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Thames Part 3

At the end of Watling Street you should come to the intersection of Queen Victoria Street and Queen Street ( which leads south to Southwark Bridge across the Thames ). Follow Queen Victoria Street to the north east into the heart of London's financial district.

Thames - Map 5

The financial district has been the heart of London ever since the Romans established a trading post here over 2,000 years ago.

Bank of England ( map location B )

At the end of Queen Victoria Street you will come to a six way intersection of streets. If you continue north east along Threadneedle street you will pass the Bank of England, whose museum is located off a side street, on the left just past the bank. The next block along Threadneedle street you will find the London Stock Exchange .

Royal Exchange ( map location C )

On the opposite side of Threadneedle street is The Royal Exchange which was founded in 1565 as a center for commerce in the country. The building that you see standing today dates back to the 1840's.

Lombard Street ( map location D )

When you have finished taking in the sites of the Financial District continue down famous Lombard street. Along here you will see many traditional banking signs outside financial establishments.

At the end of Lombard Street you will reach Gracechurch Street. Traveling a little way north you will find the Lloyd's of London building ( map location I ). This building, designed for Richard Rogers in 1986 houses the world's largest insurance company. Without doubt it is one of London's most interesting modern buildings created with stainless steel and glass. To provide more space internally the building has been created with many of its elements external to the building. Thus from the outside you can see ducts, elevators and air conditioning.

You should now continue south along Gracechurch Street, back towards the Thames and London Bridge. As you approach London Bridge you should see the large column off to your left ( just down Monument Street ). This is a memorial to the Great London Fire of 1666 ( map location E ) and stands 61.5 metres ( 202 foot ), supposedly a foot high for every foot in distance from where the fire started in Pudding Lane. It is possible to climb the 311 steps inside the Monument to the observation deck near the top.

Continuing south down King William Street you will once again reach the Thames and London Bridge.

Current London Bridge

London Bridge ( map location F )

Was originally the only bridge over the River Thames for 500 years. The first London Bridge was constructed of wood by the Romans. Later in the twelfth century it was replaced by a stone structure to carry the increased traffic. In 1971 the granite construction by Rennie was shipped off entirely to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The bridge that you see here today was completed in 1973.

Continue across London Bridge and turn left and once again head east along the banks of the Thames.

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast ( map location G )

At little way further along you will come to the HMS Belfast. Formerly a cruiser with Her Majesty's Navy and now a floating museum and exhibit. She was launched in March 1938 and served in both the Korean and Second World Wars. You can go aboard the Belfast to look over aspects of the ship as well as number of interesting displays. The ship is divided into about eight different zones, which are all marked. It is suggested that you start your tour from the ship's Quarterdeck.

On board HMS Belfast

Continue east again, along the Thames until you reach Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge at night

This bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones and was completed in 1894. In many cases it is mixed up with the more mundane looking London Bridge and is almost as well known around the world as Big Ben. The two towers one either side contain the mechanisms for raising the roadway to permit large ships to pass through. Each section of the drawbridge weighs over 1,000 tonnes but can be raised in under two minutes.

Tower Bridge

Inside the Bridge you will find a museum that displays the workings of the Bridge as well as the history of this famous structure. The entrance to the Tower Bridge tours is located at the base of the North Tower on the western side. On the tour you will climb the North Tower the across the high walkways and finally descend through the South Tower.

Crossing Tower Bridge

Once the formal part of the tour has completed you can continue to the engine room exhibits below the South Abutment Tower. Here you will also find the Gift shop and an ideal place to take some photographs.

Once you have finished your tour of Tower Bridge continue north back across the bridge. Once you have crossed Tower Bridge you will be able to see the Tower of London ( map location H ) on your left. Just north of the Tower of London you will find Tower End tube station.

Our tour ends here, but if you are interested in taking a tour of the Tower of London please follow this link. 

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