Bang in the centre of the Square Mile, Guildhall has been the City’s seat of government for more than 800 years. The present building dates from the early 15th century, making it the only existing secular stone structure to have survived the Great Fire of 1666, although it was severely damaged both then and during the Blitz of 1940.
Check in at reception to visit the impressive Great Hall , where you can see the banners and shields of London’s 12 principal livery companies, or guilds, which used to wield absolute power throughout the city. The lord mayor and two sheriffs are still elected annually in the vast open hall. Among the monuments to look out for are statues of Winston Churchill, Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder. In the upper gallery, at the western end, are statues of the biblical giants Gog and Magog, traditionally considered to be guardians of the City – today’s figures replaced similar 18th-century statues destroyed in the Blitz. The Guildhall’s stained glass was also blown out during the Blitz, but a modern window in the southwestern corner depicts the city’s history – look out for a picture of London’s most famous lord mayor, Richard ‘Dick’ Whittington, with his famous cat, a scene of the Great Fire and even the Lloyd's of London building.