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Old Bailey, London

3.9
#200 of 425 in Sightseeing in London
Government Building Tourist Spot
The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street on which it stands, is a court in London and one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court. Part of the present building stands on the site of the medieval Newgate gaol, on a road named Old Bailey that follows the line of the City of London's fortified wall (or bailey), which runs from Ludgate Hill to the junction of Newgate Street and Holborn Viaduct. The Old Bailey has been housed in several structures near this location since the 16th century, and its present building dates from 1902.The Crown Court sitting at the Central Criminal Court deals with major criminal cases from within Greater London and in exceptional cases, from other parts of England and Wales. Trials at the Old Bailey, as at other courts, are open to the public; however, they are subject to stringent security procedures.HistoryThe court originated as the sessions house of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London and of Middlesex. The original medieval court was first mentioned in 1585; it was next to the older Newgate gaol, and seems to have grown out of the endowment to improve the gaol and rooms for the Sheriffs, made possible by a gift from Richard Whittington. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt in 1674, with the court open to the weather to prevent the spread of disease.
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93 reviews
  • This imposing building is the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. On the dome above the building stands a statue of Lady Justice with a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the othe...  more »
  • I have long wanted to see the workings of a court and where better than the Bailey. Leave your mobile at home and take your legal mind and patient ear to this most historic of courtrooms to see the bi...  more »
  • With the gold some and scales of justice looks very much the central court. The large prisoner entrance in newgate street. Must be intimidating to prisoners entering in vans. This compares to an almos...  more »

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Many of London's main attractions are spread out, so nearby public transportation is key. There is no downtown area as such in London, and some of the least expensive hotels have more convenient access to tourist sites than the costlier ones. For a quintessential London experience, consider staying in the West End. This part of town offers excellent theaters, historical sites, and eating and shopping options for every taste. Lodging won’t be cheap, but you’ll have the colorful variety of London life right at your doorstep. Look at Notting Hill or Chelsea for charming and less expensive boutique hotels and B&Bs.
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