EC2, EC3 & EC4: The City; E1 & E2: East End; E14: Docklands

“The City”       
UK London Financial District'The City' is the country's centre for finance and, during the medieval period, was the entire extent of the city of London. Also called 'The Square Mile', it is the location of Fleet Street, where for many years Britian's newspapers were headquartered. Nowadays the area is better known as a centre for law as the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England, is located here and nearby can be found the Inner and Middle Temples, two of the Inns of Court. Among other sites in the area are Dr Johnson's House and the stunning St Paul's Cathedral, which overlooks this most busy of districts.


EC4

Fleet St               
Once the centre of Britain's newspaper industry, Fleet Steet is now more often frequented by barristers, members of the Middle and Inner Temples, two of the Inns of Court, which are nearby. Nevertheless, St. Bride's Church [St Bride's Lane, +44 20 74270133, www.stbrides.com] remains: it was and still is the church for journalists and holds regular services to remember those who have lost their lives while reporting. 

Old Bailey           
UK LONDON old bailey statue of justiceThe Old Bailey [Cnr Newgate and Old Bailey Streets, +44 20 72483277, www.cityoflondon.gov.uk], England's Criminal Court, deals with cases from the Greater London area and occasionally from the rest of the country too. The site originally held Newgate gatehouse, one of London's city gates. It began to be used as a prison in the 12th century and a court seems to have been established beside it in the late 16th century. The statue of Justice atop the building is not blindfolded, unlike many of her exacting sisters outside other courts. Apparantly her young, maidenly body guaranteed her disinterest. You can sit in on trials: go along and check what cases are being heard that day but be prepared for strict security.

Dr Johnson’s House   

See the long-time home of the compiler of the English language's first dictionary, Samuel Johnson. Dr Johnson's House [17 Gough Square, +44 20 73533745, www.drjohnsonshouse.org, Adults £4.50] is one of the few surviving houses from the early 1700s in London. The house has been restored to reflect the way it might have looked when Johnson lived and worked here. On the first Wednesday of month at 3pm, there is a guided walk throughout the area which takes in sites related to the author's life.

St Paul’s Cathedral       
UK LONDON St Paul's Cathedral - Dome & Millenium Bridge [St Paul's Churchyard, +44 20 72468357, www.stpauls.co.uk, £14.50] is a stunning building. The fifth cathedral to stand on the site since 604, it was built between 1675 and 1710 by Sir Christopher Wren, the previous cathedral having been destroyed in the Great Fire of London that devasted about 80 percent of the city. It is a church for the entire nation and as such it has played host to royal occasions such as such as Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II's jubilees, and the wedding of HRH Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. It has also been the site of numerous state funerals for figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, Admiral Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington.

The architect Sir Christopher Wren was a gifted 'Renaissance man' and was also an astronomer, mathematician, and scientist. He worked on Greenwich Observatory, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace in addition to the cathedral and a variety of other projects in Oxford and London. He is buried in the crypt of St Paul's and there is an inscription reading 'Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice' or 'Reader, if you seek his memorial, look around you'. The crypt also contains Admiral Nelson's tomb and the Duke of Wellington's.

UK LONDON St Paul's Cathedral Flickr judepics The cathedral is a cross shape. As the visitor enters, he is met with a view down along the central Nave, culminating in the grand dome above. The Quire, where one can find the Bishop's chair or cathedra, is at the head of the cross. It is ornately decorated with dark wood and rich gold accents. Along the central Nave, the Quire, and the North and South Transepts (or the arms of the cross) are various chapels where services are held occasionally. There are also monuments, statues, paintings, and effigies throughout, for instance the funeral effigy of John Donne, which escaped the Great Fire of 1666. You can still see scorch marks on the base.

For no extra charge you can go on a guided tour or take advantage of the touchscreen multimedia guides. Check the website for more details.






 
Barbican           
UK LONDON BarbicanThe Barbican area is thought to have originally been a sort of gatehouse, built by the Romans to protect te city of Londinium. Throughout the centuries after the Romans left, the area came to be known as somewhat dodgy – home to thieves, con artists, writers and actors. The Barbican Centre [Silk Street, Box office +44 20 76388891, www.barbican.org.uk] is an arts and housing complex that was built on the site of WWII's grim destruction. The reconstruction of the 70s was grimmer still, a forest of grey monoliths, tall and short, with names like Shakespeare Tower and Cromwell Tower, coming to a head in the Brutalist zibburat that was voted 'London's Ugliest Building' in a 2003 poll. Still, the Barbican is an unrivalled centre for dance and it is home to the London Symphony Orchestra. The Barbican Art Gallery is also a fantastic venue for new artistic innovation from Britain and beyond.

UK LONDON GuildhallGuildhall   
       
The Guildhall [Gresham St, +44 20 www.cityoflondon.gov.uk, free entry] serves as the administrative centre for the City of London, which is the small district around Fleet Street, not to be confused with the Greater London area. Day to day administrative activities are actually carried out in a separate, neighbouring building but ceremonial occasions are still held in the ancient Guildhall. The structure largely dates back to 1411 and it is one of the few buildings to have survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'gild' meaning 'payment'. Thus, it may have started out as the place where Londoners went to pay their taxes. However, under Roman rule, there was an amphitheatre here and in fact part of the remains of this building are on display in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
 
Museum of London       
The Museum of London [150 London Wall, +44 20 70019844, www.museumoflondon.org.uk, free entry] should not be missed. It is a fascinating and well planned museum which takes in London's history, from prehistory to the Tudors and Stuarts. These permanent displays are highly informative with an intersting selection of objects. The museum also focuses upon social history and so you can pore over a huge variety of photographs, everyday items, and clothing, all of which contribute to the story of the city and its people. Check out the outrageously pointy medieval shoes, the Roman bikini, or Ann Fanshaw's very 'hippy' dress. There are regular temporary exhibitions.
UK LONDON Bank of England

Bank of England Museum   
The Bank of England Museum [Threadneedle Street, +44 20 76015545, www.bankofengland.co.uk, free entry] covers the history of the institution from when it was established in 1694 to the present day. There are documents, paintings, prints, books, and, of course, money! The museum also explains the role of the bank today as England's central financial instituion. 

 

 

 

 

 


Tower of London
UK LONDON tower of londonThe Tower of London [+44 20 3166 6000, www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon, Adults £19.80 incl. voluntary donation] is an iconic landmark, symbolising all that is traditional about Britain. William the Conqueror ordered for work to begin on the imposing White Tower, a fortress that would subdue the Londoners, in the 1070s. Over the next few centuries, the Tower was transformed: it was further strengthened and the residential accommodation for the royal family was improved. It was over the Tudor period that the Tower acquired its infamous reputation as a prison for those who had earned (rightly or wrongly) the monarch's ire. This practice declined after the civil war, when Cromwell, having taken possession of the Tower, ordered the destruction of the Crown Jewels and the establishment of a permanent garrison there. In the 17th century the Tower began to be used primarily as a military storehouse and location for various state offices. Over the 19th century, the Tower became the historical monument that we can see today: offices gradually left for other city locations, buildings were 'restored' to their medieval appearance, and the increasing numbers of visitors were catered for more and more. 

Today, you can take a tour with a Yeoman Warder or a Beefeater. Entertaining and informative, the Beefeaters are the perfect guides to the Tower. Tours leave every 30 minutes from near the main entrance and last for one hour. 

You can spend hours at the Tower but don't miss the Royal Armoury with its Japanese Presentation Armour of 1610 or Henry VIII's enormous field and tournament armour from 1540, the Jewel House with the oldest collection of imperial regalia in the world that is still in use, and the ravens – all six of them and the spare one. They are magnificent birds but they can get irritable and bite if anyone but the Ravenmaster attempts to approach. There is an old tradition that says that should the ravens ever leave the tower, the kingdom will fall.

The Monument          
The Monument [Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, +44 20 76262717, www.themonument.info, Adults £3, the Monuent and the Tower Bridge exhibition £9] was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London, which devastated the city in 1666. The monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the major architects of a new London after the fire.


East End           
In the past, the mere name 'The East End' conjured up images of poverty and overcrowding. Much has changed in recent years with urban redevelopment projects that have cleared slums and built better housing but the area still remains underpriviledged. In 2012, the Olympics will be staged at Olympic Park near the River Lea. 

Geffrye Museum  
Geffyre Museum [132 Kingsland Road, +44 20 77399893, www.geffyre-museum.org.uk, entry to permanent collections is free] recreates eleven rooms in styles from 1630 to 1998. The drawing room from 1890 is richly decorated in the style of the then prevalent Aesthetic Movement while the parlour from 1695 features little ornamentation and solid furniture of dark wood. Each room is a fascinating glimpse into the social history of the middle class over the past 400 years.

 



Docklands           
UK LONDON Cabot Square at Canary Wharf The London Docklands includes parts of Southwark, Greenwich, Twer Hamlets, and Newham, the areas that formerly acted as London's port docks. The redevelopment of the area has created the new financial and residential centre of Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. The area is served by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Museum of London Docklands       
London was once the world's biggest port and the Museum of London Docklands [No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, +44 20 70019844, www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands, free entry] tells the story of this dominance, beginning with the establishment of a port by the Romans and ending with the closure of the docks in the 1970s and the redevelopment of the area that followed.