We have added an optional Samuel Pepys add-on for this walk. For this we start at Tower Hill and show you where he lived, worked, got caught being a very naughty boy and is buried (the last two things are not connected by the way!) But if you’re not particularly interested in Pepys we start the walk at a traditional starting point, the Monument.
You can easily pass through the City of London and think it’s just a sea of modern office blocks. But hidden behind and between these buildings is a fascinating web of ancient alleys which have much history to tell. We start with the Great Fire of 1666. We tell you about 17th century fire-fighting and a useless Lord Mayor before following the fire’s route through alleys, courts & passages, and explain why these pre-fire medieval routes are still there today. We also see Wren’s replacements of what had been gutted churches and a melted cathedral. But there’s a lot more to the old City than the Great Fire. We see a beautiful market hall that dates from Dick Whittington’s time as Lord Mayor. We also show, and tell you the story of, the ancient City walls, Lloyd’s of London, the Guilds, Stock Exchange, Bank of England, Mansion House and a grasshopper. There are also two of favorite memorials, both relatively ignored by tourists. One is to two little known men who saved some of the greatest writing in history for the world. The other is a touching memorial to ordinary people who died being heroes. And it’s in a cute little park that is also part of another bit of fascinating Victorian history. We also venture just outside the old city walls into Smithfield to show you an old hospital which was within the City as far as Henry V111 was concerned when it suited him. And we tell you of of the nasty stuff that went on here – executions, betrayals, body snatching etc.
Start at Monument underground station (or Tower Hill for Pepys)
Finish at St Paul’s underground station
Shorter Walk alternative – same start and finish points but omit Smithfield