On a quiet Sunday in 1666, a fire broke out in the heart of London. The flames tore through the city, laying waste to houses, churches, and even St Paul’s Cathedral. The inferno would rage on for a full four days before it was brought under control and stopped, but by then it was too late; huge parts of the city had been reduced to smouldering shells of black ash and soot.
Today, we refer to this terrible blaze as the Great Fire of London, one of the most significant events in the history of this fair city. To commemorate this disaster, which is said to have wiped out some 70,000 homes, a tremendous tower was erected to celebrate the rebuilding of London. The Monument has established itself as one of the biggest attractions in the city in the modern era of London, with thousands flocking to it every year.
If you would like to visit this significant landmark, read on to discover all you need to know about it.
Look out over London
The Monument provides some of the best views of the city as it has a 360-degree viewing gallery at a height of 160 feet. From here, it is quite easy to see some of London’s best attractions, including the Shard and Tower Bridge.
Opening times and costs
From April to September, the tower is open from 9.30am until 6pm with the last admission being at 5.30pm – these are the summer opening hours.
The cost of admission is as follows:
- adults – £4
- adult concession – £2.70
- children (under 16s) £2
- Joint tickets with the Tower Bridge are available at £10.50 for adults (£7.20 concession) and £4.70 for children (under 16s) – all children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Monument to the Great Fire of London has stood solemnly at the junction between Monument Street and Fish Street Hill since it was constructed in 1671. It was completed in 1677 after six years of construction. Although the fire, which began in a baker’s shop, completely annihilated vast swathes of London, very few people actually lost their lives during the blaze. It is thought that the official death count was six people, which is remarkable when you consider the damage caused by the fire.
It is actually located around 61 metres away from where the original fire started. Sir Christopher Wren, the man who designed St Paul’s Cathedral, designed the Monument alongside his friend Dr Robert Hooke.
The Monument to the Great Fire of London is very easy to reach by London Underground, with it being in a central location. The quickest way to reach this fine installation is to head straight to Monument Underground station which is served by both the District line (dark green) and the Circle line (yellow). Once you arrive, walk south down Fish Street Hill and you will see the Monument on your left-hand side after a matter of minutes. If you find yourself at Lower Thames Street, you have gone too far and will need to turn around and retrace your steps.
You can also take a number of buses and any of the following will take you to the Monument on the London Bridge route: 17, 521, 21, 43, 133, 141, 48, 149. The area around the Monument is now filled with bars, cafes and restaurants should you find yourself in need of refreshment during your day of sightseeing in London.
Being right in the heart of the city, the Monument is close to many cheap hotels in London. This makes it very convenient to visit from your boutique budget accommodation.
The Monument to the Great Fire of London is in a very convenient part of the city in terms of other attractions and sights. Within walking distance, you have the Tower of London, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, The Tate Modern, Borough Market and The Shard. You can easily combine a few of these great things on one itinerary after you have had your fix of history from the Monument.
The Monument is best visited on a clear day due to its spectacular views of the city. It is, therefore, perfect to start off a sightseeing itinerary, or end one – this is better in summer when the evening stays light until around 8pm. Be aware, on fine days, the lines for the attraction can be quite long as it affords you with a number of sensational picture moments.