2012 and has been pleasing locals and visitors alike ever since.
How to visit Host Café
Host Café is open on a daily basis from Monday to Friday, 7.30am – 4pm, though it’s closed at the weekend. You are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy one of the snacks that is for sale (a variety of cakes including brownies), but there’s also the possibility of working in the coffee shop.
As well as traditional cakes, there are vegan and gluten-free offerings on the menu. A variety of cold and hot drinks are for sale, including juices and speciality coffees. Several milk alternatives are on lofuding soya and oat milk.
The closest tube station is Mansion House. As you can imagine, the cafés unique ambiance and enviable location means that it does get pretty busy, especially around lunchtime and so finding a seat with a table is not always guaranteed.
If you’re able to, consider going earlier in the day if possible! After all, this is one of the best photo spots in London and so can get pretty busy. In the summer, there’s outdoor seating as well.
Dogs are allowed. There are actually several entrances to the coffee shop; Bow Lane, Queen Victoria Street, and Watling Street. The easiest way to locate the coffee shop when exiting the tube station is to simply look up and spy the bell tower!
For a fee, co-working sessions that are longer than an hour and a half are possible. If you want to be guaranteed a spot to work at Host, you’ll want to book in advance through the contact form on their website. As of 2022, it costs £10 for four hours (this includes 2 free drinks) or £18 for over four hours. Wi-Fi is available.
Some of the best nearby attractions of note include the Monument to the Great Fire of London (which you can climb for a fee), St Paul’s Cathedral (this ecclesiastical building is over 300 years old and is the final resting place of Sir Christopher Wren), and the Reflection Garden, which offers stunning views of the cathedral.