I’m ashamed to say after more than three decades in this wonderful city, I had not been up the Monument. Today we got our act together and climbed the 311 steps to the viewing platform of this most handsome column, bequeathed us by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. It costs £3 and when you return to ground level, they give you a rather nice certificate to commemorate your feat. The Monument was erected in six years between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London. It is at its own height in distance (202 feet) from the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started.
The panorama from the viewing platform near the top is as agreeable as you might expect. There is a particularly fine view of Tower Bridge just downriver and the all-but-complete Shard to the south. As you peek down across Lower Thames Street you can see the Wren church of St Magnus Martyr with its magnificent old clock (1711). This is where old London Bridge traversed the Thames (its current incarnation is about a hundred yards upstream).