City of London: The heart of the capital…
At the heart of London City is one of the biggest financial districts in the world, rivalling that of New York, and it’s home to the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange. Known as the Square Mile, the City roughly follows the boundary of the old Roman City, and it’s been a centre of commerce for centuries so it’s no surprise to see glass fronted modern skyscrapers like Searcy’s the Gherkin and OXO2 towering above medieval alleys and beautiful historic buildings, among them Somerset House, Merchant Taylor’s Hall and Threadneedles.
London City is a built-up area with not much in the way of green spaces, though there are a few small parks and surprisingly, tucked away amongst it are a couple of gems like The HAC, sitting in five acres of glorious grounds. The streets are a bustle with suited and booted city workers, traders heading to the markets at Billingsgate and Leadenhall, or shoppers after a glitzy sparkler from the jewellery quarter at Hatton Garden. You’ll see folk relaxing on the seats outside of bars and cafes, watching the world go by and enjoying being a part of the buzz.
There’s a mix of very swanky and rather quirky bars and restaurants, popular with bankers and traders after a hard days graft at the office; Butler’s Wharf Chop House, Forge, and Balls Brothers Austin Friars, and after hours the streets throb to a different beat with some funky late night venues – Core Bar, Babble City and Amber – all rock on for parties and celebrations.
London City is huge on history, with several magnificent ornate buildings, some dating back to medieval times, and there are some of the best museums and galleries in town, among them the illustrious Barbican Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Museum of London. And of course, there are several famous landmarks; the Tower of London, the London Dungeon, and the Monument to the Great Fire of London, incidentally just 202 feet from the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started and – did you know? You can climb all 311 steps to top – imagine the views!
You can also check out the cityscape from the Sky Lounge at the top of Double Tree by Hilton Hotel close to Tower Bridge, and from the Shard, you get a city vista that stretches over 30 miles! Time it right and it’ll knock your socks off when you catch the sun setting over the city.