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10 Centuries in 1 Day

Date updated: 2/05/2023

A playful and educational family-oriented walking or cycling tour through the City, including sites like the Roman Wall and the Tower of London. 

10 Centuries in 1 Day PDF (376KB)
Date submitted: 11/11/20

Stop A: Roman Wall at Tower Hill

Tower Hill, EC3N 4DR

See the best surviving section of the old City wall above ground, and look out for a modern statue of a Roman Emperor: one with the head of Trajan and the body of Augustus.

Stop B: Tower of London

St Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB

Home of the Crown Jewels and the site of cruel executions, the Tower of London originally served as a royal palace. After William The Conqueror’s coronation in 1066, he began to erect fortifications on the site, with the White Tower (the central keep) being the first construction of a series of concentric defences enclosing an inner and an outer ward. After several phases of expansion, mainly during the 12th and 13th centuries, the general layout remains despite later activity on the site. Today the complex of buildings covers 18 acres (7 hectares) and is tended by the Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters,” as they are popularly called, who still wear a Tudor uniform and live within the Tower.

Stop C: All Hallows by the Tower

Byward St, EC3R 5BJ
Nearest station: Tower Hill

This is one of the few City churches that was not burnt in the Great Fire since the wind was blowing from the east. The present building is largely from the 15th century, but much restored after heavy damage in World War II. The undercroft chapel contains a stone altar table brought by the Knights Templar from the Crusader Castle of Mount Athlit near Mount Carmel in Israel.There are also fragments of Saxon crosses. In the north-east corner of the main church, there is a Flemish altarpiece, possibly associated with the Tate family who were mercers and mayors in 15th century London. There are also medieval carved statues of the saints St James, St Roche and St Anthony. The church contains the best collection of medieval brasses to be found in the City including John Croke (skinner and alderman, d. 1481; also his fine tomb) and William Tonge (vintner and alderman, d. 1389).

Stop D: Eastcheap

Eastcheap, EC3M 1AE
Nearest station: Monument

Eastcheap was one of London’s chief meat markets. The district thrived with taverns in Shakespeare’s time, and was likely to have been the site of the Boar’s Head Tavern. This legendary tavern appears in Henry IV in a scene between two of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal. While a Boar’s Head pub stood here in the 16th century, this was not the case in the 15th century, when this historic play was set. If you look up, you’ll notice a boar’s head (dating from 1868) poking out from underneath one of the arches right in the middle of the building’s facade.

Stop E: St Magnus the Martyr Church

Lower Thames St, EC3R 6DN
Nearest station: Monument / Bank

This church, built where all people crossing the old London Bridge used to enter the City, has seen many important events in its 1000 year history. The original church, founded in the early 12th century, was one of the first buildings to be destroyed by the Great Fire as it stood just 300m (1000ft) from Pudding Lane. The rebuilding was taken over by Wren in 1671. Its archway was the only London river crossing until the construction of Westminster Bridge in 1750. Inside you can visit the 4 metre long model of the old London Bridge.

Stop F: The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Fish St Hill, EC3R 8AH
Nearest station: Monument / Bank

The Great Fire of London began in a baker’s house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2 September 1666 and was finally extinguished on Wednesday 5 September, after destroying most of the City. Although there was little loss of life, the fire brought all activity to a halt, having consumed or severely damaged thousands of houses, hundreds of streets, the City’s gates, public buildings, churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Stop G: St Stephen Walbrook

39 Walbrook, EC4N 8BN
Nearest station: Bank / Monument, Mansion House

Take a moment to step inside and explore one of Wren’s most famous churches, which features the first classical dome to be built in the UK. See the beautiful altar by sculptor Henry Moore, kneelers by the artist Patrick Heron and pews by Andrew Varah.“Nothing prepares you, as you climb the 13 steps up to St Stephen’s, for the majestic space within. Because it was never intended to stand alone, the exterior is roughly finished. But inside, the dome is Wren’s finest, based on his original design for St Paul’s.” - National Churches TrustBy the 18th century, the building was world-famous, with the Italian sculptor/architect Antonio Canova declaring, ‘We have nothing to touch it in Rome”.

Stop H: Cross Keys, Wood Street

Wood St, EC2P 2NQ
Nearest station: Barbican, Bank, Moorgate

The Cross Keys Inn once stood at 25 Wood Street. It was here that 10-year-old Charles Dickens arrived by coach in 1822 from Chatham in Kent, “packed in like game” in the damp straw of the coach’s upholstery.

Stop I: Barbican Centre

Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Nearest station: Barbican, Moorgate

The Barbican is a world-class arts, learning and conference centre set in the Grade II listed Barbican Estate – one of London’s best examples of post Second World War Brutalist architecture.

Stop J: Museum of London

150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Nearest station: Barbican, Moorgate

Delve deeper into London’s past, present and future of London. The museum is a fascinating place to visit for all ages. Note that general admission is free but booking is required in advance.

Other places of interest

London’s Roman Amphitheatre, located under Guildhall Art Gallery in Guildhall Yard, dates to the 2nd Century CE. In Roman times, it was a venue for wild animal fights, public executions and gladiatorial combats.

London Stone was first recorded around the year 1100, but is believed to be of Roman origin. It was once part of a much larger monolith that stood nearby. Today you can see the block of limestone at 111 Cannon Street.

Cycling information

Cycle parking is available at the many on-street cycle parking racks throughout the City. The City of London Corporation provides free cycle parking in its off-street public car parks. More cycle parking spaces are available in NCP car parks. Explore the interactive map to find cycle parking.

Learn more about cycling in the City