London Oranges and Lemons Service

Where: London at St Clement Danes Church in the Strand
When: 3rd Thursday in March
Time: 1pm


Oranges and Lemons given out

The well-known nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” mentions several churches in the City of London and one of them, St Clement Danes, holds an annual service commemorate it. In medieval times the churchyard of St Clements reached the bank of the river, and cargoes of fruit were liable to tolls when transported through it, hence the association in the rhyme. Since a special service held in 1919 to mark the re-hanging of the church bells, the church has hosted the unique Oranges and Lemons Service in which children from the local Primary School each receive an orange and a lemon to take home. The service includes performances by each of the classes in school – expect dance, song, poetry readings and more following an opening ceremony featuring the school handbell ringers and a spirited performance of the Oranges and Lemons nursery rhyme actions.At the end of the service (weather permitting), tables are set up outside the church door with the fruit upon them, and the clergy hand out fruit to the children as they leave.

Helpful Hints

A carillon plays the Oranges and Lemons tune at St Clements every day at 9 am, noon, 3pm and 6pm,and it also plays during the distribution of fruit on Oranges & Lemons Day.

Visitors are welcome to attend – the nave is full with the children and invited guests so you view from the gallery (stairs up are near the main door into the church) where there was plenty of space in 2016. The gallery opens up at around 1pm, and the service itself lasted for just over an hour.

In 2018 the service will be held on Thursday March 15th.

Click here for the school website:

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