Before the Great Fire of 1666 there were eight churches in the City dedicated to “All Hallows”, meaning “all the saints” rather than one saint in particular. It seems the bankers and traders of the City 400 years ago already knew something about hedging their bets. It’s a circular walk of just over 4.5 kilometres (3 miles) and for that reason you can pick almost anywhere to start. But my suggestions is to start at London Bridge for two reasons. First, Borough Market is nearby with excellent food and pubs to start or end at. Second, walking over London Bridge you can see St Pauls to the left and the Tower of London to the right. That was the extent of the original walled City of London so half close your eyes and imagine you are travelling back in time with those two points to anchor you.
When you get to the end of the bridge, go down the steps to the foot path along the banks of the Thames. Walk west past the Oyster Shed pub (an alternative place to start or finish) and then up All Hallows Lane. There were two churches here, where the fire station and the Nomura Building stand. They were All Hallows the Great and All Hallow the Less. Sadly nothing of these two remain apart from the name of the lane you were walking on. Now walk underneath Cannon St Station and up along its side to Canon St proper. Turn left and walk up past Mansion House towards St Pauls. Turn right into Bread Street. The church of All Hallows Bread Street stood at the crossing of Watling St and Bread Street but there is no trace of it here. But If you keep on going up Bread St to Cheapside you will find the memorial to the poet John Milton on the wall of St Mary le Bow near the entrance. This tablet was originally in the church of All Hallows Bread Street where John Milton was baptised.
Just across the road from St Mary le Bow is a covered alley way called Honey Lane – look for the carved stone bee overhead marking the entrance. All Hallows Honey Lane stood here – if you do a little exploring you should be able to find the wall plaque pictured (ALL.H.H.L 1846) marking the parish boundary high up to the right above the Massimo Dutti shop. Go through Honey Lane alley and zig zag your way up towards London Wall. You should emerge near the London Wall Moorgate crossroads. Now walk East down London Wall – this is the line of the old Roman defensive wall – to find All Hallows on the Wall.
Go past the church to the Bishopsgate crossing and then walk down Bishopsgate and Gracechurch street. Duck into Bell Inn Yard half way down Gracechurch Street a little bit past the entrance to Leadenhall Market (Harry Potter fans may recognise this). Then walk down George Yard past the church of St Edmund King and Martyr and on to Lombard St. The church of All Hallows Lombard Street stood here where the office complex at the corner of Lombard Street and Gracechurch street is. But the only remaining sign of its presence is a parish boundary marker shown here ( A.L.H 1883) to the right above the door of 39 Lombard St.
Now cross over Gracechurch St into Fenchurch Street and continue until you get to Mark Lane on the right. Turn into Mark Lane to find the remaining tower of All Hallows Staining. Go all the way down Mark Lane and you will come out by All Hallows by the Tower.
I call this walk the Eight (Deadly) Hallows walk partly as a shameless attempt to attract Harry Potter fans but also because you are now standing near Tower Hill the site of countless public execution. Very few people were executed actually inside the Tower of London – it normally took place on this hill outside. Walk past the church of All Hallows by the Tower towards the entrance to the Tower of London and pick up the Thames path again. Walk back to the west towards London Bridge and your starting point.