Learn more about one of the most important documents of all time as you travel back to the thirteenth century with London Walks.
The Magna Carta is a charter first created in 1215, when it was written and signed by King John of England, his barons and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Translating as the 'Great Charter', its purpose was to formally establish that everyone in the country, including the king, was subject to the law. To this day, it remains a cornerstone of the British constitution.
In 1215, the document was crafted in order to make peace between King John and a group of rebel barons. It contained 63 clauses when it was first granted; however, only three of these remain part of modern English law today.
These include defending the liberties and rights of the church, protecting the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and most famously, granting free men the right to justice and a fair trial.
For this reason, the Magna Carta is considered by some as the foundation of democracy in England. Some of the contract's key clauses have been echoed in other constitutional documents across the world. For example, the United States Bill of Rights, written in 1791, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950.
The tour starts just outside the exit of Temple Tube Station and is expertly guided by a criminal defence lawyer, who is more than happy to answer questions on liberty, the law and human rights. You can listen to the magnificent story of how the Magna Carta came to be, as well as learn about what life would have been like if you lived in London in the early 1200s. The guide will also put into context how this renowned text is continuously relevant in modern-day lawmaking.
The grand Royal Courts of Justice can also be explored. This impressive structure was built in the 1870s and opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. Located on the Strand, within the City of Westminster, the court is one of the largest in Europe, measuring 75 metres high and stretching 140 metres from east to west, and the same from north to south.
Walkers will end their two-hour trip close to Chancery Lane Tube, but there's also the option of completing this medieval experience with a tour of a nearby ancient building dating back to the Magna Carta period. Those visiting with London Walks receive a 40% discount and only have to pay £3 to enter.
The next Magna Carta tour is on Thursday 21 December. After Christmas, you can enjoy this unique tour on the following Thursdays: January 18, February 15, March 8 and April 26 2018. Each walk costs £10 for adults and there is no need to book in advance. For more information, please visit the London Walks website.
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