|An Inns of Court Walk
Route & what to see
An almost circular 3 mile walk
from Temple tube station (District & Circle lines) finishing
at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. Chancery Lane
Station (Central line) is on the route.
Note: it will not be possible to do this walk at weekends or public holidays. Some places are open at lunchtimes (details below).
A quiz is available in conjunction with this walk [click here]
From Temple Station walks
eastwards along Temple Place
Two Temple Place has been acquired and preserved by the Bulldog Trust. It was built to elaborate specifications by JL Pearson for William Waldorf Astor in 1895 as his residence and estate office. It was constructed on reclaimed land following completion of the Victoria Embankment in 1870. [website]
Left along Victoria Embankment
The dragon marks the boundary between Westminster and the City of London. These particular dragons came from the coal exchange (demolished in 1963) but half-size copies were made for other City boundaries.
Left through gates into Middle
The elaborate archway is part of buildings designed by EM Barry in 1879. To the left are Middle Temple (Lamb & Flag badge) and to the right Inner Temple (Pegasus - winged horse badge).
Left into Fountain Court.
The 16th century Middle Temple Hall with a fine hammer beam roof is on the left. Shakespeare's company performed Twelfth Night here in February 1602. There is a mulberry tree ahead.
At the fountain go to the left
down steps alongside Middle Temple Gardens.
These would have stretched down to the river before the Embankment was built. It is traditionally thought that the red and white roses which became badges during the War of the Roses were picked here.
Return to the fountain and go
up the steps ahead. Exit to the left between New Court and
New Court was designed by Nicholas Barbon in 1676.
Follow the road to the right
into the Strand and go right.
On the right are the narrow premises of Twining Teas. Further along Lloyds Law Court Branch, which was formerly a restaurant, has elaborate tilework. Notice the building beyond this is Outer Temple. The Wig & Pen Club dates to 1625 but is now a restaurant. The column topped with the City Dragon replaced Temple Bar. This was removed in the 1760s (to aid traffic flow!) but has now been relocated in Paternoster Square. The dragon differs from that at the other City boundaries.
Go through gates on the right
into Middle Temple Lane and follow this through.
Brick Court & Essex Court are on the right.
Go left into Pump Court.
Except for the south side, this is as rebuilt in 1686 following a fire.
Return to Middle Temple Lane
and go next left into Elm Court (Garden).
There is a plaque on what was the ancient buttery at the far end.
To the right of this go
through to Crown Office Row. Access this from Middle Temple Lane
if passage is blocked.
The Hall, Treasury and Library of the Inner Temple are to left.
Right at Kings Bench Walk
Paper Buildings on the left were designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1838 replacing those with walls of lathe and plaster.
Return along Kings Bench Walk
A number of houses here were designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Just past the library go left
into Church Court
On the right is the Master's House, a post-war copy of the 1667 building. The round section of Temple Church was built in 1185 and the chancel added in the 13th century. It is shared by Middle and Inner Temple. The Cloisters ahead were rebuilt after WWII bomb damage. There is a central statue of two knights on horseback.
Opposite the western end of Temple Church go into Hare Court.
Return and go left along Inner
Temple Lane into Fleet Street.
John Mortimer had chambers in Dr Johnson's Building. Above the Temple entrance is Prince Henry's Room. This 17th century building has a fine frontage and panelled first floor room with plaster ceiling and collection relating to Samuel Pepys (no access at present).
Go along Chancery Lane
The corner jewellers was built in 1884. There is a plaque at the location of the former Sejeants Inn on the right and further along the entrance to Cliffords Inn. Hodgsons (former book auction rooms) has an interesting frontage. The old Public Records Office is now part of Kings College. Number 114 is the former Law Fire Insurance Office. The Law Society building was designed by Lewis Vulliamy in 1831 and extended by Charles Holden in 1902. Ede & Ravenscroft, old established outfitters to the legal profession, have a shop on the left.
Go left through Chichester
Rents and left at Star Yard
An old cast iron urinal is sited here. The rear of Ede & Ravenscroft is of interest. In Dickens 'Bleak House' the premises of Krook were in Star Yard.
Go right at Carey Street to
Number 60 is a house of 1732. The Law Courts are to the left and there are examples of K2 (larger) & K6 telephone boxes. On the right the Silver Mousetrap shop (1690), the Seven Stars pub (1602) and Sir Thomas More's chambers were added onto the back of New Square buildings.
Return along Carey Street and
go through the passage on the left into New Square
Wildy & Sons Legal Bookshop has been within this archway since 1830.
Continue ahead to view the
Great Hall, Library & Gardens.
The hall and library were designed by Philip Hardwick in 1845 whilst the small building now used by the Head Gardener was designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1852.
Right at Stone Buildings
These were designed by Sir Robert Taylor in 1780 and extended by Philip Hardwick in the 1840s.
Go right through Old Square to
the Chapel Undercroft
This provided a sheltered meeting place. The foundation stone of the chapel was laid by John Donne in 1620.
Continue into Gatehouse Court.
The Old Hall to the west dates back to 1490. The gatehouse of 1518 was rebuilt in the 1960s.
Exit through the arch into
Chancery Lane and go left. Go right at Southampton Buildings.
The London Silver Vaults are to the left and the Patents Office to the right.
At the corner continue ahead
through gate into Staple Inn. Go down steps and around the garden
then up steps and through the courtyard into Holborn. Chancery
Lane Station is located here.
The frontage of these buildings retain their timber framing but were extensively reconstructed in the 1930s.
Go right along Holborn to view
Barnards Inn (entrance on the right)
The 15th century hall and other buildings are now used by Gresham College. It was an Inn of Chancery from 1435. The Mercer's School was here 1892 - 1959 and the site was redeveloped for the Mercers in 1991-2.
Return along Holborn crossing
the road. Go through the passage to the right, just before the
Cittie of Yorke pub, into South Square.
A young Charles Dickens worked at number 1, the only building to survive wartime bombing. There is a statue of Francis Bacon.
Continue through into Grays
Inn Square ahead.
The library, hall and chapel were all reconstructed after WWII bomb damage
Go through passage to left.
Continue through Field Court ahead
Grays Inn Gardens known as 'The Walks' are on the right.
At the end go right then up
the steps through the gate in the wall into Jockeys Fields.
Continue along Sandland Street ahead.
There are fine 18th century houses in Bedford Row to the right.
Go left at Hand Court. Cross
High Holborn and go through Great Turnstile into Lincoln's Inn
Fields. Go right and then left around the square.
Number 19 is by Philip Webb and numbers 17-18 by Alfred Waterhouse. The Soane Museum is at 12 - 14. Numbers 59 & 60 are the only original buildings on the west side.
Exit into Portugal Street
Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop (probably in Orange Street) was pulled down but this is still an attractive survivor from 1567.
Go along St Clements Lane then
Clements Inn Passage into the Strand and go left
The Royal Courts of Justice are open to the public and worth visiting. There is lots of information and a suggested tour on the website (see below). Arundel Street leads from the SW of St Clement Danes Church back to Temple tube station.
Grays Inn Gardens, Lincoln's Inn Gardens & Lincoln's Inn Chapel are open 12-2:30 on weekdays
Middle Temple Gardens are open weekdays 12 - 3 May - September
Inner Temple Gardens are open weekdays 12:30 - 3. Entrance on the north side (Crown Office Row).
Temple Church is open on occasions [website]
Prince Henry's Room is currently closed
The Royal Courts of Justice are open 9-4:30 Mon - Fri (security checks - certain items may not be taken into the building including cameras) [website]
Middle Temple Hall MAY be open 10-11:30 & 3-4 (check on 020 7427 4800). Guided tours can be arranged for small groups by written request to The Treasury Office, Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT.
Buildings of England London 1: The City of London by Bradley & Pevsner
Books of London walks will often have Inns of Court/ Legal London routes including 'Walking London' by Andrew Duncan.
A comprehensive guide which includes 4 walks plus lots of photos is 'Fleet Street, Holborn and the Inns of Court' by Roger Hudson - a London Guide from Haggerston Press.
An excellent site guide book is available to purchase at the Royal Courts of Justice
The Inner Temple website has additional information.
The history of Middle Temple is included on the website.
Some panoramas of buildings are available on the Grays Inn website
Information on the history and buildings of Lincolns Inn is included on the website.
© london-footprints.co.uk 2012