Standing at an impressive 61 metres tall, the Monument is an enormous structure in memory of the Great Fire of London, which incinerated a large proportion of the Stuart era city in 1666. Today, the Monument is a brilliant place to visit to learn more about the events of the fire, as well as get some stunning views of the City of London.
On a September evening in 1666, a fire started in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane. The fire spread rapidly through the ramshackle and tightly squeezed together wooden buildings of London. The fire raged through London for four days, destroying 13,200 houses and many churches and other important buildings. Thankfully, very few people died in the fire, but the property damage was terrible. By the end of the fire, an estimated 130,000 Londoners were homeless.
It was the task of architects like Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild the capital. Wren and his team designed a new city, made mostly of brick and stone, unlike the timber structures that were destroyed in the fire. One of his most successful buildings was St. Paul’s Cathedral, which still stands today as a symbol of London known around the world.
It was also decided to build a monument to symbolise London’s ability to rise from the ashes and start fresh. The Monument was erected a few feet away from the site where the fire had started, in Pudding Lane. It was built between 1671 and 1677. For many years, the viewing platform at the top of the Monument was the tallest view in London.
Today, visitors can climb the 311 steps to the top of the Monument, from inside the stone column. As proof of your athletic ability, every visitor who climbs to the top gets a certificate to show that they did it. While the climb up might be a bit of a challenge, it’s more than worth it for the incredible sights you’ll discover at the top.
From the top of the Monument, you’ll find fantastic views of Central London. Many of London’s top sights can be seen from the Monument, including the Tower of London, London Bridge, and the Southbank Centre. The tower’s 360-degree views allow you to see much of Central London, stretching for miles on a clear day.
Once you’ve climbed to the top of the Monument and back down, there’s plenty more to discover in the area. The City of London is the original and oldest part of Greater London, having been founded by the Romans almost 2000 years ago. It’s full of incredible places to visit and explore.
The Monument’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren, played a large role in rebuilding the city after the Great Fire, and you can see his masterpiece up close with a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral with its world-famous dome. Other fantastic places to visit in the area include the Bank of England, where you can try to pick up a solid gold slab, or Tower Bridge, with its glass walkway over the River Thames.
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