This sauna has been a bit of a mythical status for us as we read about it a few years ago and couldn’t quite believe that a sauna existed under a Finnish church in East London!
We finally made a pilgrimage to the venue in May and we’re sure glad we did.
This is one of only a handful of authentic (i.e. naked) saunas in London which caters for people who just like to sauna!
The sauna does indeed sit in the church’s basement. Lots of churches have crypts for keeping the dead but this church has a sauna crypt for the living! There is that Finnish saying – treat a sauna like a church – and this place takes that phrase literally.
The church itself also doubles as a community centre for Finnish culture and includes a shop of food treats for any homesick Finns! So you know you’re getting the real deal when you go to this sauna.
The facilities themselves are basic but clean. There’s a changing room, cold showers and a sauna – which can fit up to 7 people if you’re close friends.
The main aspect that we liked about this sauna is that it was hot! I mean really hot. I know that sounds a stupid thing to say but a lot of saunas sit at around 84C and it can take a while to break the sweat but here we were able to get the heat up to an intense 90C! This was due to the fact that we could control the heat by adding water to the coals, a facility which larger saunas often don’t have as they don’t use coals to heat the room.
There are segregated sessions that are open to the public but you can also hire it privately – we asked a couple of other sauna buddies to join us, so as a mixed group of 4 we decided to do that. It meant that between the four of us it worked out at £8 each for an hour – pretty reasonable for London. This could become the new regular.
And if you’re looking for hydration afterwards then the fantastic Mayflower pub on the Thames is 5 mins away!
Summary: A no frills authentic sauna in the Capital – a unique venue.
Overall sauna experience: Cold, Warm, Hot, Top Sauna!
Facilities: Basic, Standard, Excellent