London’s awash with history. We’re so lucky that at every turn our capital city has ancient landmarks, palaces, cathedrals and buildings. What better way to see them than on a fun urban treasure trail?
Foxtrail is a new addition to the wide variety of London tourist attractions, with teams working together to find clues, solve riddles and crack puzzles to follow a walking route around the city in the quickest time (you don’t have to race!).
Here are some cool historical facts about our Lancelot route
There’s been a church on this site for more than 1,000 years. Before that it was a Roman villa. Its pavement was incorporated into the floor. Excavations discovered a well and a pagan statue below the choir! London sightseeing around London Bridge and the South Bank should always include this beautiful cathedral.
Dating back from the early Middle Ages, this 13th-century palace is now in ruins. But it makes for one of the fascinating things to see in London on the Foxtrail route. It was once one of London’s most important buildings, home to the Bishops of Winchester. Today, you can still see the remaining Great Hall walls and rose window. There’s also a medieval style garden in the ruins.
Isaac Newton’s House
Sir Isaac Newton famously worked out that, thanks to gravity, what goes up must come down. Unfortunately, his former home at 35 St Martin’s Street came down some time after his death in 1727.
While he didn’t come up with the law of gravity here, he did build himself a nice little observatory on the roof. It’s reckoned a lucky American snapped up the famous observatory for £100 in the 1860s.
Ships on the Thames
Ships have been synonymous with the River Thames since the first settlements. From the old, a replica of the Golden Hind is docked at Southwark. Sir Francis Drake sailed the Golden Hind on his jaunt around the globe, sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I.
Nearby, the “modern” HMS Belfast is still moored up proudly in the shadow of Tower Bridge. Now a museum and one of the popular places to visit in London, she saw service at the D-Day Landings as well as the Korean War.
First built in 1547, it’s current incarnation dates back to 1776. Behind exhibitions, film sets and its now-famous winter ice rink there’s some interesting history.
For instance, the North Wing’s four statues from 1778 represent the then-know four continents. The America statue bears a spear – because at the time we were at war with America!
St Katharine Docks
Once a hub of trade with goods coming up the River Thames from all over the world, St Katharine’s, just to the east of Tower Bridge is now an oasis of calm, away from the traffic offering shops and eateries. A pleasant stop-off on any London attractions walk, the current dock was constructed by Sir Thomas Telford and opened officially in 1828.
To see fascinating historical sites like these, join Foxtrail for a treasure trail across the city.