Sunday, December 27

The Monument

Today's chilly and blustery weather didn't have quite enough sunshine to tempt my friend Gareth and I out of London for a walk, but instead we had a mooch around the City and did one of the things that has been on my 'to do' list since I arrived here (ahem more than 20 years ago!).

We climbed 311 steps to the top of the Monument which commemorates the rebuilding of the city of London after the Great Fire of 1666. This the tallest free-standing stone column in the world, according to the certificate you are given when you descend the stairs after admiring the views from the top.

The tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr Robert Hooke, and provides fabulous views over the city of London and the river, even on a rather dull December day. We could see as far as the tower on the top of Shooters Hill in south east London. On a sunny day you could probably see even further.

The weekend is a great time to explore the so-called 'square mile' of London, which is home to all the major banks and financial institutions, but hides many surprising gems of architecture and tradition. You can wander around and explore all the little side streets, cut-throughs and hidden churches without getting in the way of tetchy bankers. The only downside is that many of the pubs, cafes and shops are also closed, even on Saturday. Head to St Pauls, the Barbican or Liverpool Street station if you need food or drink, they usually have places open to cater for travellers and tourists.

The late afternoon sun provided a very warm glow to Wren's beautiful dome on St Paul's Cathedral as we headed home.


colleen said...

How energetic. I have not climbed the Monument for years. As a child I disliked the City at the weekend (we lived near the eastern edge) but now appreciate it much more.

Rowan said...

never climbed the monument - too unfit/lazy - but often went into The City of a weekend for a mooch. I used to get the tube to Tower Hill on a Sunday lunchtime and then walk down through the city to the point where you can walk back along the north bank of the Thames, and from there I'd walk down to Chelsea and Fulham. Really peaceful, especially in the winter. My other walk was to go to Fulham Broadway on the tube and then walk back to South Wimbledon via Putney. A great walk but Putney Hill was a bit of a slog :)

Gareth Gardner said...

I don't understand why I'm not feeling the burn today!

Felix said...

I have not even heard of the Monument but shall check it out next time I am in London! It sounds good for the hamstrings!