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Top 10 Things to Do in the City of London

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The City of London is actually only one square mile. Located between Temple and the Tower of London, the City of London is the oldest part of the capital and, although not as busy as Westminster, has plenty of places to see and things to do!

1 – Go Inside the Royal Courts of Justice

Free to enter during the week, guests can see the magnificent entrance hall of the Royal Courts of Justice. It’s also possible for visitors to sit in the public galleries in the back of the courtrooms if there is a trial being heard. Best of all, it’s a FREE experience. Strand, WC2A 2LL – Tube Station: Temple (map).

2 – Visit a Medical Museum

The Hunterian Museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields displays medical curiosities and specimens dating from the time of founder, John Hunter, in the 19th century. Some items on display here date from even earlier and many can only be found here – nowhere else in the world. To top it off, the museum is FREE! 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3PE – Tube Station: Holborn (map). https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian

3 – See Temple Church

A true medieval gem, Temple Church dates from the late 12th century. Previously the location where the Knights Templar initiation ceremonies were held, the church regained modern fame when it was used as a location in the Dan Brown book/film The da Vinci Code. It is free to enter and see what is left of the original building, as well as modern additions such as the beautiful modern organ, although a donated is requested. Temple, EC4Y 7BB – Tube Station: Temple (map). http://www.templechurch.com/

4 – Visit the Remains of a Medieval Monastery

Whitefriars Monastery was a sprawling, wealthy Carmelite Monastery located here in London dating back to 1253. The Monastery was destroyed in the Reformation, on the orders of King Henry VIII, in 1540. Originally thought lost forever, a piece of the crypt was uncovered during rebuilding in the area and is now behind glass, preserved for the public to see. Tucked at the bottom of a set of stairs at the end of an alleyway, it’s a true hidden gem! [Bottom of Magpie Alley – EC4Y 8JJ – Tube Station: Blackfriars]

5 – Walk Across Tower Bridge

Likely the most iconic bridge in the world, Tower Bridge spans the River Thames near the Tower of London. Visitors can walk across either side of the Bridge but the western side provides stunning and unbeatable views of the City of London. Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP – Tube Station: Tower Hill (map). http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/

6 – See the Crown Jewels

Located inside the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels are available to be viewed by all who have bought a ticket to enter the Tower. With pieces dating back as far as the 12th century and still used by the royal family today, the collection of Crown Jewels on display here is unrivaled and absolute treat to behold. Tower of London, EC3N 4AB – Tube Station: Tower Hill (maphttp://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/stories/crownjewels

7 – Attend a Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral

On weekday evenings and Sundays throughout the day, St. Paul’s Cathedral is open for worship. This means visitors are not allowed to ‘sight see’ and view the tombs and memorials, but ARE invited to sit in the nave and listen to a service – and often times listen to the St. Paul’s Boys Choir perform. To get a glimpse at the spot where Diana Spencer and Charles, the Prince of Wales were married and to enjoy a service here is absolutely FREE. St. Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD – Tube Station: St. Paul’s (map). https://www.stpauls.co.uk/

8 – Climb the Monument

Built to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Monument is one of London’s oldest operating tourist attractions. In fact, visitors first flocked to the Monument as far back as 1671! Guests can buy a ticket for a reasonable £4.00 and climb over 300 steps to get to the viewing platform at the top. Fish Street Hill, EC3R 8AH – Tube Station: Monument (map). http://www.themonument.info/

9 – See What’s Left of the London Wall

When the Romans conquered London in the 40th century, they erected a wall around the centre of their new city of Londinium. The London Wall – as it is now known – stood from around the year 190 until the 18th century! Today, the majority of the wall is gone but there are two pieces of still available to see: one near the Tower of London and one near the Museum of London. [Tower of London Underground Station or 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN – Tube Station: Tower Hill or Barbican (map).  Read our post on visiting Roman London sights.

10 – Have a Drink at the Most Famous Pub in London

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, sitting on an alleyway just off of Fleet Street, is one of the oldest pubs in London. Originally built in the 1530’s, the current building was erected in 1667 and has hosted numerous famous names such as: Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Voltaire and Teddy Roosevelt. Inside, the pub is atmospheric, with wooden floors and panelling, slightly wonky doorways, and sparse decoration referring to the age and notability of the pub itself, keeping it not only atmospheric, but authentic as well! - 145 Fleet Street, Tube Station: Blackfriars (map)

++And, of course, take our famous pay-what-you-like walking tour of the City of London!++

 

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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: December 11th, 2014
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