Delve deep into the very heart of the capital and discover the oldest part of the city with the expert guides from London Walks.
The Famous Square Mile tour allows you to travel back in time two millennia and learn about the rich and diverse history of London.
The area now known as the City of London actually dates back to the first century AD. It was the central business district during Roman times and remained so until the Middle Ages. Nowadays, it makes up just a minor part of central London, but it still holds a lot of history that is often overlooked.
It's believed that the origins of London can be found within the Square Mile. Merchants are thought to have established a trading port on the Thames around 47AD. This coincided with the Roman occupation of Great Britain.
As its name suggests, the Square Mile measures roughly around 1.12 square miles, explains Mary Tucker, co-owner of London Walks.
Another fun fact is that the City of London is not classed as a London borough. It is one of London's two cities “ the other is the City of Westminster."
The tour begins at Monument Tube Station and visits places such as the ruins of the Roman Temple of Mithras, the Bank of England, the Lord Mayor's Mansion House and the ancient Guildhall, ending up near St. Paul's Station.
The Temple of Mithras, also known as London Mithraeum, was built in the mid-third century yet remained undiscovered until 1954. Mithras was a Roman deity and the temple was dedicated to him.
Meanwhile, the Lord Mayor's Mansion was constructed in the mid-1700s. It's a Georgian palace above Bank Station. It is still the Lord Mayor's home and office today. The title was first given by King William II in 1189, but from 1215 the City held an election for the honour. It's important to note that the Lord Mayor, who presides over the Square Mile, is different from the Mayor of London, who oversees the whole of London.
The ancient Guildhall is the City's only surviving secular medieval building. It also stands atop one of the largest crypts in the area. The grand structure has been used as a town hall for centuries and continues to host many important events throughout the year.
The tour also touches on the Great Fire of 1666. This almost destroyed the whole of the City, adds Mary.
The experts will point out the 202-foot Monument that serves as a permanent reminder of how London rose from the ashes. It's exactly 202 feet from where the fire first started on Pudding Lane.
The tour ends near the iconic St. Paul's Cathedral. Steeped in history, this Anglican church has its roots in the first century too. However, what you see today was designed in the seventeenth-century as part of the rebuilding programme following the Great Fire.
The Famous Square Mile Walk takes place every Sunday at 10:30am and every Thursday at 11am from the Fish Street Hill exit of Monument Tube Station. Walks last two hours and cost £10 for adults and £8 for concessions.
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