Places to see in London City of London
City of London Attractions
Also known as the Square Mile (because it is one square mile!), the City of London is one of London’s most historically interesting quarters and offers any curious visitor a huge amount to get stuck into. Stretching from Aldgate in the east to Chancery Lane in the west, this ceremonial county contains a host of London’s most noteworthy and famous attractions. From Sir Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral to Dr Johnson’s House, there’s something for everyone in this ancient area.
Recommended Attraction in City of London
To get the most out of the area, we recommend planning a strong itinerary, as unlike some parts of London, aimless rambling in these parts might be fruitless; it’s best to know where you’re going before setting off. So to get you started, we think the most interesting and best hidden gem of the Square Mile is Temple Church. This ancient church is famous for being the home of the controversial Knights Templar (made famous by the film Da Vinci Code) and offers visitors a unique insight into one of the world’s most influential places of worship. Hidden behind a small, wooden door on the southern side of Fleet Street, the church and its courtyards are unspoilt by any passing traffic and attract a surprisingly and refreshingly small number of tourists; so you’re almost guaranteed a peaceful stroll amongst the flagstones and magnolia trees dotted about. The church itself is a marvel of medieval architecture, but if you want something a little more, you can walk south from here through the Inns of Court to the Inner Temple Gardens for an unspoilt trip through history, then arrive on the north bank of the Thames, ready to cross the river for a day of South Bank amusement!
Alternative Things To Do in City of London
There’s more than enough to keep a traveller amused in this area for years, let alone a short city break, and we recommend seeing the most iconic venues first. Take a look around St Paul’s Cathedral and then splash out on some bespoke shopping in St Paul’s shopping centre. Get a drink in The Blackfriar at the junction between Blackfriars Bridge and Farringdon Road, a famous Victorian watering-hole notorious amongst lawyers and the Fleet Street press, as well as reputedly being the site of a Victorian prison; visit Dr Johnson’s house on Gough Square to discover all about the famous dictionary compiler; play a round of indoor golf at Urban Golf Royal Smithfield (and have a cocktail while you’re at it!); or follow the course of history by tracing remnants of the London Wall by following, you guessed it, London Wall. While you’re there, you should visit one of London’s best but lesser known museums, the Museum of London. There’s simply too much to do in the Square Mile to list, but this would be a good start! Nightlife lacks a little in the area, but follow your nose and you’re bound to find the right thing for you.
Attraction List in City of London
With so much walking and historical sight-seeing to do, you’d be well advised to visit our City of London hotel booking service and snap up a great deal at one of our many budget hotels in the area. You’ll be grateful of the place to rest your aching feet, and with deals like ours, you can use the cash you save to get the most out of your London experience.
One of the oldest hospitals is St Bartholomew’s, and you can come to the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum and Archives to get a sense of what’s gone on here for nearly four hundred years. One of the most precious artefacts here is the agreement between Henry VII and the City of London to establish the hospital in the 12th Century.
Address: W Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE
Phone: 020 7377 7000
Another definite must-visit during your time in the City of London is the Barbican Centre. It might be worth setting aside a few hours here as there is so much to see and do. Whilst at the Barbican Centre you can visit the Giant Barbican Hall and Barbican Art Gallery amongst others, and if you’re lucky you could see the London Symphony Orchestra, as this is their official home. The simplicity and imposing nature of this £150.00 million centre hides the cultural diversity that you’ll find within.
Address: Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Phone: 020 7638 4141
Visit the Museum of London and get an amazing insight into life in London throughout the ages. Over 1.1 million objects are housed here, from prehistoric times to the modern day, and include the Temple of Mithras and a special exhibition remembering the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Address: 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Phone: 020 7001 9844
There’s a real sense of royalty and governance throughout the City of London and you’ll get another great insight into this at the Guildhall. The Guildhall has been the centre of the Government for the City of London since the middle ages and it holds the honour of being the only stone secular building to survive both the Blitz and the Great Fire. Come here for a guided tour to get a better understanding of the building.
Address: Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH
Phone: 020 7606 3030
You’ll hear the sound of the ‘Bow Bells’ throughout your time in the City of London, and you can come to St Mary-Le-Bow Church to see where the chimes are coming from. The church is so popular now that a restaurant has been opened – The Place Below – where you can grab a bite of breakfast or lunch.
Address: Cheapside, London EC2V 6AU
The beautiful Goldsmiths Hall was built in 1835 by Phillip Hardwick, and when you come here you’ll be inspired by the stunning artwork, goldsmithing, silversmithing and jewellery. You need to check when a tour is being run as the hall is not open to the public all the time.
Address: 13 Foster Lane, London EC2V 6BN
Phone: 020 7606 7010
You really wouldn’t be getting a true sense of the financial roots of the area without paying a visit to the Bank of England! One of the best parts of the Bank of England, from a tourist’s view, is the Bank of England Museum. The museum will give you an experience of how the bank has evolved from its origins in 1694 to its current role today.
Address: Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH
Phone: 020 7601 4444
One of the best ways to get a panoramic view across London is to take the 311 spiral steps to the top of The Monument, so get climbing! The Christopher Wren designed monument was erected between 1671 and 1677 to mark the Great Fire of London in 1666 and is the tallest self-supporting column in the world.
Address: Fish Street Hill, London EC3R 6DB
Phone: 020 7626 2717
One of the most famous attractions and landmarks in the whole of the capital is the Tower of London. When William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066 he established the Tower of London, on the outskirts of the city walls. The tower has Royal Palace status and its famous former prisoners include Guy Fawkes and, in more recent times, the legendary Kray twins.
Address: London EC3N 4AB
Phone: 0844 482 7777
The City of London is very much known as a business and financial district today, and this in none more evident than at world famous Lloyds of London. Today it is housed in a modern 20th Century building, but it originates back to the 17th Century, and you can take tours and see the various collections on display to honour its heritage.
Address: 1 Lime Street, London EC3M 7HA
Phone: 020 7327 1000
The City of London is a real haven for those in search of some of the finest examples of old and new architecture and a prime example of this is the Gherkin (or Swiss Re Tower). This unique shaped building was designed by Norman Foster and opened in 2004. Even though it’s rarely open to the public, it’s well worth going just to stand and stare!
Address: 30 Saint Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8EP
Phone: 020 7292 4747
Take a stroll around Mansion House and you’ll get a feel for how the Lord Mayor of London lived! This spectacular Georgian town house is a fine example of the architecture of its time and it still stages some of the City of London’s official occasions. Tours take place every Tuesday so make sure you get there early to ensure you are one of only 40 people privileged to see this amazing house.
Address: Mansion House Place, London EC4N 8LB
Phone: 020 7626 2500
View the 18th Century artwork and furniture of Johnson and some of his friends at Dr Johnson’s House. You’ll also find the first edition of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary located here.
Address: 17 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE
Phone: 020 7353 3745
Come to St Paul’s Cathedral and you’ll be standing in what is the spiritual home of Great Britain. This spectacular Wren designed cathedral is one of London’s most famous landmarks, completed in 1678. St Paul’s amazingly survived the blitz during the Second World War and is seen as a show of British strength and solidarity.
Address: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
Phone: 020 7246 8350
Arguably the most famous criminal courthouse in the world is the Old Bailey. You can go in to the public gallery, and the external architecture of the building is well worth seeing in its own right too.
Address: London EC4M 7HS
Home to the British Newspaper industry is the famous Fleet Street. Take a stroll along Fleet Street to soak in the history of the City of London and mix with the elite of the British press. St Brides Fleet Street is also worth visiting; another Wren designed church which has a really interesting crypt museum.
Address: Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HR
Not so much a practical tourist attraction that you can walk around or enjoy a guided tour, but nonetheless a great example of modern architecture and an impressive landmark on the London skyline is the Millennium Bridge. Designed by Sir Norman Foster and opened in 2000, this impressive 330m steel structure became the first new crossing over the River Thames for over 100 years.
Address: Thames Embankment, London EC4
Phone: 020 7606 3030
Another of our favourite Victorian Corner Pubs, the Blackfriar offers something altogether more sinister: the relics of a prison in the cellar. That has been contested, however; but it provides something of a talking point whilst you’re supping in this sharply angled pub!
Address: 174 Queen Victoria Street, City of London, London, EC4V 4EG
Phone: 020 7236 5474
This is not mini-golf or crazy golf; this is actual, proper, score-card, tartan trousers, silent caddies and selecting the right clubs golf. Though nary a course in sight! It’s all simulated; and with a large number of simulated courses and lessons available, as well as a lounge bar, everything you could want from the country club is available in the heart of the city at Urban Golf Royal Smithfield.
Address: 12 Smithfield Street, City of London, London, EC1A 9LA
Phone: 020 7248 8600