Hattie Lloyd 07/07/22
Itinerary Location: The City | Duration: 4 Hours
London’s full of impressive monuments.
And sometimes, the cost of getting in can be pretty monumental too.
Not so in this Itinerary, which allows you to take in some of the City’s most historic landmarks in unexpected ways, and uncover some hidden gems along the way. Your journey begins at Monument station…
Heading along King William Street when you leave Monument, you’ll see… the Monument. Specifically, the grandiose classical column erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London, which by all accounts was actually quite shit, rampaging across the whole medieval City of London, tearing down buildings (including St. Paul’s Cathedral) and blazing for over four days.
A few years later this memorial was erected to designs by Sir Christopher Wren, who also got to work rebuilding the cathedral, and a ton of churches in the City (did anyone check where he was the night of the fire…?). It’s 202ft tall, to mark its distance from the exact starting point of the fire, and has a hidden laboratory built underneath to allow science buffs of the time to conduct gravity experiments from the top. Steel yourself for the 311-step climb inside the pillar itself, and emerge to surprisingly impressive panoramic views from what was once the highest viewpoint in London.
Having conducted your own gravity experiment by… going back down the stairs, head down Pudding Lane (where the fire started), swing a left onto Eastcheap and make for –
Murger Han is something of a London legend in its own right. This is the third branch of the Xi’an specialist, dishing up deeply satisfying street food classics for (almost) street food prices. Order the signature murger (the millenia-old Chinese equivalent to the hamburger, featuring slow-cooked spiced pork between flatbread) and their famous 12ft biang-biang noodles to go, and take them a little further along Cheapside, heading right on St. Dunstan’s Hill to reach…
This ruined church is a patchwork of different eras; first built in the 1100s, it’s been repaired, restored and burnt down in the intervening years. Wren helped to patch the place up after the Great Fire (of course he did), and his steeple is pretty much the only part left standing now after it was bombed during the Blitz. Left unrepaired, the ruins have housed a secret garden for the past 50 years.
Slurp down your noodles surrounded by Gothic windows, creepers and trailing ivy, before heading down and left along Lower Thames Street until you reach…
The Tower of London is the city’s most historic spot, built as a giant FU by William the Conqueror almost a thousand years ago; it’s where the two princes were murdered, Anne Boleyn was beheaded and Guy Fawkes was tortured. There’s also a really great pub inside that’s open only to Beefeaters. If you’re really making a day of it, the £30 entry ticket is actually well worth it – but it’s just as impressive from the outside.
From here, trace the castle’s perimeter towards the bridge, but first cross the road and descend the steps to…
These 200 year old docks were once a bustling port surrounded by warehouses; since the 1990s it’s been a mooring spot for fancy private boats. It’s also – fun fact – where Vodafone made the first ever cell phone call in 1985.
Stop by White Mulberries for an iced coffee, and take a stroll around the marina ogling the superyachts before heading to your last stop:
It’s another London icon, but today you’re seeing it from a new perspective. Once the stomping ground of prostitutes and pickpockets, the walkways at the top of the tower are now open to the public again, with glass floors revealing the traffic below, and slightly less squeamish views across the city from the windows.
Tickets will also gain you admission to the engineering chambers below: cavernous, subterranean rooms filled with glossy iron machinery that raises and lowers the bridge itself.
And if you’re not ready to call it a day yet?
On the other side there are plenty of great restaurants in London Bridge to explore…
➊ Monument | Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH | Book tickets (inc. Tower Bridge)
➋ Murger Han | 9-10 Philpot Lane, London EC3M 8AA | Pre-order
➌ St Dunstan In The East | St Dunstan’s Hill; London; EC3R 5DD | See details
➍ The Tower Of London | London EC3N 4AB | Book tickets
➎ St Katharine Docks | St. Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LA | See details
➏ Tower Bridge | Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP | See details
Not ready to go home? Tack on our London Bridge evening itinerary…
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Starts at Monument Station, Princes Street, Bank, EC3V 3LA
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