Tower of London and London Bridge
If you are not doing the full walk you might want to go and explore Tower Bridge more closely. Tower Bridge is a relative newcomer, only opened in 1894. Otherwise turn away from Tower Bridge and follow the river path of the north bank westwards. Follow the river path, until you approach London Bridge.
Turn right just before London Bridge. Take care to cross the busy road that parallels the river, then climb up Fish Street Hill on the opposite side of the road. Fish Street Hill is the first road northwards for traffic coming East from Westminster after crossing under London Bridge. Keep to the right hand side of the road the short way until the road bends left. On this bend to your right is the Monument.
In 1666 there was the Great Fire of London, destroying much of London. The Monument is a memorial to that event, its height 205 feet, is the same as the distance to the bakers shop in neighbouring Pudding Lane where the fire started. The Monument is the tallest stone column in the world, topped by a vase of flames. It was designed by Christopher Wren who also was responsible for St Paul's Cathedral which we visit later in the walk.
If you're fit enough you can walk up inside the column for a great view from the top and a well earned certificate.
The Gherkin (Swiss RE Building)
Head east, (back in the direction of the Tower of London) along Monument Street. In a few yards the first road crossing on Monument Street is Pudding Lane itself. Turn left, up Pudding Lane. The fire that started here destroyed 15, 000 homes and 87 churches, much of the city area in 5 days.
Lloyds of London
At the top of Pudding Lane, turn right along Eastcheap, then first left up Philpot Lane. In a short while you encounter Fenchurch Street, go straight over. Philpot Lane has become Lime Street.
Follow Lime Street as it bends right and then left. The unmistakable Lloyds of London building now dominates your attention.
Looking a bit like the Pompidou Centre in Paris, this 1986 building has all its pipes, ducts and lifts on the outside of the building. Originating from a coffee house in the 1860's, Lloyds is now the world's leading insurance market, covering the most complex and specialist risks, from celebrities body parts to oil rigs.
The Gherkin (Swiss RE Building)
After continuing past the Lloyds building, the main road crossing is Leadenhall Street. Almost opposite is St Mary Axe Street. From the corner of St Mary Axe opposite the church you have a grandstand view of the 'Erotic Gherkin' or the Swiss Re building.
This is a new building completed in 2004 for Swiss Re, the second largest insurance company in the world. It is now one of the icons of the London skyline. It is not the tallest building, but its 41 floors has captured the imagination of the public.
Now retrace your steps, back along Leadenhall Street and turn left into the next road after the Lloyds building, Whittington Avenue.
Whittington Avenue leads into the Leadenhall Market complex, a visually very impressive Victorian Market dating from 1881.
The market stands on the site of a Roman basilica. The original market was burnt down in the Fire of London and was then expanded to sell poultry, dairy goods, leather, wool and meat.
It now contains a wide variety of shops and bars. Wander around, a nice place to browse the specialist shops and perhaps take a coffee break.
Make your exit on the western side of the market in Gracechurch Street, the opposite side to your entrance into the market. Turn right up Gracechurch Street to the first main crossroad.
Turn left into Cornhill and follow it for 800m to Bank Underground. Along the way your curiosity will be aroused by the alleys and interesting side lanes. You will be rewarded if you follow your nose down alleys and into churches in a very atmospheric part of London, the oldest.
Just return to Cornhill from your adventures.
St Peter upon Churchill Church on the south side of Cornhill is the oldest place of Christian worship in London.
|Links To Three Stages Of Walk|
Original London Tour Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Buses
For the vast majority of visitors to London, the way you get about town on a day to day basis is by the London Underground, perhaps supplemented by the occasional red London bus using an Oyster or Travelcard.
But, especially for the first time visitor to London, the popular hop on, hop off sightseeing buses are a great orientation to the city of London getting you up to speed on the layout and spotting new places of interest you were not aware off.
You will have invested a lot of time and money in getting to London so you will want to use your time as efficiently as possible.
The hop on, hop off sightseeing buses are perhaps unrivalled in their ability to give you a speedy informed orientation to the layout of London. They also help you identify new locations that appeal to you, perhaps pointed out by the on-board guide and also give the once over those attractions you had always planned on visiting.
These buses offer comprehensive coverage covering nearly all the main sights in London. The popularity of the buses means there is one along every few minutes and you get a grandstand view perched up on the top deck of the bus.
In addition to the bus tour a river cruise and some free walking tours are all part of the deal.
Key Points of Original London Tour
- Tickets valid for 24 hours
- Three major bus tour routes supplemented by feeder services