These days, if you want a good view across London you visit superskyscrapers The Shard, the Walkie Talkie or take a spin on the London Eye.
But there’s a 17th century vantage point which is still holding its own and brings the visitors flocking in. It doesn’t even have a lift, but 311 stone steps to a small viewing platform. The Monument was erected to mark London’s regeneration after the devastating Great Fire of 1666, with golden plumes of flame atop the slender stone pillar.
So it was less than good planning to turn up on a Bank Holiday around midday. It was very busy, with two-way traffic on the narrow stairway. And the viewing platform was quite a squeeze. But the views are impressive, given that modern viewpoints tower over this one. There’s no grubby, over-reflective glass either, but a sturdy wire mesh which you can photograph through – and is an interesting feature in its own right.
Clamber up the stone steps if you find yourself in the City of London – you’ll get a certificate for your efforts. But do come early.