MAY 10,2013 - MAY 10,2013 (1 DAYS)
The City of London: Guildhall, Barbican, Museum of London, Postman's Park, St Bartholomew the Great Church, Christchurch Greyfriars Garden.
Orientation: Suitable for a cold, rainy, gloomy day. you can cut part of the route by finalizing in St. Paul tube station.
Source: Most of the itinerary is based on the Jubilee Walkway, Section 3, the City Loop. http://www.walklondon.org.uk/uploads/File/leaflets/jw3directions_14052012113157.pdf
Distance: 5 km. Duration: 1 day. The Guildhall and the Museum of London may consume many rewarding hours. The Museum of London can, easily, fill a full rainy afternoon.
Duration: Half a day - including visits in the Barbican and the Museum of London.
Start: The Bank tube station.
End : The Barbican or St. Paul tube station.
Note: The Guildhall is covered also in another itinerary ("A Rainy Day in Central London" including Whitechapel and the Guildhall).
From the Bank tube station
head west (after crossing the cross-way) onto Mansion House St and continue onto Poultry road. Starting at Number 1, Poultry, the Regus House - a large dark -pink and white stone building on the corner of Poultry and Queen Victoria Street, look for the interpretation panel in front of it facing towards the Bank and Royal Exchange, as well as gold pavement disc where the Queen unveiled the panel in celebration of her Golden Jubilee and a complete refurbishment of the Jubilee Walkway in 2002.
Turn left (westwards) along Poultry for 170m, and just before it becomes Cheapside (when old Jewry rd. is on your right) turn right along King Street. At the end, cross Gresham Street
and walk through the two sets of bollards into Guildhall Yard. Guildhall is opposite and Guildhall Art Gallery to the right:
The Guildhall, built between 1411 and 1440, was designed to reflect the importance of London’s ruling elite. The Guildhall was built from 1411 to 1429 by master mason John Croxton and was the third such building at this site. It is the only secular stone building that survived the Great Fire of 1666, although much of the interior was destroyed. The current front facade dates back to 1788 when it was reconstructed in a mixture of neo-Gothic and oriental styles. The medieval porch however is still authentic even though some additions were made in 1671. The roof - which had been rebuilt after the fire of 1666 - was destroyed again in December 1940 during the blitz,The porch and replaced with the current roof in 1954. In the twenty-first century the Guildhall splendor is still awe-inspiring, and within the walls of this national treasure lie FIVE spectacular rooms providing unique surroundings: (1)The Great Hall:
(2) The Guildhall Art Gallery. In the Guildhall's art gallery, a collection of paintings collected by the Corporation of London is displayed. Guildhall Art Gallery is the home of the City of London's art collection. From its origins in the 17th century it has grown into one of the largest local authority collections, specialising in works of London interest and is particularly strong in Victorian material. Note: no photos allowed.
(3) The Guildhall Crypts: Below the Guildhall are two crypts. The oldest crypt, situated to the west, was restored in the 1970s and was probably built in the thirteenth or early fourteenth century. The other, to the east, the more impressive crypt was built by John Croxton although its foundations go back to the eleventh century:
(4) The Livery Hall:
(5) The Print room and the Library: An impressive hall is the Old Library, which used to house the Guildhall's library and museum. The library moved to a more modern building nearby and the museum is now part of the Museum of London:
Cromwell Sculpture in the Guildhall Yard:
William Shakespeare Sculpture in the Guildhall Yard:
Archeological excavations under the Guildhall Yard:
St. Mary-le-Bow Church opposite the Guildhall:
In the Guildhall courtyard, having found one of the gold pavement discs that marked the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, turn right down an alley marked Guildhall Buildings, lined with bollards painted with the City of London crest. Pass down the side of the art gallery, and then left out onto Basinghall Street. Cross over to find on your right, after about 40m, a narrow alley called Mason’s Avenue, with pubs and shops inside. At the other end of Mason’s Avenue, turn left along Coleman Street. Note at 1 Coleman Street the building known as Austral House or Legal and General headquarters or Moorgate building:
Walk ahead to London Wall Road. Cross London Wall, into Moorgate, in front of the Austral/Moorgate glass building and keep going ahead, over a pedestrian area (Moor Fields) with grass and trees in the middle, with the glass building on your left (Carphone warehouse, Fox, Globe stores also on your left). Just before Moorgate Station, turn left, rising up the escalator to Moorfields Highwalk above the traffic and towards the Barbican Arts Centre. Follow the yellow painted line on the ground, the pointing crown of the pavement discs, and signs for the Barbican Centre. It may be a difficult task to find the way to the huge Barbican. So, we suggest the following instructions: Before the Moorgate tube station, turn left toward Moorfields, turn right and continue straight onto Moorfields, turn left onto New Union St., turn right onto Moor Ln, turn left onto Silk St and you face the Barbican Centre. Opening Hours: Mon–Sat: 9.00 –11.00, Sun: 10.00 - 23.00, Bank Holidays: 12.00 – 23.00. Art Gallery & Gallery Shop: Sat–Wed: 10.00 – 18.00, Thu–Fri: 10.00 – 21.00. The Barbican was built on the bomb - devastated site of a medieval community and later overcrowded residential area. It takes its name from the medieval fortifications that were once here. It includes the largest performing arts centre in Europe, right in the heart of the Barbican Estate. World-known concerts, exhibitions, theatre shows, recitals and other cultural events take place here.
The Barbican Housing Estate has a complex and controversial multi - level layout with numerous entrances. It was officially opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014 flats with many outdoor areas, gardens, water features and benches. This was a huge urban regeneration project in the 1960s to rebuild a large site heavily bomb damaged in the war.
Guildhall Music School in the Barbican Estate:
Cross over Moor Lane on the Highwalk bridge, and immediately turn right in front of Willoughby House. After 100m, go left along Speed Highwalk and then after a further 100m stay L to enter the building, still following the yellow painted line (Ignore the wide steps going up on the right and keep straight ahead on the same level). After a further 60m, turn left to go over Gilbert Bridge, effectively circling the central atrium, with soon a view of the lakeside gardens below. Half way across there are signs for the Barbican cafés on the right, otherwise stay ahead on Gilbert Bridge.
The Barbican from Gilbert Bridge that connects the Barbican and the Museum of London:
Zig - zag left - right diagonal slightly at the end of Gilbert Bridge, turning into Postern Highwalk, following signs now for the Museum of London. The church of St Giles Cripplegate is below on the right. St Giles' Cripplegate is one of the few remaining medieval churches in the City of London and, after surviving devastating bombing during the Blitz, it sits at the heart of the modern Barbican development. It is thought that there has been a church on this spot for one thousand years. Sections of the old wall can still be seen near the church. The foundations are generally Roman but higher up, the structure dates from various times as it was regularly strengthened and rebuilt. St. Giles thought to have been a hermit, who lived in southern France in the 7th century AD:
St. Giles interior:
George Milton sculpture in St. Giles Church:
Our next destination is the Museum of London. The museum can be quite hard to find. so try to follow the signposts or follow these instructions: keep going ahead at the end of the Postern, onto Alban Highwalk, to eventually reach a small shopping plaza. Turn first right here onto Bastion Highwalk, passing more shops and cafés, to emerge onto a bridge. Take note of the city walls which date back to Roman times. Continue to follow Bastion Highwalk straight ahead to the Museum of London. FREE ENTRY. Mon-Sun: 10.00 – 18.00, Closed 24-26 Dec, galleries begin to close at 17.40. The Museum of London is the world's largest urban history museum with over a million objects. It tells the story of London from pre - history to the present; one of the highlights is the Lord Mayor’s Coach built in 1757. Many visitors say that this is the best urban museum in the world. The Museum of London can definitely be one of your first stops in the city to get the big picture of this capital before you hit the individual landmarks later on. A lot about London throughout history, starting from the Stone Age, and also speculating about the future, and has many segments about pop culture over time. Well laid out: a photographic tour through time, a map showing earlier settlements, super video interpretations especially about the Black Death, London in fire - 1066, browsing streets and shops in the Victorian era that take you back in time, the lord mayors coach built in 1757, a small street of around 100 years ago, horse drawn carriages, two life-sized British cabs, London under the Blitz, memorabilia from the sixties and seventies, 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony (cinema screen showing the opening of the 2012 games), a piece of the original London wall in the museum garden. The Museum of London is much easier to navigate than the British Museum.
Note: the museum's cafés are expensive. There is lunch room for everyone in a building outside that provides tables and benches indoors. Security is tight and no bags of any size, or any coats are allowed inside. £1 lockers (the charge is NOT refundable). Displays are lit from ceiling spots which when you stand in front of, they cast a shadow over the written descriptions and displayed artifacts.
Roman sculptures found in London:
Relief from Blackfriars Bridge, 4t century AD:
Portrait of Henry VIII (1491-1547) by Holbein the Younger (1536):
Model of Rose Theatre 1587, Elizabethan Theatre built by Philip Henslo, Bankside:
Southwark Bridge, paint from 1630:
Bronze mask of Oliver Cromwell and his Bible from 1672:
Ancient Harpsichord, Cembalo:
Lift in Selfridge's from 1928:
Portrait of Michael Caine:
Photo of Michael Caine:
The Mayor of London Coach:
Museum of London Garden and London Wall:
Exiting the museum, take the pedestrian overpass. Take the stairs. At the Rotunda, take the 1st exit onto St Martin's Le-Grand (the SOUTHERNMOST exit !!!). At St Martin's Le-Grand road, cross Little Britain on your right and you'll see the London City Presbyterian Church and the Postman's Park on your right. Opening hours: 7 days a week throughout the year 8.00 – 19.00 or dusk. One of the largest parks in the City of London. This scenic park acquired its name due to its popularity as a lunchtime garden with workers from the nearby old General Post Office. But what Postman's Park is really famous for are the ceramic tablets or plaques commemorating men, women and children who gave their lives saving others (see links at end of document). It was the idea of the Victorian painter, George Frederic Watts. Into the park there is a memorial to ordinary people who died while saving the lives of others, in the form of a loggia and long wall housing ceramic tablets.
(image taken by Jacqueline Banerjee. Origin: http://www.victorianweb.org/art/parks/9.html)
In case it is too late or you are quite tired - continue walking along St Martin's Le-Grand until it meets the Cheapside. You'll face, opposite the St. Paul tube station. Otherwise, exit the Postman's Park from the western exit. Head north on King Edward St toward Little Britain. Continue onto Little Britain. Turn left to stay on Little Britain. Turn right onto W Smithfield and on your right is the St Bartholomew the Great Church. Opening Hoursof the Main Church Building: Monday - Friday: 08.30 – 17.00, Saturday: 10:30 – 16.00, Sunday: 08.30 – 20.00.Admission Fees: Adults: 4.00 GBP, Concessions: 3.50 GBP. It was established in 1123. The church possesses the most significant Norman interior in London. It is adjacent to St Bartholomew's Hospital. The famous oriel window was installed inside the church of St Bartholomew the Great in the 16th century by William Bolton, so that he could spy on the monks. St BartholomewÂ’s "played" key role in many films: Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Amazing Grace (2006), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) (the 4th wedding), Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991), The End of the Affair (1991). Sit at the church garden and soak its special atmosphere and old figures around:
In case you want to end your day here - head northeast on Cloth Fair. Turn left toward Long Ln. Turn right onto Long Ln. Slight left to stay on Long Ln. Turn left onto Aldersgate St., turn left and take the pedestrian overpass to face the Barbican tube station. Else, make a short detour to Christchurch Greyfriars Garden. I must admit that the best view of this church is from south-east in the late morning hours. Christ Church Greyfriars (also known as Christ Church Newgate Street) is a church in actually opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Established in the thirteenth century. Following its destruction in the Great Fire of London of 1666, it was rebuilt to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren. The church was largely destroyed by bombing during the WW2. The ruins are now a public, permanently open garden. The wooden towers within the planting, which replicate the original church towers, now house a variety of discreet bird boxes to encourage the bird population. These towers also host a variety of climbing plants:
To end this trip - continue south-east along Newgate Street (exiting the garden, to the left). After 2-3 minutes walk - you'll see the St. Paul tube station.