Whatever religion or faith you practice there are many places in London to worship and UCL societies to support you.
UCL is a secular institution which upholds a deep seated commitment to equality and diversity, and which has no religious affiliation and does not endorse any particular denomination or faith. However, UCL is also committed to providing an inclusive learning and working environment where students and staff of all religions, and none, can thrive.
On this page:
- UCL Chaplaincy
- Faith at UCL
- Prayer and meditation facilities
- Places of worship in London
- Religion and Belief Equality Policy
Many people are surprised to find out that UCL has a Chaplain. You may have heard the famous quotation from the historian Thomas Arnold, who once described UCL as “that Godless institution on Gower Street”. Prior to UCL’s inception in 1826, a university education was restricted to male members of the Church of England. UCL led the way to making education available to all, regardless of race, class or religion, and it was the first university to welcome female students on equal terms with men.
At UCL you will find a rich mix of students and staff from a wide variety of cultural and religious backgrounds. This creates UCL's diverse community, a key factor contributing to UCL being a world-class institution.
The Chaplain is here to provide pastoral support and to foster diversity and cohesion amongst staff and students of all religious backgrounds and none in UCL.
The Reverend Lizzie Baughen, the UCL Chaplain (maternity cover), is available to listen and talk in complete confidence to all members of UCL, regardless of religious belief, about any concerns or issues they might have. She can also provide information for those of all faiths and nationalities looking to find a place of worship to attend in London.
If you would like to discuss issues around religion and faith, please get in touch with Lizzie to arrange a suitable time to meet in person or talk over the phone.
You can contact Lizzie by email.
All major faiths are represented by a student union society at UCL. Their pages on the Students' Union UCL website are listed below; many of them can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
- Buddhist Society
- Catholic Society
- Christian Union
- Hindu Society
- Ahlul-Bayt Society
- Islamic Society
- Islamic Society (RUMS)
- Jewish Society
- Sikh Society
UCL is proud to provide new facilities for prayer, worship and meditation for students of all faiths and none, which were opened in February 2019 in the Student Centre.
There are facilities for prayer and meditation on Floor B2 of the Student Centre, located at 27-28 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AW. These include a large prayer room with ablution facilities attached, and a smaller room for silent prayer and meditation. The latter room is available to be booked by Students’ Union UCL faith societies for prayer and worship. Please respect other users and abide by the code of conduct for the facilities.
Places of worship and the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Please note that some of the places of worship below may be required to alter their services or close during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
We recommend that you check the website of any place of worship you intend to visit or call ahead before you arrive.
You will find people of almost every world faith or belief system living in London. Many places of worship are particularly geared towards welcoming students into their communities. The following is a non-exhaustive list of places of worship close to UCL.
The London Buddhist Centre runs meditation, yoga and mindfulness classes. It is located in Bethnal Green. The nearest is tube is Bethnal Green, on the Central line.
The West London Buddhist Centre runs course and drop-in sessions in mindfulness, buddhism, meditation, yoga and qigong. It is located in Paddington. The nearest tube is Royal Oak, on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.
The Anchorage is a church for students set up by the Church of England, based at the LSE Faith Centre. The nearest station is Holborn, on the Central line.
Newman House is the Roman Catholic chaplaincy for students in London. It is based on Gower Street, very close to the main UCL campus.
St Pancras Church is the nearest Anglican (Church of England) church to UCL. Its main services take place at 10am and 6pm on Sundays.
The Radha Krishna Temple is the nearest Hindu temple to UCL, located just off Soho Square, about a 10 minute walk from the main campus. The nearest tube is Tottenham Court Road on the Central and Northern lines.
The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, often know as the 'Neasden Temple' is located in north-west London. The nearest tube is Neasden, on the Jubilee line.
The British Humanist Association runs campaigns and events in London. The nearest Sunday Assembly meets at 11am on the first and third Sundays of the month at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square. The nearest tube is Holborn, on the Central and Piccadilly lines.
The Goodge Street Mosque is a 5- to 10-minute walk from UCL. The nearest tube is Goodge Street on the Northern line.
The Students' Union UCL Islamic Society organises Jumuah Prayers in UCL on Fridays.
The Central Gurdwara is the oldest established place of Sikh worship in Europe. It is located in West London. The nearest tube is Shepherds Bush on the Central line.
UCL recognises that the spiritual and moral systems that religions and beliefs offer can often be of fundamental importance to the wellbeing of students. UCL also recognises that religious rituals, such as dress, diet and prayer, can be an integral part of religious life.
It is important that, where reasonably practicable, the needs of students from all religious backgrounds, and also of students with no religious affiliation, are met. It is also important to be clear when the needs of religious students may impinge upon the needs and freedoms of others, and therefore cannot be accommodated.