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East City, London

Tower BridgeTower Bridge View slideshow
Continuing north from St Paul's Cathedral, one enters the eastern portion of the City with the famous Tower Bridge.


The Guildhall, the administrative headquarters of the Corporation of London, the local authority for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the City of London, and meeting place of the Court of Common Council, dates from 1430, although the only surviving parts of that building are sections of the external walls, the Great Hall and the crypt. The porch (1425-30), with the coat of arms of the City of London (motto "Domine dirige nos", "Guide us, O Lord"), leads into the Great Hall. In this hall the Court of Common Council meets every third Thursday at 1pm to discuss municipal business. The public is admitted to these meetings, at which the city fathers appear in all their splendor, complete with the Mace and Swordbearer, the Recorder, Chamberlain and other officers. Other public occasions are the election of Sheriffs on June 24, a picturesque and colorful ceremony held on a dais erected at the east end of the Great Hall, and the swearing in of the new Lord Mayor, another annual ceremony conducted with traditional ritual. The Guildhall is also used for official receptions and banquets, and is closed to the public for two to three days before and after such occasions. The Great Hall, over 50m long, 16m wide and 29m high (152x49x89ft), is well worth seeing even on "ordinary" days. Its Victorian timber roof was destroyed in 1940 and rebuilt by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott with stone arches and a paneled ceiling.

Address: Gresham Street, London EC2 5AE, England

Guildhall Art Gallery

In the West Wing of Guildhall is the Library, entrance on Aldermanbury. The Art Gallery in its present form has existed since 1886, but was founded in 1670 and has a collection of works by Millais, Leighton and Constable. It houses temporary exhibitions devoted to groups and associations of London artists. It remains closed when there are no exhibitions. At the moment a new Art Gallery is being constructed in the Guildhall Yard.

Guildhall Library

Anyone interested in the history of London should visit the Guildhall Library. It has a unique collection of London prints and more than 140,000 volumes on the history of the city. Items of particular interest include a First Folio of Shakespeare, a map of London dated 1591 and a deed of purchase of a house bearing Shakespeare's signature.
Address: Gresham Street, London EC2P 2EJ, England

Guildhall Clock Museum

Of interest is the Guildhall Clock Museum, with 700 exhibits illustrating 500 years of clockmaking belonging to the Worship Company of Clockmakers.
Address: Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2, England

St Mary-le-Bow Church

The City church of St Mary-le-Bow, with its famous bells, occupies a special place in the affections of Londoners. To be a genuine Cockney, it is said, you must have been born within the sound of Bow Bells. The church, originally a Norman foundation and one of London's oldest stone churches, was rebuilt by Wren between 1670 and 1683. It suffered heavy damage during World War II and was re-dedicated after extensive restoration in 1964. Its most notable feature is the 73m/221ft high steeple containing the bells which is topped by a weathervane nearly 3m/9ft high. Bricks dating from the Roman occupation of Britain may be seen in the 11th century crypt.
Address: Cheapside, London EC2V 6AU, England

Bank of England

The "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" is the national bank of the United Kingdom - guardian of the national currency, adviser to the government in financial matters and responsible for the amount of money in circulation, withdrawing old banknotes from circulation and issuing new ones. It also influences the level of interest rates, though in August 1981 it abandoned the practice of publishing a minimum lending rate (previously "bank rate"). The national gold reserves are kept in its vaults. The Bank of England was incorporated by royal charter in 1694 as a private company in order to finance the war against Louis XIV of France, and was brought under government control only in 1946. The majestic building which it occupies was designed by Sir John Soane; begun in 1788, it was completed in 1833. Between 1924 and 1939 it was radically rebuilt by Sir Herbert Baker, who preserved Soane's facade and Corinthian columns but erected a new seven-story complex behind them. The statues above the main entrance are by Sir Charles Wheeler. Visitors are admitted only to the banking hall, and then only by prior arrangement.
Sir John Soane's major work (transitional) using shallow domes rather than semi-circular domes which were more typical of Renaissance architecture.
Classical in organization, but not in its use of orders.
Address: Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH, England

Bank of England Museum

Opened at the end of 1988, the Bank of England museum tells the story of the 300 years of history of the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" and includes a reconstruction of the former Stock Office.
Address: Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH, England

Mansion House

The Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor, was built by George Dance the Elder between 1739 and 1753 but has undergone a number of later alterations. The imposing Corinthian colonnade serves a ceremonial as well as a decorative function, for it is here that the Lord Mayor appears on the occasion of royal and other official processions. The principal reception room is the Egyptian Hall. Visitors are also shown the Conference Room, with a fine stucco ceiling; the Saloon, with beautiful tapestries and a Waterford glass chandelier; the Drawing Rooms; and the tiny Court of Justice, with cells beneath.
Address: Walbrook, London EC4N 8BH, England

Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange building was founded by Thomas Gresham in 1566. He is commemorated by a statue on the east side of the 60m/197ft high tower and by the weather vane in the form of a grasshopper, the heraldic device of the Gresham family. The building was burnt down in 1666 and again in 1838. In 1844 Sir William Tite designed the Exchange in its present classical form. Above the gable tympanum is a relief by Sir Richard Westmacott representing "Trade and the Freedom of the Exchange". Traditionally from the top of the steps the new monarch is always proclaimed, a declaration of war announced and the conclusion of a peace treaty made known. The carillon in the tower plays daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Canadian and Australian traditional tunes.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street (named after the moneylenders from Lombardy who had their houses here in the 13th century) has been London's banking and financial center since medieval times. The street is of interest not so much for its 19th and 20th century buildings, as for the bank signs hanging above the pavement - continuing a tradition dating from the Middle Ages, when illiteracy was rife and the bankers' customers were able to identify them only by their heraldic emblems.

London Monument

The Monument commemorating the great fire of London.
This tall column, 61.5m/202ft high, was erected between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire. It stands exactly 61.5m/202ft from the spot in Pudding Lane where the fire started. Although attributed to Wren, it was probably designed by Robert Hooke. The view from the platform, just below the golden urn (311 steps up), is somewhat obscured by office blocks. The column is topped by an urn with a gilded flaming ball, 14m/42ft high.
Address: Monument Street, London EC3R 8AH, England

London Bridge

London Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral at night.
"London Bridge is falling down," says the old rhyme. In fact London Bridge has never fallen down, though it has twice been pulled down and replaced by a new bridge. The London Bridge of the rhyme was a 12th century stone bridge lined on both sides with houses, which were later removed to make room for recesses in which pedestrians could take refuge from the heavy traffic on the narrow carriageway. In 1831 this bridge was replaced by a new one, which by the 1960s had become inadequate to cope with the flow of traffic and was due in turn to be superseded by a more modern bridge. The 1831 bridge was then bought by an American (under the belief, it was said, that he was acquiring Tower Bridge), transported across the Atlantic and re-erected at Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Remains of a Roman bridge have also been found in the area. The present London Bridge was opened to traffic in 1973.

Lloyds of London

Lloyds of London, a building built inside-out.
The insurance undertaking Lloyds can look back on a tradition which has lasted for 300 years. It originated in a coffee house owned by one Edward Lloyd, where ships' captains, shipowners and merchants used to meet and arrange insurance for their vessels and cargoes. Lloyds is not an insurance company in the usual sense of the term but a concern which arranges policies with individual insurance firms. The new building, opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, was designed by Richard Rogers, the architect who also designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The architectural novelty of the building is that the internal fittings - elevators and stairs and pipes - are placed on the outside, which gives the building a bizarre appearance. The interior is laid out as an atrium with 14 stories, rising to a height of 76m/250ft. In the center of the interior under a baldachin hangs the bell recovered from the French frigate "Lutine" in 1799, which had a cargo of silver and which was insured with Lloyds. The bell used to be rung once to indicate bad news and twice for good tidings. It is now rung only on special occasions. Nearby stands a high desk, on which lies an account book. Even today the traditional practise is maintained, that when a ship which is insured with Lloyds sinks, an entry in this book is made with a quill pen. Since a bomb was found in the viewing gallery the interior of the building is no longer open to the public.
Address: 1 Lime Street, London EC3M 7HA, England

All Hallows by the Tower

Originally founded in 675, it is the oldest church in London. It was rebuilt in the 13th-15th century, badly damaged by bombing in the Second World War and restored in 1957. The Saxon period is represented by the remains of a seventh century arch and a cross. The crypt (undercroft), which houses a museum, dates from the 14th century. The brick tower (1658) is an example of Cromwellian ecclesiastical architecture; the spire was added in 1959. All Hallows has been the Toc H guild church, an organization of Christian fellowship founded in Belgium.
Notable features are the statues of St Ethelburga and Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (who was baptized in the church) above the north porch (1884), a 16th century Spanish crucifix in the south aisle and a number of 15th-17th century tombs. The new font (1944) is carved from stone from Gibraltar.
Address: Byward Street, London EC3R 5BJ, England

Undercroft Museum

The Undercroft Museum contains a model of Roman London and various Roman and Saxon remains. The parish registers record the baptism (1644) of William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, and the marriage of John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States.

All Hallows Memorial Chapel

In the Memorial Chapel is a crusading altar which originally stood in Richard I's castle at Athlit in northern Palestine. It also houses the finest collection of memorial brasses (14th-17th centuries) in London.

All Hallows Church Brass Rubbing Centre

All Hallows by the Tower Church houses a center for brass rubbing where visitors can take impressions from the memorial tablets.

Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge in London.
Tower Bridge, opened in 1894, is one of London's best known landmarks, with its two neo-Gothic towers rising 65m/200ft above the river. The two heavy bascules or drawbridges bearing the roadway can be raised in a minute and a half to allow large ships to pass through (a rare occurrence nowadays, since cargo vessels now moor farther downstream). Since 1975 they have been raised by electric power. There is also a museum housing the older hydraulic machinery which is still maintained in working order so as to be available in case of emergency. The glass covered walkway, 43m/142ft above the Thames, gives a splendid view of the river. Both towers contain an interesting exhibition employing animatronic characters and other special effects to explain the history of the bridge.
It was designed by Horace Jones and engineered by Wolfe Barry.
Address: Tower Bridge, London SE1 2UP, England

Tower of London

A prime landmark and popular tourist attraction, the Tower of London has served multiple purposes over the years. This World Heritage Site has been a prison, palace, treasure vault, observatory and menagerie.

St Helen Bishopgate Church

St Helen's is one of the finest and most interesting churches in the City. Originally built in the 12th C, it was altered between the 13th and 14th C, and has been preserved mainly in its 14th C form. It has two parallel naves of equal size, one originally reserved for the nuns of the convent to which the church belonged, the other for the lay congregation. Features of particular interest are the monument of Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of London (1608), on the south wall; the pulpit and altar; the canopied tomb of Sir William Pickering, ambassador to France in the 16th century; and the table-tomb of Sir John Crosby (d. 1475).
Address: Great St Helen's, London EC3A 6AT, England

Doggett's Coat & Badge Race

Doggett's Coat and Badge Race upstream from London Bridge to Chelsea Bridge takes place in July. The custom was begun in the 18th century by the Irish comedian Thomas Doggett when he could not find anyone to take him home. Finally he came upon a young man who rowed him upstream against the tide.

Stock Exchange

Roof of the London Stock Exchange.
The London Stock Exchange was founded in 1773, quickly developed into the leading institution of its kind in the world and is still one of the most important. Following the reform of the Exchange in 1986 all the firms are now concentrated here and the distinction between "broker" (agent) and "jobber" (dealer) has been abolished. In the Great Hall the members of the Exchange would transact business with a huge turnover in accordance with the motto "dictum meum pactum" (my word is my bond). This is enshrined in the coat of arms of the Exchange. Nowadays transactions are made at the computer terminal. After a bomb attack in 1991 the visitor center was closed and for the time being the Exchange is not open to the public.

Britain at War Museum

Visitors can experience London during the Second World War "Blitz" including a London Underground air raid shelter. Enter a BBC Radio Studio to hear messages from Churchill, Chamberlain, Roosevelt and Hitler. Other exhibits include rare documents, ration books and gas masks.
Address: 64 Tooley Street, London Bridge, London SE1 2TF, England

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market offers meat, poultry, fish and cheese.
This market area provides a fascinating look at London's Victorian architecture. The covered market was built in 1881.
Address: Whittington Avenue, London EC3V 1LR, England

Old Operating Theater

Visitors can see a 19th C surgical operating theater.
The theatre is found in the roof space of an English Baroque Church. Students from the neighboring hospital would come in to watch the surgeries.
Address: 9a St Thomas' Street, London SE1 9RY, England

Petticoat Lane Market

Petticoat Lane is London's most famous market, busy and noisy and full of interesting characters. In this market, it is possible to buy almost anything and at a reasonable price.

St Magnus the Martyr

The fabulous church of St Magnus is described as one of Wren's finest pieces of architecture. It holds a beautifully decorated interior.
The church was also home to Miles Cloverdale, publisher of the first English translation of the Bible.
Address: Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6DN, England

Brick Lane Market

Brick Lane Market offers a wide variety of both new and second-hand clothes, and articles of all kinds.

Bishopsgate Library

View along Bishopsgate in London.
Bishopsgate Library is situated opposite Liverpool Street Station.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Market offers an extensive range of flowers.

Liverpool Street Station

Train at Liverpool Station in London.
Pierced tracery lines the girders and columns of this cathedral-like station.

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