The Monument to the Fire of London (by Robert)

posted in: Blog, London | 47
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The Monument to the Great Fire of LondonRobert, who’s ten, writes:
Last weekend in London when the sun was shining (that doesn’t happen often!) Jess, Mum and I decided to walk up the Monument. If you didn’t already know, it is a big stone sculpture, six and a half metres tall, with a viewing platform at the top and it was built in memory of The Great Fire of London in 1666.The Monument took 11 years to make and cost £13,450. It was made by Sir Christopher Wren, the person behind St Paul’s Cathedral, and Dr Robert Hooke.
Steps leading up to the top of The Monument
Steps leading up to the top of The Monument

The height of the monument is 202 feet exactly because if you pushed it over at a particular angle (that would be quite hard) it would land at exactly the spot where the fire started in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane.

There are text and drawings on the side of the Monument (at the bottom) which most people miss, but you should check them out because they are cool. The words are in Latin so if you don’t know the language, then read the translation below. They tell you about what happened and why the Monument was put up.
Outside the Monument to the Great Fire of London, as seen on the Family Travel Times bloWalking up and down 311 steps – 622 altogether – may be quite a strain but the view at the top is magnificent. You can see the whole of London and unlike the Shard it has a proper purpose other than just a good view.
View from the top of the Monument
The view from the top

I also found out a lot of information on our trip. As well as a Monument of the Great Fire, lots of people thought it could be used for science experiments. Some thought they could use it for gravity tests, while other wanted to use it as a giant telescope.

 Another interesting fact I learnt was that in 1814, a donkey was led up and down the Monument without tripping once. I think that’s pretty impressive.Although quite a short experience, we thought our visit to the Monument was brilliant fun and cheap. It costs just £2 for children and £4 for adults and you can also buy an interesting leaflet for £2, it includes facts about the monument and the Great Fire of London as well as a 360 degree photo explaining the different things you can see from the top.
Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London began
Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London began

After your visit (make sure you are given your certificate for making it up to the top), you should definitely go and walk up Pudding Lane (which sadly, we learnt, is not named after the yummy puddings we love to eat, but after the bits of meat would fall from the carts coming down the lane from the butchers’ market to the Thames). It is only a short walk away and although it is not a great big thing like a museum, it is epic standing where the great fire started.

The Monument is situated right next Bank/Monument Station (Northern Line and District and Circle tube lines), and is at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill. It is open from April to September from 9.30 to 6pm and from October to March from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
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47 Responses

  1. Christine

    We’ve been up the Monument a couple of times. I couldn’t believe how many new skyscrapers were going up around it last time we visited! It’s good to walk down to the Museum of London too as they have an exhibition dedicated to the Great Fire of London (and the plague) which is interesting.

  2. The Adventure Ahead

    Every year, I teach my grade 8 students all about the fire of London. I would love to see the monument in real life 🙂 Such a fascinating part of history.

  3. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    I haven’t been up the monument for ages although I used to love spotting it through the streets when I was briefly working nearby as a reminder of a piece of London’s history.

    • Sarah Ebner

      I know – it’s great coming upon bits of history in London. I loved walking past the Tower every day when I was going to our old offices.

  4. Tamar

    This sounds like a great day out Robert. I think you might have persuaded us to all take a trip to see it! Thank you for the inspiration xxx

  5. Peter Parkorr

    Oh, so that’s why Monument is called Monument! Didn’t know you could climb this. Definitely on my list for the next trip to London with my camera, cheers for the tip Robert!

    • Robert

      Thanks. Charge your camera before as we took lots and lots of pictures. The battery had nearly ran out by the end!

  6. Leah

    Sounds like a wonderful day out! I would love to learn more about London’s history and the Great Fire. Thanks for sharing!

    • Robert

      It was a wonderful day out. If you wanted to learnt more about the fire and the monument buy the leaflet. It is extremely informative and a great, cheap souvenir.

  7. Natasha Amar

    Sounds like a fun day of exploring an interesting monument. Also, this post is very well-written with good information for anyone looking to visit the monument 🙂

  8. Vanessa

    Those stairs! Whoa! I’m guessing this is not a place to visit if you’re wearing flip flops.

  9. Penny Sadler

    Lots of great description here. I didn’t know about the tower. Will add it to my list of things to do in London!

  10. Heather Widmer

    Great article! If I return to London (which I hope I will!!), I’ll be sure to visit the monument. I enjoyed reading about the fun facts that you incorporated in the article, especially about the donkey and the reason the street where the fire started was called “Pudding Lane”

    • Robert

      I liked those facts too. Here’s another one for you. The monument is the tallest stone column in the world. WOW.

  11. Dana

    I’ll have to add this to our list when when I visit London with my kids next summer.

    • Robert

      You definitely should. Ask your kid’s to try and count the number of steps. I got one extra than it said on the leaflet. I was a bit disappointed about that.

    • Robert

      Many people forget about it. They normally go to the Shard or the London Eye and totally forget about the monument. It was such a good day because it was unique and different.

  12. Trish

    Have never been up th monument – to be honest, didn’t know anything about it. Really interesting post, Robert – love all the little details about the donkey etc. Brilliant 🙂

  13. Katja - globetotting

    Yet another place in London that I’ve never been to! Another one added to the list for when we are next in the UK. So happy to have found your site!

  14. Erica Price

    We walked past not so long ago. I tried to persuade H to go up with me, but he is a bit nervous about heights. I’d like to go up it one day.

  15. Kirsten

    Thanks Robert for a very interesting post on this monument. We’ve never been there on our visits to London, but I think our kids would definitely want to stop for a visit next time. Great job!

  16. Anne

    Really interesting post Robert. 311 steps? They don’t have a lift? I’d have to pass, there is no way I’d make it. I’d love to see that view though, I guess some things are worth the strain.

    • Sarah Ebner

      I don’t think there were lifts back in the 17th century Anne! But the walk is fun (tiring towards the end, admittedly!)

  17. Allison

    I’ve heard of the fire, but didn’t realize there was a monument. Fun to learn more about this bit of history through your post! I’d love to visit.

  18. Lauren | Belle du Brighton

    I’ve wanted to go up this a couple of times now but every time i’ve been near it i’ve either been pregnant or had a toddler who wouldn’t manage 31 steps let alone 311! Great review though, you’ve made me want to get up there soon!

  19. Lori

    Ooh interesting post, Ilove a bit of history and I didn’t realise you could walk up the monument! I can’t wait to check it out with my son when we head back to London. x

  20. Charly Dove

    Oh how brilliant! I never knew you could climb the monument which is quite shameful given I lived in London for many years. Never spent much time in the area though so perhaps that’s why. Looks like the views are amazing, a nice reward after that hard walk!

  21. Globalmouse

    We visited last summer, it’s one of the trips from primary school that really sticks in my mind too – such a lovely monument to a terrible event.

  22. Jaime Oliver

    oh wow i didn’t even know about this place, it looks fantastic. I love to visit place like this and with a trip to London on the cards I will have to do some more visiting! x

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