Discover how London began

London and its roots

Where: Guildhall Galleries, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE

Once upon a time, London was merely what we now call the City, the area that stretches around the financial district between St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. It may only cover 2.9 square km, but back in the day it contained a notorious prison, one of England's oldest public libraries and a Roman sports arena.

The capital of Britain since AD100, its model of government was so successful it was copied around the UK, and the Guildhall Galleries explain its remarkable history, with the Guildhall Art Gallery and its Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces, the City of London Heritage Gallery with its changing programme of ancient artifacts, the Guildhall Library and the Great Hall, the City's only secular medieval building dating back to 1411. All are free to visit.

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