This week I was in the City of London and on impulse decided to climb to the top of Monument. Monument was built to remember the great fire of London. It was the handiwork of Sir Christopher Wren and stands on the site of the first Church to burn down in the fire.
For four pounds you can climb up 311 narrow, circular steps to get to the view at the top. It’s quite a climb and a little claustrophobic.
They had a spate of suicides in the 1800s and after that they put up a wire cage to contain any of us who feel like jumping, and this does ruin the view somewhat.
It’s not the greatest view of London. The Shard is better, but at £26 it’s a little expensive. You can save money by going to the Shangri-La hotel for a drink and seeing the same view for the price of a drink, albeit a few floors lower down. However you have to book in advance and, as always in London, weather is an issue. When I went it was misty and you couldn’t see much.
If you have fifteen pounds to spare you can climb the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford, which is the highest sculpture in the world so they say. It’s worth looking around for deals if you want to do this, as they frequently run price reductions or 2:1 offers.
The staff are all very enthusiastic, but they can’t change the view, which does still resemble a building site. Once there you can use interactive screens to see the view by day or night and read about what it is exactly you’re looking at.
Or you can appreciate the mirrors designed by Anish Kapoor (of Turner prize fame) and look at the view upside down.
If you want to be a real cheapskate though, good free views of the city are available at Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath. Tate Modern, Alexandra Park and Crystal Palace park also provide good free views.