CITY OF LONDON SIGHTS

CITY OF LONDON SIGHTS

S MONUMENT. Raised in 1677, Christopher Wren’s 202 ft. column stands exactly that distance from the bakery on Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started in 1666. The view of the surrounding city from the top is astounding. (Monument St. Tube: Monument. Open daily 9:30am-5pm. £2.)

ALL HALLOWS-BY-THE-TOWER. Holding its own against a vast new Norman Foster development, All Hallows bears the marks of its longevity with pride. The undercroft is home to an array of archaeological finds, including Roman pavements and some striking Celtic carvings. (Byward St. Tube: Tower Hill. Church open M-F 9am-5:45pm, Sa-Su 10am-5pm. Crypt open M-Sa 10:30am-4pm, Su l-4pm.)

GUILDHALL. In this vast Gothic hall, representatives from the City’s 102 guilds, from the Fletchers (arrow-makers) to the Information Technologists, meet at the Court of Common Council, under the Lord Mayor. The Court meets the third Thursday of every month. (Off Gresham St. Tube: St. Paul’s. Open May-Sept. daily 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-4pm; Oct-Apr. closed Su. Free.)

TOWER BRIDGE. This iconic symbol of London is often mistaken for its plain upriver sibling, London Bridge the story goes that when an Arizona millionaire bought the previous London Bridge and shifted it stone-by-stone to the US, he thought he was getting Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge Experience offers a cutesy introduction to the history and technology of the unique lifting mechanism, though the view isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. (Tube: Tower Hill. Open daily 9:30am-6pm; last admission 5pm. £4.50, students and seniors £3.)

WREN CHURCHES. Aside from St. Paul’s Cathedral, the City’s greatest architectural treasures are the 22 surviving churches designed by Christopher Wren to replace those lost in the Great Fire of 1666. The most famous is St. Mary-le-Bow; traditionally, the term “cockney” is reserved for those bom within range of its bells. For the past 800 years, the Archbishop of Canterbury has sworn in bishops in the 11th-century crypt, whose “bows” (arches) gave the church its epithet. (On Cheap-side, near Bow Ln. Tube: St. Paul’s. Open M-F 7:30am-6pm. Free.) St. Stephen Walbrook, built from 1672-1679, was Wren’s personal favorite. A plain exterior gives no inkling of the wide dome that floats above Henry Moore’s 1985 mysterious free-form altar. (39 Walbrook. Tube: Bank. Organ concert F 12:30pm. Open M-Th 9am~4pm. Free.)

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