Walking around the Western most fringes of the City of London, there are some amazing things to see and do.
Any top London walking tour should focus on at least several of these landmarks in the city.
1.St Paul’s Cathedral.
Sir Christopher Wren built one of the Church of England’s most important buildings and the second largest cathedral in England. You don’t even need to go inside to appreciate this amazing building. Look out for the golden pineapples that adorn the two towers by the main entrance, note the chicken above the entrance as well as a few other interesting signs and symbols. The gardens are a peaceful place to sit and contemplate life and think a little.
2. Christchurch, Greyfriars.
I first noticed this ‘church’ while staring out of a bus window and wondered why it was never repaired. It is a shell of a church that was never rebuilt or reconsecrated after being destroyed during WWII. Over the past few years it has been rejuvenated with the inside of the church becoming a lovely garden where you can sit and relax while smelling some of the herbs that are grown here. It has a wonderfully dark past with connections to Queen Isabella of France, she who sanctioned the murder of her husband, King Edward II. Just don’t ask how he was killed!
3. Postman’s Park.
Hidden away within a churchyard near St Paul’s is a loggia (lean-to!) containing an art installation dedicated to acts of heroism and self sacrifice. The wall is adorned with a series of tiles that have been hand painted by artist, GF Watt and his wife. It will certainly move you as you read brief accounts of how people gave their lives to help save others.
4. The Priory Church of St Bartholomew The Great.
The oldest parish church in London was founded in 1123 and is one of the best around. You may recognise it from the movies; iIt has been used as a location for such films as ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ and Elizabeth to name but a few. The interior is pure Norman and is at its most magical in candlelight.
5. The London Charterhouse.
If this amazing building doesn’t blow you away its architecture, its history will! This complex of buildings dates back to the 14th century when it was a monastery. It has quite a bloody history and as you stand and look at the original gateway, remember the garden square is allegedly one of London’s largest plague pits! If you get a chance to go in, the ‘brothers’ of the Sutton Hospital in Charterhouse will show you, not only their history from 161, but also where both Queen Elizabeth I and her successor, James I stayed on their way into London to be crowned.
6. St Bride’s Church.
This is a wonderful ‘wedding cake’ church built on an ancient place of worship. When open, you not only visit a very beautiful Wren church, but if you take a look downstairs, you can enjoy a crypt full of archaeological gems revealing parts of the church (and Temple) from Roman times to pre-Great Fire of London.
7. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.
No visit to London would be complete without a good pub and I think this is one of the most important in the area. A favourite of Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson and other important people who liked to taste the different beers and ales and catch up with what was happening in the world with like-minded men. It positively creaks with history within its series of bars and dining rooms.
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