Overview

Set in the heart of Clerkenwell, the Charterhouse has been living the Nation's history since 1348.

Initially a Black Death burial ground, the site became home to the largest Carthusian monastery in the world until it was brutally dissolved in 1537 when 16 monks became proto-martyrs of the Reformation.

A grand Tudor mansion replaced the monastery. Elizabeth I spent the first days of her reign at the Charterhouse and James I (of England) created 133 Barons in the Great Chamber prior to his coronation.

In 1611 Thomas Sutton acquired the mansion and site to house his new Charity, an almshouse and school. The school separated and moved out of London in 1872 but the almhouse thrives to this day amidst the medieval, Tudor, Jacobean and later architecture that makes the site so fascinating.

The Charterhouse opened its garden square and a new museum early in 2017.


Opening
Opening

2020

Museum and chapel: Tuesdays to Saturdays, all year, 11am to 5.20pm.

Access to other parts of the site is by guided tour only. Various tours are available. Find out more here.

House tours: Free for Historic Houses members, but free tickets may only be booked in person on the day - any ticket booked in advance must be paid for. Availability of free tickets for members is dependent on tour capacity being available. 

Garden tours, Open Garden evenings, Crossrail tours etc are all paid tickets only.

Find Us
Find us

Between the Barbican and Smithfield Market in Charterhouse Square, London EC1.

London Underground (Barbican and Farringdon) Circle & Hammersmith and City Line.

Rail Thameslink - Farringdon.

Buses 4, 56, 153 (all stop at Barbican Station).

  • Offers bike storage
Parking

Limited parking for disabled visitors may be provided.

Admission
Admission

Entrance to the garden square, museum and chapel is free to all.

Garden tours, Open Garden evenings, Crossrail tours etc are all paid tickets only.

Other access to the historic site is by guided tour only. Various tours are available; prices vary. Find out more here.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible parking
  • Hearing loops
  • Large font signs and leaflets
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
  • Accessible toilets
  • Access statement available
Group Visits
Group Visits

Please contact tours@thecharterhouse.org or call us on 0203 818 8873 to make an enquiry about group bookings.

Group bookings (minimum of 10 people) are subject to a deposit of £50 for standard tours and £75 for Brother’s tours. Attendance must be confirmed one month in advance.

The maximum capacity per tour is 20 people. Prices are inclusive of VAT.

Find out more about the tours. 

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings


Corporate Hire

Corporate events

The Charterhouse offers a unique environment for you to entertain your clients or hold meetings or events with colleagues.

Catering is provided, all made on site. A range of rooms available depending on your requirements and we will do everything to ensure that your needs are met.

Find out more.

Facilities

  • Wifi
  • Dinner
  • Refreshments
  • Projector and screen
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Hearing loops
  • Lunch

Everything worked like clockwork and judging by the messages that I have received from a host of people, they all enjoyed the day immensely, and were glowing in their praise for the reception and lunch. Your staff are a great bunch and are obviously well trained.


Opening
Opening

2020

Museum and chapel: Tuesdays to Saturdays, all year, 11am to 5.20pm.

Access to other parts of the site is by guided tour only. Various tours are available. Find out more here.

House tours: Free for Historic Houses members, but free tickets may only be booked in person on the day - any ticket booked in advance must be paid for. Availability of free tickets for members is dependent on tour capacity being available. 

Garden tours, Open Garden evenings, Crossrail tours etc are all paid tickets only.

Find Us
Find us

Between the Barbican and Smithfield Market in Charterhouse Square, London EC1.

London Underground (Barbican and Farringdon) Circle & Hammersmith and City Line.

Rail Thameslink - Farringdon.

Buses 4, 56, 153 (all stop at Barbican Station).

  • Offers bike storage
Parking

Limited parking for disabled visitors may be provided.

Admission
Admission

Entrance to the garden square, museum and chapel is free to all.

Garden tours, Open Garden evenings, Crossrail tours etc are all paid tickets only.

Other access to the historic site is by guided tour only. Various tours are available; prices vary. Find out more here.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible parking
  • Hearing loops
  • Large font signs and leaflets
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
  • Accessible toilets
  • Access statement available
Group Visits
Group Visits

Please contact tours@thecharterhouse.org or call us on 0203 818 8873 to make an enquiry about group bookings.

Group bookings (minimum of 10 people) are subject to a deposit of £50 for standard tours and £75 for Brother’s tours. Attendance must be confirmed one month in advance.

The maximum capacity per tour is 20 people. Prices are inclusive of VAT.

Find out more about the tours. 

Other opening

Almshouse

An almshouse is a housing charity. At the Charterhouse we provide a home and care for single people who are over 60 years old, who are in financial and social need and who are capable of living independently.

There are over 2,000 almshouses in England. What makes us unusual is that we live as a community. The charity’s beneficiaries live in private flats. They are free to come and go as they please, eating out, taking advantage of local cultural venues  and  going on holiday. However they eat most of their meals in the historic 16th century Great Hall, often joined by members of staff and get involved in community activities like book club and keep fit sessions.

We are keen to encourage applications from people whose background and experience would broaden the diversity of our residents. We look forward to the time when there are as many women as men living here. (You might like to read Sue Payn’s story about how she came to live here, and what she loves about the Charterhouse.)

Find out more


School Visits

The Charterhouse is an amazing place for students to learn about the changing face of England. From monks to monarchs, discover the fascinating stories of those who have helped shape the history of our nation.

We are also an ideal location for special schools and SEND units. Our historic interiors offer an immersive environment in which to capture the imagination of pupils with additional needs.

Students in higher education can visit the Charterhouse for a guided tour or work with us on an in-depth project.


The Charterhouse's history and features

Today the Charterhouse is home to a community of Brothers who benefit from the charity established by Thomas Sutton early in the seventeenth century.  However, our story is much more than the story of the almshouse. For we have been living the nation’s history since 1348.

Peer closely through the half light of the Master’s Court at dusk and you might make out the ghosts of Victorian physicians or plague victims, catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I commanding one of her courtiers – or spy the fourteen-year-old John Wesley kneeling at prayer.

The story begins in 1348 during the Black Death, when the land was used as a burial ground for victims of plague. In 1371, the Charterhouse was built – a Carthusian monastery, which flourished throughout the later medieval and early Tudor period.

With the dissolution of the monasteries, the Charterhouse became a mansion for wealthy noblemen and a refuge for royalty. Elizabeth I met the Privy Council here in the days before her coronation in 1558 and James I used the Great Chamber to create 130 new Barons before he was crowned. But it was in 1611 that Thomas Sutton bought the Charterhouse and established the foundation that now bears his name.

Thomas Sutton’s will provided for up to 80 Brothers: ‘either decrepit or old captaynes either at sea or at land, maimed or disabled soldiers, merchants fallen on hard times, those ruined by shipwreck of other calamity’ as well as Charterhouse school. James I retained his connection with the Charterhouse, becoming the first Royal Governor of Thomas Sutton’s foundation.

Find out more here


A word from the owner

the pensioners who live in the almshouse here at the Charterhouse are very pleased to share their extraordinary home and its unique history.

Fun Facts
  • The site was London's largest Black Death burial ground in 1348-49.
  • Thomas More studied at the Charterhouse when it was a Carthusian monastery and considered joining the order.
  • Elizabeth I spent the first five days of her reign as a guest of Lord North at the Charterhouse. 
  • Governors of the Charterhouse include all Monarchs including and after James I. Oliver Cromwell was a Governor as well. Other Governors include the first Duke of Wellington, Judge Jeffries, John Dunne, the Duke of Monmouth and Robert Peel.
  • John Wesley, William Makepeace Thackeray and Robert Baden-Powell were all pupils of the school when it was based at the Charterhouse.
  • The Association Football offside rule as we know it was invented at the Charterhouse.