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Guildhall, City of London

As the home of the City of London Corporation, Guildhall has been the centre of City government since the Middle Ages.

The word 'guildhall' is said to derive from the Anglo-Saxon 'gild' meaning payment, so it was probably a place where citizens would pay their taxes. The present Guildhall was built in 1411 and, having survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, it is the only secular stone structure dating from before 1666 still standing in the City.

It is likely that at least one earlier guildhall existed on or near the current site. References to a London guildhall are made in a document dating back to 1128 and the current hall's west crypt is thought to be part of a late-13th century building.

Remains of a long-lost Roman amphitheatre discovered in 1987 underneath what is now Guildhall Yard indicate that the site of Guildhall was significant as far back as Roman times.

Inside Guildhall

The Great Hall is the third largest civic hall in England, where royalty and state visitors have been entertained down the centuries. It has been the setting for famous state trials, including that of Lady Jane Grey in 1553. The imposing medieval hall has stained glass windows and several monuments to national heroes including Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill.

The Old Library building housed the Guildhall library and the Guildhall Museum from 1873 until 1974, when the collections moved to the newly constructed west wing and the Museum of London. Both the Old Library and the adjacent Print Room are now used as reception rooms. Beneath Guildhall lie the largest medieval crypts in London.

Today Guildhall still plays an important role in the City. It provides a venue for state and civic banquets, meetings of the City of London's elected assembly, the Court of Common Council, and for the Honorary Freedom of the City ceremony.

Visit Guildhall

When it is not being used for events Guildhall's Great Hall is open free of charge to the public.

Monday - Saturday 10am - 4.30pm (all year)*

Sundays - 10am - 4.30pm (1st Weekend in May to the Last Weekend in September)*

*Subject to events taking place at Guildhall. Please check before you travel.

Call 020 7606 3030.

Also, once a month on Court of Common Council days, tours of the Guildhall are led by qualified City of London Guides from 10.45am to 12pm.

Hire Guildhall

To book the Great Hall, or other rooms, contact the Remembrancers Department

City of London
PO Box 270 Guildhall
London EC2P 2EJ
020 7332 1460/ 020 7332 1313

How to get to Guildhall

See more details on How to find us pages.

29 March 2012
Last Modified:
26 March 2015