Things to do in the City of London

Discover London's oldest quarter, the City of London.
  • The City of London is also known as The Square Mile.

  • Tower Bridge, Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral are all within the City.

  • Shopping in the City includes Old Spitalfields Market, Leadenhall Market and One New Change.

  • There are plenty of restaurants to choose from including Michelin-starred Club Gascon and the highest restaurant in London, Duck & Waffle.

  • Main stations with the City include London BlackfriarsCity Thameslink, Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street and Moorgate. 

Founded by the Romans and home to some of Britain's best-loved attractions, the City of London includes Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.

The City is based on the original Roman town of Londinium, which was founded in around AD50. The London City boundaries have remained almost constant since the Middle Ages and it's often called The Square Mile, as it's almost exactly one square mile (2.6 square kilometres) in area.

Today, the City of London is roughly bordered by Liverpool Street, Tower Hill, Blackfriars and Barbican Tube stations.

Geographically, The City sits in the heart of London, a short walk from the West End, historic Southwark, London Bridge, the South Bank, and Brick Lane.

Things to see in the City of London

 

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The City contains a rich variety of architectural styles. There are many churches by 17th-century architect, Sir Christopher Wren, as well as financial institutions from the 18th and 19th centuries. You can also find 20th-century architecture such as the Old Bailey and one of London's principal examples of concrete Brutalist architecture, the 1960s Barbican Estate

More recent additions include "The Walkie-Talkie" building at 20 Fenchurch Street, and the "The Cheesegrater" at 122 Leadenhall Street, as well as The Lloyd's Building and Sir Norman Foster's eco-friendly 30 St Mary Axe, more commonly known as "The Gherkin".

The City is home to some of London's best-loved attractions including:

Take a London City walking tour, follow the City Visitor Trail, or download a free London city map and explore on foot by yourself.

Alternatively, book on a free Sandemans New London Tour to learn about the attractions listed above, as well as London Bridge, The Church of the Knights Templar (of Da Vinci Code fame) and the Second World War Blitz.

Head to the City of London Information Centre to find out more about things to see in the City of London.

Things to do in The City of London: shopping

 

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Browse the stalls and shops for food, fashion and more at historic Leadenhall Market. You may also recognise this beautiful Victorian covered market from the Harry Potter films, which used this City location for Diagon Alley.

Make sure to also explore Old Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Street station, which houses a wide range of trendy shops and stalls. Uncover everything from skincare boutiques to chocolate shops, before enjoying a bite to eat at one of its many restaurants and cafes.

For high street favourites, from Topshop to Karen Millen, head to One New Change, which also boasts a roof terrace with views of St Paul's Cathedral.

Things to do in The City of London: restaurants

 

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This area is a great place to dine in style. Indulge in a touch of class with a first-rate steak at Hawksmoor Guildhall, a Michelin-starred dinner at restaurant Club Gascon, or book a spot at one of the many celebrity chef restaurants in the City of London; from Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen, to Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa and Marco Pierre White's Steak and Alehouse.

For great views of London, dine at Coq D'Argent, one of the Sky Garden's stylish venues or the highest restaurant in London, Duck & Waffle.

You'll also find a great choice of restaurants available at foodie hub Bloomberg Arcade, which features the likes of pizza specialists Homeslice and burger hotspot Bleecker

Be aware that large sections of the City remain quiet at weekends and it's quite common to find pubs and cafes closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Travel around the City of London

 

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From Liverpool Street, it's easy to travel by Tube, bus, taxi and train into central London or other local areas. You can also hire a bicycle and ride to your next destination.

Other main train stations in the City of London include London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, London Fenchurch Street, London Cannon Street, and Moorgate.

Travel into east London on the DLR from Bank station.

Take one of the river bus services from the banks of the Thames in the City, which is a great way to see London. You can also cruise along the river Thames with City Cruises from the pier outside the Tower of London.

If you're going to be in London for more than a day, it's worth buying a Visitor Oyster Card in advance. The Visitor Oyster Card is delivered to your home before you arrive in London. It is one of the easiest ways to get around London.

If you do not have a Visitor Oyster Card, but still plan to travel around London for more than a day, buy an Oyster card at the Tube station. Learn more about Oyster Cards.

Accommodation in the City of London

You can stay very comfortably in a London city hotel, and there are types of accommodation to suit all needs, tastes and budgets. 

Luxury starts at the Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel and Doubletree by Hilton London - Tower of London hotel, where rooftop bar Skylounge affords views across London's famous landmarks.

Alternatively, book a convenient room in The City at Apex City of London Hotel or Thistle City Barbican

For cheap hotels in London City, try the London YHA St Paul's, which offers low-cost accommodation.

See more hotels in the City of London

More about The City of London

Find out more about the City of London at cityoflondon.gov.uk

Explore more London neighbourhoods

Where to next? Check out other top London areas.