Leadenhall Market — London’s Best Kept Secret

Leadenhall Market – A Victorian Gem & One of London’s Best kept Secret

Explore another side of London — the city’s best kept secret! Tucked away from the busy streets and the high-rises of the financial district of London, with a rich heritage and incredible architecture dating back 700 years is Leadenhall Market, a Victorian gem easily missed and less visited by occasional visitors to the city. This remarkable building is also Grade II listed, denoting its significant historic interest.

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What to expect in this article on Leadenhall Market

In this article, you shall find top reasons that makes Leadenhall Market a notable place to visit in London, beginning with its rich history to the incredible things to do such as shopping, dining and getting your shoes shined at this Victorian marketplace. Practical tips are included on how to locate this marvellous destination as well as landmarks to visit which are located close by. You could skip ahead to a particular section by using the navigation below, if you prefer.

Leadenhall Market London's best kept secret

1 | The origins and history of Leadenhall Market, London

The stunning Leadenhall Market has a rich history dating back to 1321, at the heart of what we now know to be Roman London. Underneath the arches and cobblestones of Leadenhall Market today are the remains of the Roman Forum and Basilica. As well, Bishopsgate, Cheapside and Leadenhall Street follow the Roman roads that once existed.

History tells us that the Romans loved their markets! It is thought that a market existed at this location since their settlement but not much is known about the market place after they left. Thereafter, the Anglo-Saxons returned and used the same location to set up a marketplace to boost the economy.

1.1 | Medieval history of Leadenhall Market

Eventually, the Leadenhall manor fell into the ownership of Lord Whittington, the Lord Mayor of the City of London. In 1411, he gifted the manor to the City of London.

1.2 | Leadenhall Market through the centuries

In 1440, Simon Eyre, the then Lord Mayor commissioned the skills of John Croxton, a master mason to redesign the manor house. The manor house was converted to two levels, and housed a large public granary along with lots of storage spaces. Trade was brought into the building, away from the streets nearby. The marketplace became the focal of medieval economy. By 1600s, trading involved cheese, milk, butter and eggs alongside poultry, meats, grains, leather and metal ware.

Following the Great Fire of London, Sir Horace Jones was commissioned to redesign the stone building. He designed and built Leadenhall Market in 1881 that continues to exist today. The nearby markets of Billingsgate and Smithfield were designed by Sir Jones also. The architecture embodies space, and light with wrought iron and glass. More recently, in 1991, Leadenhall Market underwent extensive renovations but the eye-catching Victorian architecture of brightly painted wrought iron beams of the main roof was preserved.


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2 | Leadenhall Market today

This large covered area of what was once a marketplace has evolved to be a modern retail hub. Set amidst a Victorian roof, cobbles and preserved buildings and architecture, Leadenhall Market provides a wide range of shopping and a variety of dining options. Located in the centre of the financial district of London also means that it is a busy hub for the men and women in smart suits and the savvy financier.

The many entrances are decorated with stone carvings of dragons, swags and shields of varying sizes. The larger stone pediments reflect the main entrances to the market. Some have the market’s name and date inscribed upon them.

2.1 | Fashionable boutiques and Fine dining at Leadenhall Market, London

Housed within the Victorian architecture are upscale shops such as Barbour, Reiss, Hobbs, Waterstones and many more.

In addition, there is a selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs offering unique dining experiences from fine dining, mid-range dining or to take-aways and sandwiches. There is Cheese of Leadenhall for cheese lovers and for wine lovers, the Brokers Wine Bar is an excellent choice.

The Lamb Tavern is highly recommended. It is a traditional pub, a restaurant and lately, popular as a wedding venue. Occupying three-floors of impressive decor, this grand old pub serves traditional British food and ales. The Lamb Tavern has been a public house since the Market buildings were completed in 1881.

Visiting this beautifully clean and vibrant Victorian setting ordinarily on a working day or at Christmas is highly encouraged. Truth be told that it is extraordinarily special at Christmas. It is lit-up bright with Christmas lights and a 20-foot high Christmas tree takes the centre-stage of this Victorian market setting. Shoppers with Christmas shopping bags, the vibrancy of modern dining, the bars and pubs overflowing with beer drinkers in smart attire amidst chatter and laughter. Added to this are the Christmas crafts, music and the aroma of mulled wine. It is hard to imagine the smell of meat and poultry that this Victorian market once was!

Christmas Lights 2021 switching-on ceremony is scheduled for November 19. December 8 signals the beginning of Christmas workshops, music and late-night shopping

2.2 | The Shoe-shiners of Leadenhall Market

When I visited Leadenhall Market a couple of years ago, I was fascinated to discover that it was home to talented actors who run the London City Shoe Shine Co. in between their engagements at West End.

These actors have been shining shoes in this Victorian setting since 1991, come rain or shine! Although, if the leather shoes are wet on a rainy day, you will probably not find the shoe-shiners sitting at their station.

The actors work in pairs and this beautiful advent afternoon was no different to any other. There was a steady flow of customers, mostly regulars, I suspect. As Leadenhall Market is situated in the centre of the banking industry and bankers were traditionally their most regular customers.

I saw a window of opportunity to steal a quick chat with them, with an assurance that they remain anonymous. It was an interesting chat, one of them have an upcoming role in a movie while the other is involved mainly in theatre performances. Soon, two customers arrived, and I stayed to watch briefly.

The shine-box method

I was captivated with the use of the old-fashioned shine-box method – where the customer raises one foot onto the footplate for it to be shined and then the other shoe gets done afterwards. These modest shoe shiners exuded a relaxed sense of style and their buoyant energy in a carefully crafted skill of vigorous hand-movement, first brush, then focusing on the toe for extra shine – a pair of shiny shoes will always set a man apart as a man that knows how to take care of himself – appearance matters! Definitely! Don’t you think so?

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2.3 | Leadenhall Market is a popular filming location

For the ardent Harry Potter fans, you will be delighted to know that there were several scenes which were filmed at Leadenhall Market. One of the most memorable scene is when Hagrid and Harry Potter go shopping for wands. This scene was filmed outside of Leadenhall Market.

You may also recall the area of London which led to the wizarding pub, the magical shopping street of Diagon Alley (in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and the Leaky Couldron (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The highly recognisable blue door entrance to the Leaky Couldron at 42 Bull’s Head Passage is actually an opticians office at Leadenhall Market.

Recommended: An interactive Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Leadenhall Market has also been used as a filming location in other movies for example:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy;

The Imaginarium of Doctor Pernassus;

Hearafter;

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3 | The Story of Old Tom at Leadenhall Market

As we know, Leadenhall Market was once a place for the sale of poultry, and this required for chickens and geese to be slaughtered in the market. However, Old Tom, the little goose had a different tale to tell.

One day, in early 1800s, thousands of geese were brought to the Market to be slaughtered but one little gander from Belgium managed to escape. The story goes that he was not only clever to escape his fate on one occasion but he did so over several occasions on a number of days. Eventually, he was allowed to live happily and was named “Old Tom”. Old Tom became a beloved resident of Leadenhall Market. He was fed by the market workers with scraps of food and lived to the age of 37. Old Tom passed of natural causes in 1835 and was given a proper burial. He is buried inside the Market.

Old Tom was much loved and his Obituary appeared in the Times Newspaper, on April 16, 1835:

In memory of Old Tom the Gander

Obit 19th March, 1835, aetat, 37 years, 9 months and 6 days

This famous gander, while in stubble,

Fed freely, without care or trouble;

Grew fat eating corn and sitting still,

And scarce could cross the barn-door sill;

And seldom waddle forth to cool,

His belly in the neighbouring pool;

Transplanted to another scene,

He stalk’d in state o’er Calais-green,

With full five hundred geese behind;

To his superior care consign’d;

Whom readily he would engage,

To lead in march ten miles a-stage,

Thus a decoy he lived and died,

The chief of geese, the poulterer’s pride.

You could always raise a glass to Old Tom when you visit Leadenhall Market. His burial spot is marked by the Old Tom’s Bar at 10-12 Leadenhall Market.

Old Tom’s Bar serves traditional British dishes and craft beers.


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4 | Best London attractions nearby to Leadenhall Market

While visiting Leadenhall Market, you may also wish to make a day of it by visiting other attractions in the financial district and nearby. The following attractions are located within a few minutes of each other and easily reached by foot. Click on the links to learn more.


5 | Practical tips and Useful information

If you plan to visit this part of London, you will note two entirely differing cultures depending on when you elect to sightsee. During the week, The City is abuzz with white collar workers hurrying along to get on with their business and at weekends, it becomes a quiet haven for visitors to explore.

5.1 | Where is Leadenhall Market located?

This prominent destination is located at the triangle that is made up of Gracechurch Street, Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street.

Address:  Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 1LT

5.2 | Opening hours

Public areas are open 24/7 for 7-days a week.

For shops and restaurants, opening hours varies, please check individual      stores.

5.3 | Transport:

Trains 

London Fenchurch Street Station    (8-minute walk)

London Cannon Street Station         (8-minute walk)

Liverpool Street Station      (13-minute walk)

Moorgate Station     (13-minute walk)

Underground

Monument Station    (4-minute walk)

Bank Station     (6-minute walk)

Aldgate Station   (8-minute walk)

Moorgate Station  (13-minute walk)


6 | Planning a trip to London?

You may find the following resources helpful. I use them in my travel plan and happily share them with you to save time and money.

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


7 | Finally

Leadenhall Market is a little gem, covered and tucked away in the middle of bustling London financial district. It always seems busy during the week but you can get a quiet place in a pub or a restaurant after the busy lunch hour 😊

Have a great time discovering, and exploring Leadenhall Market, London’s best kept secret!

Georgina xx


FAQ’s on Leadenhall Market

Here are some frequently asked questions about Leadenhall Market which you may have thought about as well:

1 | Is Leadenhall Market worth visiting?

Absolutely! Without a doubt, Leadenhall Market is worth visiting. It’s historic significance, unique architecture, the many food scenes, the vibrant, bright and airy atmosphere along with the cobbled floors all add to the feel of being “elsewhere” in London. A destination that must be experienced.

2 | What is special about Leadenhall Market?

While its rich heritage and stunning architecture dates back 700 years, it is a ‘marketplace’ with all the clinks and clanks, the noise of chatter and the buzz. Added to this unusual atmosphere in the City of London are modern high-end shops, bars and eateries. Absolutely a special place to visit.

3 | Who designed Leadenhall Market?

The architect behind the design of Leadenhall Market that we see today was Horace Jones.

4 | What borough is Leadenhall Market?

Leadenhall Market is located in the prominent City of London financial district. It is one of the oldest markets in London since early 1400s.


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Lady Arbella Stuart The Forgotten Uncrowned Queen of England

Lady Arbella Stuart The Forgotten Uncrowned Queen of England

About four centuries ago, a princess lay dying within the walls of London Fortress, yearning for her freedom to be with her husband, reflecting on her life that would have been, if only… Lady Arbella Stuart was an English, born of royal blood who had a better right to be the Queen of England than her Scottish cousin, James VI, succeeding Queen Elizabeth I. Sadly, she became one of the royal prisoners at the Tower of London and over time, forgotten.

The following is what we know of the little known uncrowned queen, Lady Arbella Stuart who would have changed the course of history.

Lady Arbella Stuart
Oil painting on oak panel, Lady Arabella Stuart, Duchess of Somerset (1575 ? 1615), aged 13 1/2, British (English) School, inscribed in cartouche: ARBELLA ? STVARTA ? / COMITISSA ? LEVINI? ? / ?TATIS ? SV? ? 13 ? ET ? 1/2 ? / ANNO ? DNI ? 1589 ? And inscribed between bottom of tablecloth and stretcher of table: CVM, the remaining portion of a word like TECUM (‘with you’) rather than initials of Carel van Mander to whom this portrait was once attributed. A full-length portrait, standing, turned slightly to the left in an apartment, wearing a white dress with spotted puffed sleeves and white brocade, studded with dark jewels, and embroidered cuffs of a darker colour. Her light brown hair, frizzed in front, is allowed to fall, maiden-fashion, on her shoulders and around her neck is a pearl necklace and other ornaments with a fan hanging from her left.
Her right hand is resting on a table covered in a green fringed cloth and a dog is lying in the left foreground and a red draped curtain is on the right. In 1859 a commentator in the Athenaeum wrote: “The pale blue eyes and melancholy features have a decided Stuart character. The face closely resembles that of her father in the Hampton Court picture.” | National Portrait Gallery
Lady Arbella Stuart

Who was Lady Arbella Stuart and her right to the throne?

Lady Arbella Stuart was born in 1575 and was the possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I.

She was the only daughter to Elizabeth Cavendish (only daughter to Bess of Hardwick) and Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox.

Charles Stuart was the younger son to Matthew Stuart and Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter and heiress of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and of Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII.

Therefore, Arbella was the great-great-granddaughter of King Henry VII and was in line of succession to the throne.

Charles’ older sibling was Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley who became the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and father to James VI of Scotland.

So, in a nutshell, born into the Stuart family, Arbella was niece of Mary Queen of Scots , cousin to James VI of Scotland, and a distant cousin to Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Lady Arbella Stuart’s early years

Lady Arbella Stuart as a child
Lady Arabella Stuart, later Duchess of Somerset, aged 23 months, 1577 / Hardwick Hall NT 1129175 | Hardwick Hall © National Trust

Lady Arbella had many misfortunes in her life from the time she was an infant. Arbella’s father, Charles Stuart died in 1576 when she was barely two years old. Upon the death of her father, Arbella was meant to inherit the title “Countess of Lennox” along with all the Lennox lands in Scotland but she was denied her inheritance. The Scottish government seized the lands on the premise that as King James was still a minor he could not grant the title. Moreover, their reasoning also centred on the fact that Arbella was English by birth and therefore her claim on the title was invalid. 

This unjust reasoning and decision drew the attention of the monarch and Queen Elizabeth herself wrote to the Scottish regency government asking for Arbella to be given her inheritance but nothing came of it. Over the years, Lady Arbella referred to her lost lands on many occassions but she was never formally granted the title of Countess of Lennox. 

In addition, Arbella was due inheritance from her paternal grandmother, Lady Lennox – jewels set with a diamond, a ruby and an emerald with a great pearl.  However, more misfortune was set her way. The entrusted guardian of Lady Lennox who should have handed the jewels over to Arbella failed to do so. Instead, the steward fled to Scotland where the jewels ended up with King James himself!

After the passing of her father, Arbella was raised by her mother, Elizabeth Cavendish, Countess of Lennox. Unfortunately, her mother passed away as well in 1582, leaving Arbella an orphan at the very young age of just seven. She became the ward of her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Hardwick, better known as the formidable “Bess of Hardwick” and went to live in Hardwick Hall.

Lady Arbella Stuart at Hardwick Hall

Within the protection of Hardwick Hall, Arbella received education fit for a princess. Proving herself as an able pupil, Arbella learnt philosophy, became an accomplished musician, and was fluent in Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. She visited London and the royal court periodically in the summers of 1587 and 1588. There was one visit that lasted from November 1591 to July 1592.

She impressed Queen Elizabeth on her first visit and the Queen was noted as saying the twelve-year old Arbella may one day be Queen of England. However, with the execution of Arbella’s aunt, Mary, Queen of Scots and the possibility of the Spanish Armada, Arbella returned to the relative safety and protective isolation of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

Bess of Hardwick | Hardwick Hall | Lady Arbella Stuart
Bess of Hardwick | National Trust Images/John Hammond

The ensuing years were frustrating ones for Arbella. As her grandmother spent her time designing and building Hardwick fit for a queen, Arbella felt increasingly isolated. Often talked of as being a suitable bride but she never came close to marriage, thereby prompting her to plot her own marriage. Stories of Arbella and her affairs circulated widely, so much so that in winter 1602-1603 the Queen herself sent her trusted courtier, Sir Henry Brounker to Hardwick to investigate the matter. Bess pleaded with the Queen to let Arbella leave but Elizabeth disagreed. The Queen ordered Arbella to remain at Hardwick and never to marry.

Lady Arbella Stuart – the uncrowned queen

Lady Arbella Stuart
Lady Arbella Stuart

The years preceding 1592, Arbella was considered the natural successor to the throne upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I. She was, after-all born in England and a direct descendant of Henry VII. She was fourth-in-line to the throne and had a better claim to be the crowned queen of the English throne than her cousin, James VI of Scotland. However, this was not to be.

From the end of 1592 and sometime spring of 1593, attention was diverted towards James VI of Scotland as being the preferred heir to the throne. The most influential people, namely the Queen’s Lord Treasurer, Lord Burghley and his son, Secretary of State, Sir Robert Cecil played a key role in this respect.

Soon thereafter, Queen Elizabeth I died. Lady Arbella’s cousin, James VI of Scotland became King James I of England, unifying Scotland, England and Ireland under one monarch, officially known as the Union of the Crowns on March 24 1603.

In May, Arbella was invited to the royal court in London to meet her cousin for the first time.

In November of 1603, there was a Main Plot, conspired by English courtiers and funded by the Spanish government to overthrow King James I and to replace him with Lady Arbella Stuart. The conspirators invited Arbella to participate and obtained her consent in writing to Philip III of Spain. However, Arbella reported the matter to King James I immediately.

Arbella was well received at the royal court of King James I. Arbella became state governess to Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James I and later in 1605, godmother to Princess Mary.

Lady Arbella Stuart and her marriage

Arbella never suppressed her desire to marry. In 1610, she married William Seymour, known as Lord Beauchamp, later Duke of Somerset from the prominent Seymour family, who themselves had a claim to the throne.

William Seymour was sixth-in-line to the throne. He was the grandson of Lady Katherine Grey, granddaughter of Mary Tudor, the younger sister of Henry VIII.

James I had wondered whether the marriage between Arbella and William was a prelude to an attempt to overthrow him as King.

Arbella and William married in secret, on June 22, 1610 at Greenwich Palace, without the permission of the King.

Royal Warrant of Arrest

Arrest warrant of Arbella and William Seymour
Free media Wikimedia Commons

Within days, the secret was out and for marrying without the King’s permission, a royal warrant was issued for the arrest of Arbella, Lady Beauchamp and Lord Beauchamp.

William was arrested and brought to the Tower of London and Arbella placed on house-arrest in Sir Thomas Perry’s house in Lambeth. The couple had some liberty within the buildings and Arbella corresponded with William through letters. When James I learned of the letters, he immediately ordered for Arbella to be transferred to Durham, to the custody of Bishop of Durham far away from her husband, William Lord Beauchamp in the Tower. Arbella claimed to be pregnant (but she was not), so her departure was delayed.

Arbella and William’s plot to escape

The delay in Arbella’s departure to Durham gave the couple time to plot their escape. They agreed to meet at Lee, Kent to sail to France.

 Early in June, dressed as a man, Arbella slipped out of her lodgings and made it to Lee, but William Lord Beauchamp did not meet her there. She boarded the getaway ship to France without her husband.

William did escape from the Tower and made it to Lee but Arbella had already set sail. He caught the next ship to Flanders.

The alarm had now been raised, and the King gave orders to search for and capture Arbella and William. Arbella’s ship was overtaken by the King’s men just before reaching Calais, France. They boarded the ship, arrested Arbella and brought her back to London. She was imprisoned in the Tower. Arbella never saw her husband again.

Lady Arbella Stuart | Lady Beauchamp final days

Arbella only sought freedom to live with her husband but she was kept in closed confinement in the Tower. She was never charged with a crime.

During 1612 and 1613, Arbella’s health deteriorated but she hoped to gain sympathy from her cousin, James I. She wanted to attend the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and went as far as ordering an elaborate dress and matching jewels for the wedding but she was not invited.

It appears that by 1614, Arbella had given up all hope of freedom and by autumn of the same year, she took ill and refused all medical attention. Her health deteriorated, and she died on September 25, 1615 at the young age of 39 in the Tower of London.

Lady Arbella Stuart – her funeral

Lady Arbella Stuart was refused a royal funeral and denied a ceremony by her cousin, King James I. She was placed in the vault of her aunt, Mary Queen of Scots in Westminster Abbey.

A visit to Westminster Abbey, you will find the vault beneath the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel.  In the 19th century a small grey stone was put in between the tombs of Mary Queen of Scots and Arbella’s grandmother Margaret, Countess of Lennox, recording burials in the vault. This gives her name and year of burial only. She has no other memorial.

Conclusion

…as she lay, yearning for her freedom, reflecting on her life that would have been, if only…

Born of royal blood and in England, with a better claim to the throne than her cousin James VI, Arbella fell foul of the very same cousin whom she helped protect from the conspiracies of the Main Plot and the Spanish government when he became King of England. She ended her days despairing in the Tower of London.

One wonders…if only she had succeeded Elizabeth I and became Queen of England, the course of history might be so very different – would the Union of the Crowns had taken place? The lines of succession of monarchs would also have been different.

The story of Lady Arbella Stuart is a sad one – another royal caught up in the politics and conspiracies of the day, but one deserving to be remembered, not Forgotten as she was the Uncrowned Queen of England.


Over one hundred letters written by Lady Arbella Stuart were found and some of these were published in 1993.

Resources:

National Trust UK

Sarah Gristwood, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen, Bantam 2003

David N. Durant, Arbella Stuart: A Rival to the Queen, 1978

P.M Handover, Arbella Stuart: Royal Lady of Hardwick, 1957


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Tower of London | 51° 30′ 30.7080” N and 0° 4′ 34.0752” W.

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What goes on in the Tower of London

What goes on in the Tower of London

Tower of London is a fascinating landmark in the heart of the city that attracts millions of visitors a year but we are living in uncertain times these days. As means to keep you informed with inspiring stories of the iconic Tower, “What goes on in the Tower of London” brings together a set of TV series by the Historic Royal Palaces for you to view at your leisure – hear the stories on what goes on in the Tower from the very people who live, manage and are the heartbeat of the traditions at this magnificent Tower of London.

Quick facts about the Tower of London:

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51.5081° N, 0.0759° W

Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB | London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Area: 16 acres

White Tower: Height: 27 metres (89ft);

Built: 1078

Expansion: Inner Ward: 1190s, rebuilt 1285;

Protected: UNESCO;

Importance: Cultural;

Guard: Yeoman Warders;

Managed: Historic Royal Palaces (charity)

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Hever Castle Kent England

Learn more on What goes on in the Tower of London from these TV series by Historic Royal Palaces : Available to view until June 18 2025

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Tower of London as it stands today.
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Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Audible: audiobooks, podcasts & audio stories – Free Download Available Instantly


About the Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Built in the early 1220s as access gateway to the Thames, the Bloody Tower was originally known as the Garden Tower because it was next to the Constable’s garden. The Tower was not intended to be a prison but it became home to a number of prisoners, notably Sir Walter Raleigh and the two princes. The tower gained its reputation in the 16th century as the Bloody Tower when the notorious murders of the princes, Edward V and Richard Duke of York that supposedly took place within the walls of the tower were discovered. To learn more about the Bloody Tower, navigate to The Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, while on this page, there are carefully selected and recommended reading items – books on the prisoners of the Bloody Tower should you wish to delve deeper into learning more about the famous prisoners that resided here, Sir Walter Raleigh and the royal princes.

*Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page

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Tower of London | 51.5081° N, 0.0759° W

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh, © akg-images / De Agostini Picture Library

Walter Raleigh (also spelled as Ralegh) was an English gentleman, writer, poet, adventurer, politician, courtier and a soldier who introduced ‘potato’ to the English dinner tables. A charming nobleman, he was one of the most famous explorers during the reign of Elizabeth I. He pioneered the colonisation of North America and helped defend England against the Spainish Armada. Raleigh was rewarded handsomely by the Queen and received his knighthood in 1585.

When Queen Elizabeth I died, James I succeeded to the throne in 1603 who imprisoned Raleigh at the Tower of London. While confined to the walls of the Tower, he wrote ‘History of the World‘. In 1616, Raleigh was released to head an expedition to South America, during which his men attacked a Spanish settlement. He was forced to abandon his mission. Upon his return, he was imprisoned at the Bloody Tower to appease the Spaniards until his beheading in 1618.

Suggested reading: Bloody Tower at the Tower of London

Below is a selection of books, some written by Walter Raleigh himself which are available as reprints and some books written about him. Enjoy perusing each of the carefully selected books to learn more of this infamous adventurer. You can purchase them as Paperback, Hardcover or instant download on Kindle.

Books on Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend Kindle Edition – by Mark Nicholls +  P. Williams  

The Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh: Now First Collected (Classic Reprint) Paperback – 27 Jun. 2012

The Roanake Voyages 1584-1590: Vol II: English Voyages to North America Paperback – 28 Mar. 2003

The Letters Of Sir Walter Ralegh Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 July 1999


Sir Walter Raleigh 174 Success Facts – Everything You Need to Know about Sir Walter Raleigh Paperback – 5 Jun. 2014

The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (Exploring Travel) Paperback – 4 Dec. 1997

An Abridgment Of Sir Walter Raleigh’s History Of The World: In Five Books (1698) Paperback – 10 Sept. 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh A Biography Kindle Edition. Also available in Paperback and Hardcover

Click on the images to view the synopsis and Buy on Amazon


The Princes – Edward V and Richard Duke of York

The two princes, Edward and his younger brother, Richard mysteriously disappeared in 1483 from the Bloody Tower. The princes, sons of Edward IV were brought to the Tower by their uncle and Lord Protector, Duke of Gloucester for their ‘own protection’. Duke of Gloucester later became King Richard III. The princes were never seen alive again.

Below is a list of books written on the mysterious disappearance and the sinister plot that may have transpired during this fifteen century era. There are various opinions as to who was responsible for their disappearance and/or murder. This mystery remains unsolved till today.

Books on the Missing Princes at the Tower

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Paperback – 7 Aug. 2014 by Alison Weir

The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth Kindle Edition by Matthew Lewis (Also available in Paperback and Hardback)

The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower‘ Kindle Edition by John Ashdown-Hill (Available in Paperback and Hardback as well)

The Princes in the Tower : Cold Case Re-opened Kindle Edition by Mark Garber (Available as Audiobook as well)

The Killer of the Princes in the Tower: A New Suspect Revealed Hardcover – 30 Jun. 2021

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The Princes in the Tower: Did Richard III Murder His Nephews, Edward V & Richard of York? Kindle Edition by Josephine Wilkinson

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower: The Possible Fates of Edward V and Richard of York Paperback – Illustrated, 30 Oct. 2016 by Gerald Prenderghast

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Click on the images to view synopsis and Buy on Amazon


What do you think of the selection above? Have you read any of these books? I sincerely hope that the selection is valuable to you in knowing more about British History and in particular about the Tower of London. Do share your thoughts in comments below. The following related articles may also be of value to you in planning your visit to the Tower of London.

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Books on prisoners of the Bloody Tower
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A Must Read on British History-carefully selected books on the famous prisoners at the Bloody Tower to complement Tower of London series. Visit London | Princes in the Tower | Walter Raleigh | British History | Landmark of Britain | A Palace Fortress and a Prison | Stories on Tower of London | Visit Britain | Most popular attraction in London | Must visit sites in Britain | UNESCO | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A Must Read on British History-carefully selected books on the famous prisoners at the Bloody Tower to complement Tower of London series. Visit London | Princes in the Tower | Walter Raleigh | British History | Landmark of Britain | A Palace Fortress and a Prison | Stories on Tower of London | Visit Britain | Most popular attraction in London | Must visit sites in Britain | UNESCO | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

London Eye 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London

London Eye | 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London

On any given day, the London Eye elegantly rotates over the River Thames along the beautiful Southbank. A long queue awaits anyone (if you don’t have a skip-the-line ticket) who wishes to experience the breathtaking 360-degree views across the City. While a trip to London Eye is a “must-do” for most visitors to London, many would not know all of the facts about the structure which has become a symbol of London. So, for added value to your trip to London, here is a list of 18 important facts which tells you all about the London Eye.

While we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

The London Eye facts

Facts about the London Eye you would love to know …

1 | How did London Eye come about

London Eye was an idea put forward by husband and wife, David Marks and Julia Barfield. The couple responded to a competition in 1993 which asked Londoners to design a new landmark for the City celebrating the millennium. The idea of a wheel caught on and the official opening of London Eye was on 31 December 1999 in time for the millennium. However, due to a capsule clutch problem, the iconic observation wheel did not open till March 2000. A little late but that’s quite alright!

2 | The London Eye should not still be here

As the above, the structure was built especially for the Millennium. Therefore, it was meant to be a temporary attraction. It was planned to stand on the River Thames for no longer than 5 years. However, due to its financial success, Lambeth Council granted a permanent licence for its operation.

There was yet another challenge for its continued presence. The Southbank Centre served an eviction notice to the London Eye in 2005. The dispute centred around a strut hovering over a bit of concrete owned by The Southbank! After a lengthy legal battle, a 25-year lease was finally agreed between the parties in February 2006, ensuring the landmark’s survival. With the judgment, The Eye just needs to pay The Southbank 500k a year. The monies supports the centre’s comprehensive annual arts programme, which is not a bad thing.

3 | What is London Eye? Is it a “ferries” wheel?

Contrary to popular assumption, the London Eye is Not a Ferries wheel!

London Eye: Capsules.London Eye

The London Eye is ​one of the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. This is because the Eye is supported by a single A-frame. As well, the capsules are outside the wheel rim instead of hanging low, hence the difference with a ferries wheel.

4 | How heavy is the London Eye

The entire structure weighs 2,100 tonnes. The structure was assembled flat and moved onto eight temporary islands on the River Thames. It was raised into place in September 1999.

5 | How tall is London Eye

Although it stands at 135 metres (443 feet) high and has a diameter of 120 metres (394 feet), the Eye is not the tallest structure in London! The tallest building in London is the Shard at 310 metres (1,004 feet). The circumference of the London Eye is 424 metres (1,391 feet) which means if it weren’t a wheel, it would actually be taller than the Shard.

Even though it is not the tallest structure in London at present, it was the tallest structure and observation wheel when it was constructed. It is now the 4th tallest observation wheel in the world.

The top three tallest observation wheels are: High Roller at 168 metres (550 feet) in Las Vegas; The Singapore Flyer at 165 metres ( 541 feet) in Marina Bay; Star of Nanchang at 160 metres (525 feet) in Nanchang Star Amusement Park.

6 | Who owns the London Eye

This iconic landmark of London has seen a few ownership pass-by. Originally owned by British Airways, Marks Barfield and the Tussauds Group, led to the Tussauds Group becoming the sole owners in 2006. The Tussauds Group was sold to Blackstone in 2007 which became Merlin Entertainments Groups. So, London Eye is now owned by Merlin Entertainments Group (Merlin).

Merlin signed a sponsorship agreement with lastminute dot com who took over from Coca-Cola as headline sponsors of London Eye. It is a three-year deal which took effect as of February 2020. This gives lastminute dot com full naming rights and will see the landmark lit up in the travel brand’s corporate pink colour.

7 | How long does it take to ride the London Eye

A full rotation of the London Eye takes 30 minutes to complete. It travels at a leisurely speed of 0.6 miles per hour. This leisurely ride gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views over London. The slow rotation also allows for visitors to board and disembark at ease without the wheel coming to a halt.

8 | How many capsules on the London Eye

The Eye has 32 capsules. Each represents the 32 boroughs in London. but they’re numbered from 1 to 33.

9 | Superstitious

Whether you believe in superstition or not and as with many buildings and structures, there is no number thirteen. The capsules skip from 12 to 14.

10 | Capsule #2 is Coronation Capsule

The second passenger capsule on the London Eye is known as the Coronation Capsule. This is in honour of the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Yeap, you got it – its Red! The only capsule in colour.

11 | Is London Eye a popular attraction?

Very popular! Without a doubt, the London Eye is the most popular paid attraction in London welcoming almost 4 million visitors a year. The most popular Free attraction in London is the British Museum which sees more than 6 million visitors each year.

Amongst it’s visitors are celebrities who have taken more than one ride! Jessica Alba has gone on the Eye 31 times and Kate Moss, 25 times.

On average the Eye supersedes the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza in annual visitor numbers.

12 | Can you hire the Eye for private events?

Absolutely yes! The Eye has been a popular venue for engagements, weddings, pop-up dining spots and a rotating nightclub!

According to records held by the organisers, there had been more than 500 weddings and more than 5,000 people have held their engagement on the Eye since it opened. The first wedding is recorded to have been held in 2001.

13 | Upgrade for a “sparkling” experience!

To really make your London Eye experience sparkle, enjoy a glass of Pommery Brut Royal champagne while you relax and enjoy the sublime views of London.

14 | How many people can the Eye accommodate

Each capsule can take about 25 people. This means that the London Eye can carry 800 people each rotation.

15 | What to experience on a day ride

There are many places to see on the River Thames or as you stroll the Southbank but none can compare to the views from the top – onboard the London Eye.

You will see most of London landmarks. Unobstructed views of Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Parks and so many more, as far as your eyes can see!

At its pinnacle of 135 metres, this largest cantilevered observation wheel gives you mesmerising 360-degree views of the City, laid out before you with views reaching as far as Windsor Castle, 25 kilometres away, on a clear day. Being so high up means that you can watch the River Thames stretch all the way to the horizon and the edge of the city limits.

16 | The London Eye is not the first big wheel in London

The London Eye had a predecessor. Simply known as The Great Wheel which was in working order from 1895 – 1906. It was a 40 car ferris wheel modelled on the original design from Chicago. It was 94 metres (308 feet) in height and 82.3 metres (270 feet) in diameter.

17 | A popular feature in movies

The London Eye had been featured in many movies. In 2002, it was in 28 Days Later, 2004’s Thunderbirds and in Harry Potter, 2007 – Order of the Phoenix and in 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2.

Harry Potter Tour from Kings X

If you are planning on a Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour when visiting London, note that this tour is a sold out event. You Must prebook well in advance to secure a visit. Take a look at availability below:

Book Harry Potter Studio Tour from London:

London Eye | Harry Potter Studios
London Eye | Harry Potter Studios
London Eye | Harry Potter Studios

18 | View the exact replica of the wheel

A short journey from London, about 48 kilometres (30 miles) away an exact replica of the wheel can be found, in miniature form.

Legoland - Picture from Get Your Guide
Image: GYG

Explore options to experience Legoland Windsor from London

Legoland Windsor has a scale model of the Eye as part of its Miniland exhibit, which also features models of the Palace of Westminster, the Millennium Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.


Practical information for when visiting the London Eye

Location and opening times as follows:

The London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London
SE1 7PB

Opening times varies due to Covid-19 lockdown measures, This space will be updated as soon as the attraction reopens.

Nearest Underground stations

The London Eye is located within easy walking distance from several London Underground stations: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster.

Waterloo is the closest tube station and is located about five minutes walking distance. Exit the station following signs for the South Bank.

Embankment and Charing Cross stations are close together on the north side of the River Thames. Both tube stations are a ten-fifteen minute walk to reach the destination.

Westminster tube station is the closest station to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. From Westminster tube station, take exit one and follow signs for Westminster pie

Purchase your tickets before your visit

With almost 4 million visitors a year, the London Eye is a very popular attraction. It is strongly recommended that you purchase your tickets online prior to your visit. Pay a little more and buy the skip-the-line ticket so you don’t have to wait in line. Sometimes queues can be for an hour or more. You do not want to spend long periods of time waiting when you can be maximising your time to sightseeing. In addition, if you are travelling with kids, you may not want to put them through the wait as well.

Peruse the following ticket choices and buy them before you travel. Enjoy the 24-hour cancellation rights afforded to travellers by our trusted partner, GYG and Viator

London Eye facts
London Eye fast track
London Eye | London Pass | City Card

Recommended read: The 7 key benefits of the London Pass & What you get to see for one encompassing price.


On a final note…

To be honest, in terms of London landmarks, London Eye sits alongside St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and the British Museum. It is big, it is the number one paid attraction by visitors and the views are spectacularly beautiful. To top it off, you can hire a capsule all for yourself and your group of friends for special occasions or simply upgrade for a personal experience over a glass of champagne. Design your experience for your next visit and have a fabulous time.

While visiting London, don’t miss out on the countryside – do a day trip to Stonehenge, or Windsor and combine it with a visit to the Cotswolds or Bath. If you have more time, go to Isle of Wight, the largest island on the south coast of England. Here are some choices for you.

london eye | windsor stonehenge bath day trip
The London Eye | oxford + cotswolds day trip from London
London Eye | leeds castle + canterbury cathedral + dover | day trip from london

If you are from abroad and plan to visit some of the iconic English Heritage sites across England, you may find the English Heritage Overseas Visitors Pass to be of great value – free access to 100+ sites for one price. A great value membership of the English Heritage is also available for UK residents. Peruse choices by navigating the links below.


Sincerely hope that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to the London Eye? If so, please use the links embedded in this post and related posts to book your experiences. TTS earns a commission from qualifying purchases, and as always your support is greatly appreciated to keep this blog going. We would love to hear your thoughts, please share them in comments below or via Contact Form.

Stay connected and Subscribe to join us at Timeless Travel Steps to receive all the latest news and events.


Have a great time exploring London 🙂

xoxo

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London | Latitude 1.509865, and Longitude is -0.118092

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London Eye 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London first published at timelesstravelsteps.com in June 2020 and is regularly updated. Last update October 30, 2021

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Sitting at 135m along the beautiful Southbank and handsomely rotating over the River Thames is the delightful London Eye, a masterpiece, and a symbol of London. But there are some facts you did not know about this cantilevered observation wheel via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Sitting at 135m along the beautiful Southbank and handsomely rotating over the River Thames is the delightful London Eye, a masterpiece, and a symbol of London. But there are some facts you did not know about this cantilevered observation wheel via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building?

What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building?

Walkie Talkie aka Sky Garden

The Walkie Talkie building also known as Sky Garden  opened in 2015 and it is a great place to visit at any time of the year. Suitable for solo travellers, couples as well as for families, a visit to this iconic building should be one of London’s “must do” items.

The building’s unique design has not always been a popular one and had drawn many glances, as well as comments which continues to do so to this day. Here is a brief look at what makes the walkie talkie the talk of town.

What went wrong with the walkie talkie building aka Sky Garden

The Sky Garden which stands at 20 Fenchurch Street is a uniquely designed building in the heart of London’s financial district. It is also known as the Walkie-talkie building because of its distinctive curvy shape which has a heavier top to maximise floor space towards the top of the building. It is an open and vibrant place of leisure offering visitors a different kind of experience of London.

The design of the walkie talkie building

This distinctive building, designed by Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly, was not always a popular building. It was once described as “inelegant, bloated, thuggish” and in 2015, it won the Carbuncle Cup, for being the worst building in London. Referred to as “The heavy top sticks out like a sore thumb and does not fit into the rest of the buildings in London’s skyline”.

Moreover, the sun reflecting off the glass façade was said to have blistered paintwork on cars and shop fronts. The temperature was said to be so high that it could fry an egg on the pavement.

In addition, the shape of the building was said to create a wind tunnel at the base so strong that it started to blow-off food trolleys and people!

The “death ray” situation was fixed by attaching sunshades to the glass panels to prevent the sun reflecting off it and wind-turbines to help reduce the wind issues associated with the downdraught.

However, to a great extent, it is still true, I think, that it does stick out and does not fit into the rest of London’s skyline and the surrounding area that has low-rise buildings.


Recommended read: 5 Reasons Why you will enjoy a visit to the Sky Garden London


How about you?

What do you think? Does the Walkie Talkie fit into London’s skyline? Do let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, would love to hear from you.

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I hope our stories at TTS will inspire you to travel and discover more of our world. Perhaps by sharing we can support each other.

Look forward to connecting & happy discovering London

Georgina xx


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What went wrong with the Walkie talkie building? first published at timelesstravelsteps and is regularly updated. Last update September 4, 2021

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What went wrong with the walkie talkie and a few facts about 20 Fenchurch Street. Walkie Talkie in London | Sky Garden in London | Things to do in London | Very best things to do in London | Free things to do in London | Unusual architecture in London | London landmarks | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/What went wrong with the walkie talkie and a few facts about 20 Fenchurch Street. Walkie Talkie in London | Sky Garden in London | Things to do in London | Very best things to do in London | Free things to do in London | Unusual architecture in London | London landmarks | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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