Not many people know this, but the City of London is tiny. It spans an area of just 1.12 sqm and has a population of under 10,000. But don’t be fooled by the towering skyscrapers and huge glass buildings. This area of London is the oldest in the city and was part of the original Roman settlement of London in the 1st century AD.
Today, London is one of Europe’s largest metropolises, made up of 32 boroughs plus the City of London – one of two boroughs within Greater London to have city status (the other one is Westminster). Given that the City of London includes the historic centre and main business district of the capital, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of things to see and do in the ‘Square Mile.’
Grab a pint in a traditional pub
If you don’t want to drink just for fun, drink to explore the history of Great Britain. The Hoop & Grapes in Aldgate is said to be the longest continuously licensed pub in the City of London. This 17th-century establishment survived the Great Fire of 1666, and it’s the perfect place to order a London Pride with some delicious pub grub.
Visit the Bank of England
Ever wondered what it’s like to hold a brick of pure gold? Head to the Bank of England Museum on Threadneedle Street to find out. Despite the importance of this iconic establishment, the museum remains relatively underappreciated. However, no other place in the world can make interest rates and inflation seem so interesting.
Go to St Paul’s Cathedral
In some shape or form, St Paul’s Cathedral has existed for over 1,400 years, though the structure you can see today was mostly built in the 17th century. It was the tallest building in the City of London from 1710 to 1967. While it no longer holds the title of London’s tallest structure, it sits on the highest point in the City of London.
Eat a picnic in the park
If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the City, grab some sandwiches and head to St Dunstan-in-the-East Gardens. You can find a quiet spot to enjoy some serenity in the park or marvel at the ruins of the medieval church that lie near its centre.
Watch a stage show
London’s West End may be the UK’s hub of stage entertainment, but you can find plenty of charming theatres dotted throughout the City. One of our favourite places to catch a show is the Bridewell Theatre, where performances start at 1:00 pm. If you feel a little peckish, feel free to take your lunch inside.
Dinner With a View
Head straight over London Bridge and you’ll come to The Shard, which, at 310 metres, is currently the tallest building in Western Europe. On floors 31 to 33 you’ll find some of the best restaurants and bars in London, and the viewing platforms offer a 40-mile unobstructed view across the London skyline and beyond.
Take in the views at London’s highest Champagne bar
End the day by sipping Champagne at Vertigo 42, which offers panoramic views of the City from above. Be warned – drink prices can be somewhat steep, but it’s worth nipping for a quick drink to see London in all its glory. Don’t forget to make a reservation beforehand.
Many of the most interesting locations around the City of London are featured on our London Sightseeing tours. Take a look to find some of the very best ways to explore the capital.