Did You Know There’s A Beautiful Dog-friendly Church In London?

This week we discovered that’s there’s a beautiful dog-friendly church in London, in Shepherd’s Bush/Kensington, to be precise. Dating back to 1868, St John the Baptist on Holland Road in W14 is a gorgeous Grade I listed church that feels like a cathedral. Not the kind of church that’s converted to a dog-friendly food hall like Mercato Mayfair, but a stunning church where you can go each week to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital. Every year, St John’s hold a unique pet blessing service where all pets (not just dogs) have their own service, and each pet receives a special animal blessing from the priest. 

Dogs are welcome at St John the Baptist Church in London
St John the Baptist Church Holland Road London

The Annual Pet Blessing In London

The pet blessing service is held to mark the Feast of St Francis on October 4th as St Francis is the patron saint of animals and ecology. Pet Blessings are celebrated worldwide and there have previously been some in London; however, it seems the annual service at St John the Baptist is the only established animal blessing in London.

Sula the Cockapoo at the Pet Blessing Service at St John the Baptist Kensington
Sula the Cockapoo making sure everyone is behaving themselves

It’s a lovely idea, and given Belinha’s recent health problems, although we’re not particularly religious, it felt like it was something we should do, and I’m so pleased we did. 

Belinha at the Pet Blessing Service at St John the Baptist
Belinha

We were met with a warm welcome as we entered the church, and all the dogs were immediately offered water and treats, much to Belinha’s delight. 

Dog-friendly Church in London Pet Blessing

Even a cat or two came along, but neither the cats nor dogs seemed particularly bothered by each other’s presence which was fortunate.

Cats came along too to the pet blessing in London
Dimitris the cat keeping a watchful eye on the dogs

The pet blessing service was just thirty minutes long. After an initial spate of curiosity at the new environment and experience, all the dogs settled down quietly. The church atmosphere seemed to calm the dogs, and there wasn’t even any wailing singing along with the hymns as you might expect.

The face of an angel -  Daphne the Wonder Sossige
Daphne the Wondersossige….the face of an angel?

Then it was time for all the animals to make their way forwards for the pet blessing, where each dog and cat was greeted by the priest, who said a special prayer over them which was quite an emotional moment.

Belinha at Dog-friendly Church St John the Baptist London

After the service, tea and cake were provided for the humans, which was a lovely touch and encouraged both people and pets to socialise, immediately creating a sense of community that is often lacking in London.

Watch our Reel from the Pet Blessing on Instagram.

St John the Baptist, Always A Dog-friendly Church In London

Dogs of London at the Animal Blessing Service at St John the Baptist Kensington
Sula, Daphne, Belinha & Truffles

Our pets are our family too and as an inclusive church, St John the Baptist wants to ensure that all family members are welcome at their services. This means pets can come along to the regular church services each week with sung mass taking place at 6:30 pm on Sundays, although the special animal blessing is only once a year. 

Dog-friendly Church in London St John the Baptist

The church also holds regular events such as the recent Museum of the Moon, which sadly we missed, but we’ve heard that there are some more exciting events planned soon, and of course, dogs will be able to visit too.

So if you’re looking for a dog-friendly church in London, either to attend regularly or just now and then, St John the Baptist is the perfect place to go with your pet.

Where: St John the Baptist, Holland Road London, W14 8AH. Find St John’s on Instagram or Twitter.

Dog-friendly Church in London St John the Baptist Holland Road Kensington

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2 Comments

  1. 5th October 2021 / 9:23 pm

    This is really special – the pictures are the cutest

    • 5th October 2021 / 10:03 pm

      Such a special occasion, so glad we went!

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