Matthew Pearson

The Monument to the Great Fire of London: FAQs

What is The Monument?

The Monument to the Great Fire of London, to give it its full name, is a commemorative Doric column built to serve as a permanent reminder of the Great Fire of London, 1666 and to celebrate the rebuilding of the city. Grade I- listed and much visited by tourists from all over the world, it has become a symbol of London and one of the most significant events to have occurred in the capital’s history. It is 202 feet (61 metres) tall and has a viewing platform up at the top, offering superb views across the City of London area.

Is it open to the public?

Yes, the Monument is open to the public. In fact, it is the oldest ticketed attraction in London and has around 230,000 visitors come each year to tackle its 311-step spiral staircase and take in the panorama that awaits them at the top. The viewing platform is situated a pretty mighty 160 feet (48.7 metres) above ground level.

Where is it?

It stands on a plaza where Monument Street and Fish Street Hill meet in the City of London. The location of The Monument is very deliberate. It was erected on the site where St. Margaret’s, Fish Street once stood. St. Margaret’s was the first church to be destroyed during the Great Fire of London. It is also just 202 feet (61 metres) from the baker’s house on Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on Sunday 2nd September 1666. The fire devastated London, burning for four days before eventually being extinguished near Smithfield. Today, another memorial, named the Golden Boy of Pye Corner marks the spot where the fire was finally put out.

Who built it and when was it erected?

It was designed by Robert Hooke and Sir Christopher Wren. You’ll certainly recognise the name of the latter: Christopher Wren was instrumental in the rebuilding of London following the Great Fire. His masterwork, undoubtedly, is the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, but it’s supremely fitting that he of all people should have a hand in designed a memorial commemorating the Great Fire, and celebrating the reconstruction and rejuvenation of a London reborn in the ashes. Construction began in 1671 and was completed six years later.

Is there anything behind its design?

There’s a lot of symbolism going on here, that’s for certain. A gilded urn that sits atop the Portland Stone doric column is filled with fire, to symbolise the tragic events of 1666. And, as you might have already noticed earlier on, the column’s height is the same as the distance between The Monument and the Pudding Lane bakery where the fire started.

How much does it cost to go up The Monument?

Tickets are £5 for adults, and £2.50 for kids (5 to 15 year olds). Under 5s go free. And you know how else gets in free? London Pass holders. Yep, access to The Monument (and so much more) is included with the London Pass.

Is The Monument accessible?

No, unfortunately not. There is no lift to the top of The Monument and the only way up is to take the spiral staircase. It is therefore unsuitable for those with mobilities issues and people in wheelchairs. However, there is still plenty to enjoy and gain from the attraction at ground level. As they say about the Eiffel Tower, the only place in Paris where you can’t see the Eiffel Tower is when you’re up the Eiffel Tower. So it goes with The Monument.

Anything else I should be aware of?

All bags are checked upon entry and large luggage (wheely cases, big rucksacks etc.) cannot be taken up. There are no storage lockers either, so it’s best to leave your bags back at your accommodation.

How do I get there?

By tube, head to Monument station, which is on the District and Circle lines. Bank tube station, a transport hub on the Central, Northern, Waterloo and City lines and the DLR, is just a five minute walk from The Monument. By train, the stations which are within walking distance are London Bridge, Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street and Tower Gateway DLR. Thames riverboat services stop at both Tower Pier and London Bridge City Pier. Both piers are within walking distance (around 10 minutes) of The Monument. Bus services stopping at or near The Monument are the 17, 21, 35, 40, 47, 48, 133, 141, 149, 344 and 521. That's it for The Monument FAQs. There's another landmark just down the road. Head over here to find out more.

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