With a history dating back over 2,000 years, London has filled some incredible architecture than spans through countless centuries and takes you into another world and era. While the capital has evolved over and over again throughout its lifetime, it still retains many of these older masterpieces of architecture, and they’re the perfect place to see another side of the city.
If you’re visiting London, it’s absolutely worth dedicating some time to go explore some of the oldest and most historic buildings in the capital. Check out great packages available on Pay on arrival hotels London and read on to find out which places you should add to your list of places that you can visit during your stay.
St Pancras Old Church
Many of the historic churches in London span back a few centuries, but St Pancras Old Church, located in Somers Town, is said to date back to the 4th century. The church is still standing and is a thriving and welcoming Catholic church, that is filled with history and fascinating stories about its past, as well as the community that has evolved around it.
You can find the church within the Kings Cross St Pancras area, which is easy to get to from the Piccadilly West End Hotel Spa. During your visit, it’s worth spending some time to learn more about the intriguing stories about the church and the people that have lived in the neighborhood over the centuries, with a walking tour that takes you around the beautiful building and nearby churchyard.
Temple of Mithras
While the Temple of Mithras no longer stands as a building, it is still one of the oldest and most fascinating remnants of architecture in London. The ruins of the Temple were unearthed in 1954 during an excavation on a nearby construction site in the City, and it is said to date back to the 3rd century. Dedicated to the Roman God, Mithras, the discovery highlighted a side of London that had been overlooked, and it also revealed many fascinating artifacts dating back to the Roman era.
You can now visit the London Mithraeum at the Bloomberg building in Walbrook, with incredible preserved remains, reconstructions and more, to help you travel back in time and experience a taste of Roman London for yourself.
The Pyx Chamber in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous churches in London and has featured in countless important ceremonies for royals for centuries, as well as having served as the resting place for many important luminaries. The church itself dates back centuries, and the Pyx Chamber is its oldest surviving part, dating back to the 11th century. While much of the church has undergone reconstruction and repair over the years, this part has stood the test of time and dates back to the days when Edward the Confessor built an abbey on these grounds.
During a visit here, you’ll still be able to see the original medieval flooring and tiles, as well as a medieval chest, which was once used to store important vestments.
Westminster Abbey is located within central London, and the distinctive building is worth a visit by day or night. If you’re visiting from the Piccadilly West End Hotel Spa, it’s most easily reached by Tube, where the Abbey is a short walk away from Westminster station.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
While many of the oldest buildings in London come from a religious origin, this historic city has also loved its arts and culture for centuries too. Amongst the many glittering establishments in the West End theatre, you’ll find one of its oldest theatres still in operation, the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane.
Dating back to 1663, the Theatre Royal survived both the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London in the 17th century, although suffered a mysterious fire of its own in 1672. It was rebuilt a few years later and the historic theatre is still operational today. Currently closed for renovations, it will be reclaiming its West End spotlight as the venue for the highly anticipated live musical version of Disney’s Frozen. The show is top of the list for many audience goers, and with excellent restaurants near Piccadilly nearby to enjoy a post-theatre dinner or drinks, it’s the perfect place to go to during your stay.
Tower of London
With members of the royal families of England and Great Britain residing in London for centuries, it’s no surprise that one of the most stunning oldest building still standing in the city has royal roots. The Tower of London began construction in the 11th century, after William the Conqueror’s victory in the country. And over the 1,000 years that it has stood there, the Tower has played many roles over time.
It’s most famously known for its use as a fortress and a prison, and has held several infamous prisoners, as well as executed a fair number of them. Built as a robust and impregnable fortress, the Tower has held young princes and princesses, renegade politicians and conspirators, as well as more common criminals. One of its many famous inmates include the young Princess Elizabeth I, as well as the conspirator, Guy Fawkes, and others involved in his plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The Tower is also known for the tragic story of the two young princes, sons of Edward VI, who were captured and then said to have been murdered in the tower during the War of the Roses in the late 15th century.
Due to its safety, the Tower has also been used for other important purposes too, including as the location of the Royal Mint, and a place to keep royal belongings safe and secure. Today, the Tower is still used to store the Crown Jewels safely, and you can visit them to take a closer look at the incredible jewels and items that have been passed down through royal lines for centuries to date.