The Monument – Review for families

Are the views worth the 311 steps to see them? Our family day out guide has all the information you need

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What is it?

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The Monument is a statue in memorial of the Great Fire of London. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who was also the designer of St Paul’s Cathedral. Find it in the City of London right next to Monument tube station.

Best for:

9 – 12 / 12 +

OK for:

5 – 8, depending on how good they are at walking!

Cost

£ – it’s £4 per adult and £2 per child under 16.

What’s on offer

The Monument is a piece of architectural history and one of London’s famous landmarks. It’s frequently repaired and restored to ensure it is suitable for public visit and was most recently re-opened in 2009. In addition to admiring the beautiful stonework, visitors will be in the presence of the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It’s positioned just a few feet away from where the 1666 fire began.

Once you’ve climbed the 311 steps to reach the observation gallery, you’ll be able to experience what the website calls “unique and exhilarating” views across London. For visitors unable to walk up so man steps, there is a video installation available for viewing online.

A visit to the monument isn’t time-consuming, yet fortunately its location is just a few minutes walk from the London Bridge, with incredible views of the Tower Bridge on offer. You’ll also be able to see famous modern buildings such as The Gherkin and The Shard in the vicinity.

There are some excellent family attractions within 15 minutes walking time from the Monument:

Golden Hinde II

HMS Belfast

Old Operating Theatre Museum

Tower of London

Millennium Bridge

St Paul’s Cathedral

Tower Bridge Exhibition

Tate Modern

Museum of London

Highlights

The views are gorgeous and the open air, sans the glare of a glass window pane, is amazing for taking pictures. It’s very inexpensive in comparison to other attractions that boast similar views. Some TripAdvisor users also noted that they were given a certificate for completing the walk, which is a nice souvenir to mark the accomplishment for young children.

What to watch out for

– In order to keep the Monument at its best, you are not allowed to take large bags up to the top with you. You’ll be asked to leave them at base level until your return. Things like buggies etc are a no-go.

– There are no toilets in the Monument, so plan around the lack of facilities when organizing other events. There are a few coffee shops and pubs in the area, though.

– If you or your child have difficult walking or suffer from claustrophobia, it’s best to admire this attraction from the outside as part of a longer day trip.

– 311 steps is quite a lot – if you feel fit enough to give it a go, don’t forget water bottles and maybe even a fan.

– There’s nothing to do here aside from enjoy the views, so please bear in mind that this landmark may not be entertaining for younger children. You may also have to carry them up the steps.

– Opening times will vary for each individual attraction. If you want to visit more than just the Monument, make sure to use the official website information to plan your day.

MFM tips

– If you’re looking for something a little more alternative, Monument is approximately 20 minutes walking distance from East London’s trendy district Shoreditch, where you can eat and shop at Shoreditch’s famous Brick Lane and explore Spitalfields City Farm. Such a treat for the family after all that exercise!

What the owners say

“The column was completed in 1677, and in accordance with Wren’s original intention, was at first used as a place for certain experiments of the Royal Society, but vibrations caused by ceaseless traffic proved too great for the success of these experiments and they were discontinued; thereafter the Monument became a place of historic interest, unique of its kind, providing visitors with an opportunity to look across London in all directions from a height of about 160 feet, being the level of the public gallery.”

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Visit the official Monument website

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