London

The Oldest Buildings in London

One of the world’s global cities, London has an extensive history dating back to the Romans and beyond. Home to four World Heritage Sites, it boasts some of the oldest buildings in the country, some of which date back nearly 1,000 years.

If you are planning a luxury break in London and are looking forward to discovering the past and present of the city, here are some of the oldest buildings to put on your list. From Roman settlements to Norman towers, fly through the centuries on a historic sight-seeing tour. 

All Hallows by the Tower – AD 675

Thought to be the oldest church in London, All-Hallows-by-the-Tower is believed to originally date back to AD 675. Cited in the Domesday Book of 1086, it has been a consistent presence for the people of London for a thousand years and is definitely worth visiting if you have time. Gruesomely, owing to its position near the Tower of London, it was once used a temporary burial site for people beheaded at nearby Tower Hill – although fortunately this brutal practice has long been consigned to the past. Though it underwent extensive restoration following a serious explosion in 1650, the building still retains many of its original features and is home to an interesting museum, located in its crypt, containing various religious artefacts and information about its turbulent past. 

Pyx Chamber – AD 1070

The Pyx Chamber, or Pyx Chapel, is one of the earliest surviving parts of Westminster Abbey, dating back to 1070. Located off the East Cloister under what would have been a monks’ dormitory, it was once considered the most secure room in London and used as a treasury. The name “Pyx” actually comes from the wooden boxes that used to be housed in the chamber, holding newly minted silver and gold pieces awaiting judicial approval. To this day, it still possesses some of its original 11th Century tiles, as well as original features including a large Medieval chest and early 14th Century oak doors.

Westminster Hall – AD 1097 

Playing a central role in not just London’s but Britain’s history since AD 1097, Westminster Hall is one of the oldest and most important parts of the Palace of Westminster – home to the Houses of Parliament. Built following the Norman Conquest, it has hosted countless meetings, ceremonies and events since its completion in AD 1099 and has witnessed some of the greatest, as well as most controversial, dates in British history. Within the cavernous hall, particular features of note include its enormous hammer-beam roof, the largest medieval timber roof in Northern Europe, and 13 statues from the 14th Century depicting each king from Edward the Confessor to Richard II.

White Tower – AD 1097

Another of the oldest buildings in London, the Tower of London was commissioned by William the Conqueror following his 1066 invasion. The oldest part of this, the White Tower, was built to purvey power and strength, standing all of 90 feet high in the heart of the city. Today, it is one of the most famous castle keeps in existence and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting onlookers from near and far wanting to admire this immaculately preserved piece of history. Snap pictures of its formidable façade and venture in to see its extraordinary Royal Armouries collections, including silvered and engraved armour worn by a young Henry VIII. 

St. Pancras Old Church – AD 314

If you believe London lore, St Pancras could possibly be the oldest building in the city. While little documentation exists to back it up, it’s been stated that the church dates all the way back to AD 314 – making it one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in the country. Built on the site of a former Roman settlement, it actually features an original, Roman tile within its exposed Medieval wall – placed as either a nod to its Roman heritage or as an act of industrious recycling by its Medieval builders. Visit today and see the grave of Benjamin Franklin’s son and retrace the steps of Charles Dickens, who mentioned the church in his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

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