London Visit: The Monument London. Last week Homeboy and I visited The Monument to the Great Fire of London. You need to climb over three hundred steps before you reach the top but it’s well worth the effort. You get spectacular panoramic views across London which will really does take your breath away … literally and physically! If you’re looking for views of London or interesting things to see near London Bridge, visit The Monument London.
The Monument London
The Monument London History
I’ve walked past this tall column structure hundreds of times, but I didn’t know that it was to commemorate the rebuilding of London after the great fire. I never even questioned why it was called The Monument! Now I know, it all makes perfect sense! Not many people know that you can go inside and walk up the stairs to the viewing gallery. Next time you’re in the area, venture inside and you’ll get a fantastic view of the city.
Commemorate The Great Fire At The Monument
The Monument is located on the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill which is in the City of London, near London Bridge. The building work for the structure took place from 1671 to 1677. It was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London and the rebuilding of the city. The fire is famous for beginning in Pudding Lane at a baker’s house on Sunday 2nd September 1666. Many of the buildings in the city were burnt to the ground because they were made of wood.
Great Fire of London
Sir Christopher Wren (St Paul’s Cathedral architect) and Dr Robert Hooke designed the Portland Stone column with a spiral stone staircase of 311 steps. At the top there is a viewing platform which is where you’ll be heading. If you stand back far enough on the street below before you enter the column, look to the very top and you will notice a drum and copper urn with flames to symbolise the fire. The height of this building has significance, it is 61 metres tall which is the distance from The Monument and where the fire began in Pudding Lane.
The Monument Basement
To begin with the building was used for experiments by the Royal Society which were said to take place in the basement. However, constant vibrations from the traffic meant caused a problem. So, The Monument became an attraction for Londoners and visitors.
The Monument London View
There is one staircase which takes you up and down The Monument. You will walk up 311 steps and then back down again. I will admit that I was out of breath and my calfs ached for a couple of days afterwards. When I got back down again my legs were wobbly. The ladies at the ticket office, Mandy and Daniele, called this feeling the Monument Wobbles!
311 Step Staircase
When you reach the top and catch your breath you will get the best reward … the magnificent view. It really is stunning and well worth that steep climb. You can walk around the balcony which has wire fencing for safety. The gaps are wide enough to poke your camera lenses through.
Wrap Around Balcony
The new buildings in the city, the Walkie Talkie and the Gherkin, feel as though they are very close, almost close enough to touch. You get a marvellous view of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard and Tower Bridge. To maximise the views try and go on a clear day so read the weather report in advance. Look down and you’ll see the traffic below winding through the roads which look like toy cars. When you’ve caught your breath again you can start your descent.
City of London Buildings
My top tips are that you should wear shoes rather than sandals and hold on to the rail when you are going up and down! I’d also advise making this your first visit of the day because if you have a full itinerary of sightseeing you might find the stairs too much. You can combine your visit with Tower Bridge because you can buy a joint ticket and it is a short walk away.
The Monument London Information
Tower Bridge View
For more information visit The Monument Website. Go to the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill and you will see it standing proud in the middle of the road, the postcode is EC3R 8AH. The nearest stations are London Bridge, Fenchurch Street and Tower Gateway (DLR). Opening times in the summer are 9.30am until 6pm, in the winter it is 9.30am until 5.30pm. It costs £5.00 for an adult and £2.50 for a child with concessions for students and seniors. You can also get a combination ticket to visit Tower Bridge. They only accept cash or advanced tickets. Check online for further information about prices, visiting times and Christmas closing. Enjoy your visit and those spectacular views.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for visiting with me. Thanks to the two ladies in the ticket office, Mandy and Daniele, for showing us the basement.