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City of London Walking Tour
Excerpt from National Geographic Traveler: London guidebook
Text by Louise Nicholson    Photo by Andres Rodriguez

Photo: Old Royal Naval College, London
Visitors admire buildings at the Old Royal Naval College in southeastern London.

This walk gives a good idea of the dense, medieval compactness of the city section of London and its range of fine buildings of all periods. Go on a weekday for life, on weekends for quiet.

*Bolded names and numbers in the text below correspond with our map of this walking tour.

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From Monument Tube station, walk down Monument Street to the Monument (1), which commemorates the Great Fire of London of 1666 and can be climbed.
Turn right onto Fish St. Hill. At the bottom is Wren's glorious church, St. Magnus the Martyr on Lower Thames Street; in the porch, see a fragment of the Romans' road leading to their bridge. Farther east, walk up St. Mary at Hill, veering right onto St. Dunstan's Lane, to the remains of St. Dunstan-in-the-East—a Wren tower of 1697, and a garden.
Beyond St. Margaret Pattens, turn left at Fenchurch Street, then right onto Lime Street to find the covered arches of Leadenhall Market, the City's food market, opened in 1881. Continue on Lime Street past Richard Rogers's colorful Lloyd's building (2) of 1978-1986, with its elevators and stairs hung on the outside walls. Cross Leadenhall into St. Mary Axe to inspect the vast egg-shaped building at No. 30 before turning left to find peace in medieval St. Helen's Bishopsgate, with fine monuments. Cross Bishopsgate to find Richard Seifert's 600-foot-tall International Financial Centre (NatWest Tower), the world's tallest cantilevered building when completed in 1981.
Turn left down Old Broad Street, cut through Finch Lane, and proceed across Cornhill and into the narrow court opposite to find St. Michael Cornhill, where Wren and Hawksmoor added to the medieval tower. Now go right, onto Lombard Street, whose banking signs evoke medieval origins. Hawksmoor's St. Mary Woolnoth (3) of 1716-1727 faces onto Mansion House Square, the core of financial London: the Mansion House of 1739-1753, the Lord Mayor's official residence, and the Bank of England. Walk around the Bank of England Museum on Bartholomew Lane, close to St. Margaret Lothbury.
Lothbury runs into Gresham Street, where St. Lawrence Jewry stands in front of the Guildhall (4). The medieval crypt is open to the public; the Clockmakers' Company's clocks are exhibited on the ground floor. The Guildhall on Aldermanbury is the seat of the City's government by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen. You can visit the magnificent hall, and also the Guildhall Art Gallery, whose new building displays the City's impressive art collection and incorporates a section of Roman London's amphitheater discovered during building (Guildhall Yard, tel +44 7332 3700). Farther along Gresham Street, the Goldsmiths' Company has its hall on Foster Lane (exhibitions open to the public). Haberdashers' Hall is on Staining Lane, and there is a chunk of Roman wall on Noble Street. A bridge across London Wall road leads to the Museum of London (5).
Now walk down St. Martin's-le-Grand to St. Paul's Cathedral (6). South of the cathedral, steps lead down to Millennium Bridge. But to continue the walk, go east of the cathedral, along Watling Street, to Bow Lane, with St. Mary-le-Bow at the top. If born within the sound of its bells, you are a true Cockney. Up Queen Victoria Street is the Roman Temple of Mithras (7). St. Stephen Walbrook stands behind Mansion House, off Bucklersbury, while St. Mary Abchurch (8) is set in a square down St. Swithin's Lane. Cannon Street leads to Monument station.

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