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St. John's Cathedral

Written by GavinUpdated Jan. 20, 2021


  • Oldest church building in Hong Kong.
  • Beautifully and richly constructed.
  • Cool and relaxing interior colors.
  • Open to the public every day.
  • Within easy walking distance of the Metro, the Peak Tram and the Star Ferry Pier.

Hong Kong's St. John's Cathedral is the main Anglican church building for the archdiocese. It is where the Hong Kong archbishop presides. It is in Central District on Hong Kong Island. It is the oldest church building in Hong Kong and is the oldest Anglican cathedral in the Far East. Its style is 13th century English Gothic that was popular for cathedrals about the time the building was built. It is built in the shape of a cross and has a tall front tower. It has clean cut features from the outside, and is beautifully lit and decorated within. Most of the interior decoration is post WWII since the Japanese who used the building for a club took the decorations. It is the Anglicans' main church building in Hong Kong and has a history of about 160 years.

Detailed Descriptions

The interior has a lot of cool, refreshing light and colors from the stained glass windows and the lighting. People might find that it is a quiet and refreshing place to relax. It is open for the public for viewing or meditation every day. The main room and the tower are both tall. The stone tower itself looks to be about 9 stories tall. The building's exterior and interior seems to be very clean, well maintained and rich.
Outside the building is a Celtic Cross erected in 1952 after the Japanese destroyed the original cross that was erected by Hong Kong Governor Stubbs in 1921 in memorial to the soldiers who were killed in WWI. There is also the tomb of Pte. R. D. Maxwell who was killed in Wan Chai three days before the ceasefire.

It is in the expensive Central District area that is the government and banking center, and also a major shopping area. It is surrounded by City Hall, the HSBC building, the tall Bank of China building, the new IFC Mall, and the main Hong Kong government offices and buildings.


St. John's is at 4-8 Garden Road, just down from the Peak Tram that goes up Victoria Peak. It is in easy in easy walking distance from the Star Ferry Pier.


In 1842, the British controlled the area of Hong Kong, and they soon started to build an Anglican church building. The Anglican religion was Britain's established denomination. The foundation stone was laid for the building on March 11, 1847, and they finished construction in 1849. Then the cathedral building was extended in 1873. The Japanese used the building for a club when they occupied the territory. It was then renovated after they left. In 1996, the cathedral was declared a monument by the Hong Kong government which means that it is a historic site that is very important to preserve.

Touring Activities

  • Enjoy the beauty.
  • Relax, meditate, and pray.
  • Photography (no flash).

Traveling Information

  • Hours: Open 7 am to 6 pm daily for quiet meditation.
  • Transportation: It is in easy walking distance from the Star Ferry Pier, the Peak Tram and Central Station. The Mid-levels escalator also goes near.

Nearby Attractions

St. Paul's is right next to IFC Mall that is a new and glitzy luxury shopping mall area. You can go there to shop and eat. It is also surrounded by some of Hong Kong's most popular restaurants, shopping areas, and bars. The church is also near some of Hong Kong's most popular sites including Victoria Peak and its mall area, and the free Hong Kong Park and the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The zoo and Hong Kong Park are both in Central District. You can walk up the escalators and then walk up a small park road to reach the top of Victoria Peak, or you can take the nearby Victoria Peak Tram. Either way makes for good sightseeing. 

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