Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monument: All 311 Steps To The Top

Inscription on the Monument base.
With St. Paul's Cathedral closed for any visitors, I opted to head to the Monument. Simply named it is one of the better no-frills attractions in London.

Notice the size of people at the tower's base.
The Monument commemorates the Great Fire of 1666 that wiped out the medieval heart of London and the rebuilding. Built between 1671 and 1677 it stands on the northern bank of the Thames River and stands 203 feet high. The top is a flaming urn of copper to symbolize the fire.

The 311 steps is within a steep internal stairwell leading to a platform with spectacular views of Tower Bridge, the Thames and modern skyscrapers including the Lloyd's of London building. The journey up is worth it and there are spaces here and there along the inner tower wall to sit and rest. I had to take a breather myself a couple of times. Some maneuvering is necessary if encountering other visitors on the way up or down. By the way, all visitors are issued a certificate of achievement to declare they climbed all 311 steps of the tower.

Admission is three pounds. The tower is open daily from 9:30am-5:30pm (Tube: Monument). More info at themonument.info.

The copper flame.
Viewing platform.
Tower Bridge
Modern buildings in business district. The pointy Swiss Re building is prominent with the Lloyd's of London building below it.
Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
London Eye down the Thames river.
View towards London's West End.
Draw bridge up!
Above and below, two views of the stairway. Which way is up?

Monument base.


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