Even a London walking tour guide like myself can see the benefits of sitting in a tube train and making your way from A-B, or in this case A-B-A as you go full circle on the aptly named Circle Line.
If you were to just sit on the train and do the loop it would take you just over an hour to pass through the 28 stations, which in itself can be an enjoyable way to spend the time, people watching, reading or even having a little snooze, safe from whatever the weather has to offer outside, but I’m proposing a full day out visiting each station and seeing something of it’s locality. There are links to help you get more information, and I’ve purposely left out all the major tourist attractions, as you can decide for yourself if you want to include them in this tour. Here’s part two, which could take you some time if you really immerse yourself in the areas.
Temple: Ok, so you’ve got options here, three to be exact. I’d prefer it if you chose one of the first two as a man has to eat. At A London Miscellany Tours there are two ways to take the guided walking tour Not Avenues, But Alleyways. You can either chose the audio guide Not Avenues, But Alleyways which you can download onto your phone and GPS will do the rest for you. Or, you can choose to have me guide you around the area personally, by visiting my Eventbrite page for Not Avenues, But Alleyways . The area around Fleet Street is a warren of small alleys and courts filled with over three hundred years of history. Whichever option you take I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. The third option is to make your way through the nearby area of the Temple, home to some of London’s legal professions. From Temple underground station keeping the nearby gardens on your right walk towards the red phone box at the end of Temple Place. As you near it bear left into Milford Lane and climb the flight of steps in front of you. Walk along Essex Street until you reach the Edgar Wallace pub and turn right into Devereaux Court. Proceed along the court and in front of you will be a black wooden gate. You can enter the Temple here. Be sure to visit the Temple church. Exit by the Tudor Street gate and follow the road until it’s junction with New Bridge Street. You will see Blackfriars underground station across on your right.
Mansion House: As you exit the station you’re at the fringes of the City of London’s financial district, but before you visit that let’s take a wander around what used to be the City’s main commercial area. Exit the station cross the road and enter Bow Lane. This vibrant little street was in the 15th and 16th centuries the center of the weaving and shoemaking trades, but the route is much older, dating back to the Roman occupation as several wells have been discovered there and you will cross Watling Street. On your left the lane opens out into Bow Churchyard, follow this until it opens out in a small square next to St Mary Le Bow church. You exit the square onto Cheapside the main market area of London for over 600 years. If you wander around you’ll see reminders of the products sold at market in the names of the streets, Bread Street, Honey lane etc. Cheapside was also the site of the Great Conduit. If you walk down Cheapside keeping St Mary Le Bow on your right hand side you’ll see the plaque marking the spot. Cross the junction of King Street and Queen Street and take the first left into Ironmonger Lane, another reminder of past trades. The lane will eventually bring you onto Gresham Street. On your left is the church of St Lawrence Jewry. Walk towards it and on your right is a small lane called Guildhall Yard, not surprisingly this will bring you into the plaza opposite the Guildhall. In Roman times you would have been standing inside the Colosseum and you will see a black line in the paving that denotes the size of the arena. Exit the plaza by Guildhall Buildings turning right into Basinghall Street and then left into Gresham Street. Take the first street on your right, Old Jewry . At the end turn left into Poultry and proceed until you meet the large road junction. On your right is the Mansion House and directly in front of you is the Bank of England. Make your way up Threadneedle Street turn right into Gracechurch Street and spend time exploring the magnificent Leadenhall Market. This may be a good time for something to eat. Opposite the market is a large pub called the Cross Keys which used to be a bank and the interior is well worth a visit. Should you wish for something a little more up market, then I can recommend Simpsons Tavern London’s last remaining Chop House. It’s located at 38½ Cornhill. Whilst finding your way there take time to wander through the many small alleys and courts in the area. Simpsons gets very busy, so it would be best to book a table. Even if you don’t eat there go and take a look, you won’t be disappointed by it’s surroundings. Eventually find yourself back on Cornhill and keeping Simpsons on your left walk down the street until you get to the statue of James Henry Greathead. Take Popes Alley on your left, then right into Lombard Street following it as it bears to the left into King William Street. Opposite you is St Swithins Lane. The lane takes it’s name from the church that once stood near it’s end, St Swithin, London Stone the area is now a small public garden. Turn right onto Cannon Street and a few yards down you will see a small round window set into the wall, this is the home of the London stone. Continue down Cannon Street to access the underground station on your left.
Monument: The area takes it’s name from the monument that was erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666. Walk past the monument to find yourself in Pudding Lane, which is synonymous with the outbreak of the fire, however recent excavations have found that the fire at Thomas Farriner’s Bakery was probably located half way down the brown building on your right known as Peninsular House. Further down from this you will see the old Billingsgate Fish Market. Retrace your route back to Monument underground station.