The medieval Guildhall was originally built during the reigns of Henry IV and V (roughly around the time of Dick Whittington), and its Great Hall is one of the few buildings in the City of London to have survived the Great Fire of London.
This tour will take you into the Great Hall itself (it really is a beautiful room), where a guide will explain the history behind the characters in the statues and paintings. The greatest names from British history are there, from Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington to Sir Winston Churchill. You'll also see the mythical protectors of London, Gog and Magog, staring down from the balcony.
What really this tour interesting, is that it takes place on the same day as the City of London's Common Council meeting. This is the monthly meeting between the Aldermen and Lord Mayor, who will parade in from the back and discuss issues affecting the City. (They only oversee the City of London, the so-called Square Mile, which is inside the old city walls -- Greater London as a whole is run by the Mayor at City Hall.)
If you don't mind waiting around for an hour after the tour has finished, you can sit inside the Great Hall and watch the Common Council for free.
Craig has been to both of these events and he definitely recommends them -- if only to see inside the Great Hall, which is easily one of the most beautiful rooms in London. Read his review of the Guildhall tour before you go, and feel free to ask him some questions. Then read through his review of the Common Council meeting as well. And whilst you're there... it would be a shame not to go and see the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery next door.
If you enjoy this tour then there a couple of other events that you might like to check out. The first one is a guided tour of Mansion House, which is the Lord Mayor's official home (it's that Romanesque looking building opposite the Royal Exchange, with the Corinthian columns out the front). If you thought the Great Hall was a beautiful room, then wait until you see inside this place!
If you enjoyed watching the Common Council meeting then how about watching the Mayor of London at City Hall as well? City Hall is nowhere near as beautiful as the Guildhall, but the discussions they have are far wider-ranging, and have much more effect on Londoner's lives.
Craig’s review – “Not many tourists bother with the Guildhall because it's tucked away in a side street off Cheapside. Not a lot of locals bother with it either, which is a shame, because it's one of the most historic buildings in London. The Saxons are supposed to have built the first one on the stumps of the Roman amphitheatre, but the one we see today is 15th-century. Ignore the whi… continued”
Common Council meeting with the Lord Mayor – 18 Oct, 6 Dec 2018, 10 Jan, 7 Mar, 25 Apr, 23 May, 20 Jun, 18 Jul, 12 Sep, 10 Oct and 5 Dec 2019 – Attend a meeting of the Common Council at the Guildhall and see the Aldermen and Lord Mayor of London
Somerset House Historical Highlights – Every Thu and Sat – This tour has tales about Tudor intrigues and the extravagant entertainments laid on during Georgian times
Guided walk around Charles Dickens’ London – Every Fri – This guided walk will take you around some of the most memorable streets and locations that Charles Dickens used in his novels.
11 — London’s cheapest sightseeing bus – Every day – If you don't fancy spending 25-30 pounds on an open-top sightseeing bus, then there's a much cheaper alternative — the No 11 bus.
City Highlights: The Top 10 sights – Every Mon, Wed and Sun – A two-hour guided walk around the Square Mile, showing you some of the most famous historical sites and buildings in the City of London.
Mansion House: The Lord Mayor’s Residence – Every Tue – Look inside the Lord Mayor of London's official residence at Mansion House and see the interior courtyard and famous Egyptian Hall.
Guided tour of Wren’s best churches – Every Tue and Thu – This guided walk will look at the outside of St Pauls Cathedral and at a selection of Christopher Wren's finest City churches
Look for more guided tours in January
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans