St Pauls & Watling Street Area Guide
The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though remains a notable part of Central London. It is often referred to as the City or the Square Mile, as it is just over one square mile (1.12 sq mi/2.90 km2) in area.
The City is today a major business and financial centre, ranking on a par with New York City as the leading centre of global finance. The City has a resident population of approximately 8,000, but around 320,000 people work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession form a major component of the western side of the City, especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas; these are where the Inns of Court are located, of which two — Inner Temple and Middle Temple — fall within the City of London boundary.
Watling Street & Bow Lane are home to numerous bars and restaurants ranging from very old traditional pubs such as Ye Olde Watling public house to modern eateries including EAT and Subway. Unsurprsingly this area offers a great social atmosphere after working hours and the many thousands of workers in this area frequent the local drinking establishments on their way home.
St Pauls Cathedral
Located two minutes from Watling Street is St Pauls Cathedral. A cathedral was originally built on this site in 604AD and to this day the existing building remains a busy and fully functioning church. The cathedral that stands currently is the fourth that was built between 1675 and 1710 after the previous one was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.
Designed by the leading architect of the day, Christopher Wren, St Pauls demonstrates the main characteristics of Gothic and Neo Classical style that came to symbolise Wren’s signature architectural achievements. The huge dome that sits atop the church can be seen across the city and has come to symbolise the enduring spirit of Londoners throughout the ages.
St Pauls probably best known in the modern ages of being the setting of the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spence in 1981.
The Cathedral is open daily for worship and visits and it is also possible to climb up the 530 steps to the Golden Gallery to enjoy the panoramic views of London from 280ft above. The Cathedral attracts many people because of the history and stories imbedded in the heart of the building.
Bank of England Museum
Located a short distance from Watling Street on Threadneedle street this museum explains the history of The Bank of England from 1694 to present day. This museum is completely free and regularly holds new exhibitions and events.
Mansion House is an unusual Georgian palace house. The House was originally built for the Lord Mayor of London and to this day still serves the same purpose. Mansion house is not only where the Lord Mayor and his family live but it is also where his main offices are and is often used for conferences and Banquets.
You are able to visit and look around Mansion house however there are restrictions and guidelines this is due to the house being a home and also a fully working building.
St Mary-le-Bow Church
Situated at the end of Bow Lane, St Mary-le Bow Church is well known due to being referenced in the classic children’s nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons.’ The bells of St Mary-le Bow are part
of London’s history as they are the bells that Dick Whittington heard calling him into The City and for someone to claim to be a true Londoner you needed to have been born within earshot of the Bow bells.
This famous church is thought to be dated back as far as the Saxon Period, however the original building was destroyed in the London Tornado of 1091. Another church was built and at the time was named St Mary de Arcubus. It was known for its two arches (Bows) and the church also became famous for its steeple which was now a main landmark in London and it’s tower containing the ‘Bow Bells’ which could be heard throughout the city.
Guild hall is located just off Gresham Street and Basinghall Street, a five minute walk away from our centre at Watling Street. Guild hall was built between 1411 and 1440. The hall is believed to be built where there was previously a ‘glid-hall’ in the Anglo-Saxon era. ‘Glid’ meaning payment, with ‘glid-hall’ being where citizens would pay their taxes. In the present day the building is used for the day-to-day administration of the City of London Corporation. The Guildhall itself is still used for official functions and is open to the public during the weekend of ‘London Open House.’
Place to Eat, Drink & Hotels
William’s Tavern – 1 Groveland Court, London EC4M 9EH (0871 258 9639)
Ping Pong – Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Sheet, London EC4M 9BE (0207 651 0880)
Pavillion End – 25 Watling Street, London EC4M 9BR (0207 236 6719)
Apt Bar – Aldermary House, 10-15 Queens Street, London EC4N 1TX (0207 618 9020)
Ye Olde Watling – 29 Watling Street, London EC4M 9BJ (08721 077 077)
Reflex – 17 Watling Street, London EC4M 9BB (0207 248 5641)
Grange St Pauls Hotel 5* – 10 Godliman Street, London EC4V 5AJ (0207 074 1000)
Express by Holiday Inn – 275 Old Street, London EC1V 9LN (0871 423 4901)
Crown Plaza Hotels & Resorts – 19 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6DB (0871 423 4876)
Thistle City Barbican – Central Street, London EC1V 8DS (0871 376 9004)
Radisson Edwardian Hotels – 5 Fairmont Avenue, Canary Wharf, London E14 9PQ (0207 388 4131)
Interesting facts about St Paul’s Cathedral
- The Whispering Gallery is probably the most famous of St Paul’s attractions. Climb up 259 steps into the lower part of the dome and if you whisper on one side of the gallery, someone can hear it on the other side.
- There are 378 step to the Stone Gallery. This is on the exterior of the dome and above the Whispering Gallery. Even higher is the Golden Gallery, also on the exterior of the dome. (530 steps)
- The Great Organ is the third largest in the UK and was installed in the Cathedral in 1695. The outer case is by Grinling Gibbons.
- In the North Quire Aisle you can see a sculpture of Mother and Child by Henry Moore.
- In the South Transept you can see memorials to, amongst others, Nelson and Scott of the Antarctic.
- The Crypt is the largest in Europe and contains memorials to some of the country’s greatest men including the tombs of the Duke of Wellington, Admiral Nelson and Sir Christopher Wren whose epitaph says “If you seek his monument look around you”.
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