The City of London, also known as the City, or the Square Mile (after its approximate size), is the area of London that originally lay within the ancient city walls. This independent part of Central London is known for its history and heritage, so is a must for anyone wishing to explore and understand London.
Although greater London grew from this area, the official City of London itself has barely changed its borders in centuries and still follows the line of the old city walls to a great degree. The walls around the city, built by the Romans, have largely disappeared but several vestiges are still visible (notably outside the Museum of London; just near the Tower of London; and running part of the way down Noble Street) and various place names and streets hint at their prior existence. Locations such as Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Ludgate and Moorgate are the sites of old gates in the city walls.
The City of London is not a London borough (laws applying to London must define the city as "all London boroughs and the City of London") and has an ancient and unusual local governance, with rights and privileges greater than those of anywhere else in the United Kingdom. The local authority is the City of London Corporation and the chief position is the Lord Mayor. Whilst the rest of London has the Metropolitan Police, the City of London has its own police force.
The City of London does not include Tower Bridge or the Tower of London (they are in the London borough of Tower Hamlets), but Tower Bridge is owned and operated by the City Corporation. A number of bridges over the River Thames connect the City with Southwark and the two oldest of them, London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, are unusual in that the City of London's boundaries include the whole span of the bridge (the border otherwise runs along the middle of the Thames). Small statues of dragons (sometimes described as griffins), symbols of the City Corporation, mark the boundary of the City on several roads.
The City is the world's leading centre of international finance. In British parlance, the City often refers to the financial sector, just as Americans might refer to Wall Street. This area contains 255 foreign banks, which is more than any other financial centre. It also is home to the Bank of England and houses other institutions such as Lloyd's and the London Stock Exchange. Every weekday approximately 300,000 workers come into the City to work in small and large business and financial institutions.
The City has a very small resident population of approximately 10,000 people. This means the City is very different on a weekend compared to a weekday.
Time your visit. The City is at its busiest during the week thanks to the large influx of workers. On the weekend the City is quieter with pockets of bustling activity – such as the areas around the Tower of London, Liverpool Street and St Paul’s, including the new shopping centre "One New Change" – and not all shops and restaurants are open. This means the weekend is a good time to visit if you want to walk at your own pace, admiring the architecture and character of the streets and buildings. You may also come across the filming of a TV advert, TV programme or even a film at this time.
Tourist Information CentreEdit
- 1 City Information Centre, St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8BX (tube: ), ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
The City Information Centre is London's only official tourist information venue. It offers brochures, guides, tickets, maps and more for visitors to the City, and is staffed by a multilingual team. The City Corporation's 'Visiting the City' pages also contain information for visitors, including lists of attractions, events, and walking tours.
From the airportEdit
Underground services are connected to all major London airports, as well as express train services that take you directly to some of the main stations in the centre of London.
The City of London has many Tube stops and stations, all part of Zone 1.
- 1 , DLR and stations – linked by an underground walkway. Bank, near the Bank of England, is perhaps the station closest to the centre of the City of London.
- 2 , 3 and 4 – for the north and north east of the City.
- 5 – for the north west of the City.
- 6 – for the west of the City.
- 7 , 8 9 (closed Su), 10 (for Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and Fenchurch Street National Rail station) and 11 – for the south of the City.
The City's small and compact nature means travelling on foot is a great way to get around – most attractions are within a short walk of each other. Walking can also help you find many of the City's hidden gems as long as you deviate from the main roads and explore the many alleys and courtyards. The street pattern can be quite chaotic in some parts (being medieval and unplanned) and there are many fun shortcuts and routes that take you away from main roads. However, you can quite easily get lost and miss out interesting features if you're new to the City. Buy and bring a detailed map, or pick up a free one from the City Information Centre!
All are also tube stations except City Thameslink and Fenchurch Street.
- 12 Blackfriars (to/from Gatwick and Luton airports)
- 13 Cannon Street (closed Sa, Su and public holidays)
- (to/from Gatwick and Luton airports, no tube)
- 14 Fenchurch Street (tube: )
- 15 Liverpool Street (LST, ZLS IATA). (to/from Stansted Airport)
An increasingly popular way of travelling through London, by tourists and residents, is by boat on the Thames. The City has two piers from which regular services operate to and from:
- Blackfriars Millennium Pier (in the west)
- Tower Millennium Pier (in the east).
As with the rest of central London, the City is served by a dense network of underground lines and bus routes. The tube lines that run through the City are the Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern Lines as well as the Docklands Light Railway. The heritage bus route 15 has most of its route in the City. You can ride aboard a vintage Routemaster bus from the Tower of London, west up Cheapside to St Paul's Cathedral, and then down Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street towards the West End, where the route terminates at Trafalgar Square. This can be a very rewarding way to see the City, as the route passes a number of sites of interest. This service functions as a shorter version of the standard bus route 15 and the usual TfL fares are used on it. However, since the City is only around a square mile in area, it is often quicker, easier and cheaper to walk. The Thames Path passes through the City, following the River Thames from the Temple in the west to the Tower of London in the east.
The City sustained a great deal of damage from German bombing during the 'Blitz' of World War II, so there are far fewer older buildings than one might expect from so ancient a settlement. The Great Fire of London in 1666 also fairly comprehensively destroyed the City's medieval building stock. Nonetheless, many interesting older buildings remain, including the domed St. Paul's Cathedral (heroically saved by firefighters when it was bombed during the Second World War), 19th-century buildings at Leadenhall, Smithfield, and Spitalfields, the Gothic-style Guildhall, many monuments (including one built to remember the Great Fire of London), and the Temple Inns of Court. Remarkably, the City also retains its medieval street pattern, which you do not find so clearly preserved in other large British city centres. You will find many narrow streets, passages, alleys and courtyards between the main thoroughfares.
- 1 Bank of England (The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street) (tube: ). See also: Bank of England Museum.
- 2 Mansion House (tube: ), ☏ . Tuesday 2PM only, groups may book at other times. Official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, completed in 1753. £7.
- 3 Wesley's Chapel and Leysian Mission, 49 City Rd, EC1Y 1AU, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Museum: M–Sa 10AM–4PM, Su noon–1:45PM. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, laid the foundation stone, preached here and is buried behind the chapel. The site also contains the Museum of Methodism. Free (donations welcome).
- 4 Monument (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 9:30AM-5:30PM daily (last admission 5PM). Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, this tall column (which can be ascended to get a great view) marks the alleged site where the Great Fire of London broke out in September 1666. Adults £4.50, children (5-15) £2.30, students and seniors (60+) £3.00; joint tickets for Tower Bridge and the Monument: adults £11.00, children £5.00, students and seniors £7.50.
- 5 St Giles-without-Cripplegate, Fore St, Cripplegate, EC2Y 8DA (part of the Barbican Estate, across the lake from the Arts Centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Medieval Grade I listed church. This church played a key role in the English Revolution and was the parish church of some of the most decisive Puritans: Oliver Cromwell was married and this where John Milton was buried. It was the home of the Morning Exercises The tower remains from the original building; the rest was destroyed in the Blitz but rebuilt based on the original plans.
- 6 St Sepulchre-without-Newgate (Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Holborn)), Holborn Viaduct, London. Open W noon-3PM, services Su 10:30AM, Tu 1PM & 6:30PM. Grade I listed Saxon church founded before the 12th century. The exterior was mostly constructed in the 15th century, and the interior in the 19th. The north side of te church houses a musician's chapel opened in 1955. In addition to the services there are often evening (chargeable) concerts.
- 7 Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court) (between Holborn Circus and St Paul's Cathedral, tube: then follow signs), ☏ . M–F 10AM–1PM, 2PM–5PM. This is the probably the most famous criminal court in the world, and has been London's principal criminal court for centuries. It hears cases remitted to it from all over England and Wales as well as the Greater London area. The present building dates largely from 1907 (a new block was added from 1970 for more modern facilities) and stands on the site of the infamous medieval Newgate Gaol. The Central Criminal Court is of course best known today for its association with John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey character, novels and television series. Daily case listings are available at The law pages. No bags, cameras, drink, food or mobile phones—no facilities for safekeeping. Children under 14 not admitted.
- 8 St Paul's Cathedral, Ludgate Hill (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa 8:30–4PM. The great domed cathedral of St Paul's, designed by Sir Christopher Wren to replace the Gothic medieval cathedral destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire of London, was built between 1675–1710. Of the most famous London sights, St Paul's is the one most conveniently located for the Barbican. It's a significant building in British history, having been the site of the funerals of several British military leaders (Nelson, Wellington, Churchill), and significantly held peace services marking the end of the two world wars. The cathedral is also famous for its Whispering Wall, as well as its stunning view over the city. The crypt is also open to the public, holding the tombs of Nelson, Wellington and Christopher Wren. It is possible to sidestep the admission charge by entering for one of the midday services, even if you don't take part; however you'd still need a ticket to get to the top. Photography not allowed. £16.50, £14.50 concession, £7.50 child (6–17), £40 family.
- 9 Tower Bridge (not in the City) (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Exhibition 10AM-5PM. Magnificent 19th-century bridge, decorated with high towers and featuring a drawbridge. The bridge opens several times each day to permit ships to pass through – timings are dependent on demand, and are not regularly scheduled. When Tower Bridge was built, the area to the west of it was a bustling port – necessitating a bridge that could permit tall boats to pass. Now the South Bank area sits to its west, and the regenerated Butler's Wharf area of shops, reasonably-priced riverside restaurants and the London Design Museum lie to its east. You can get the lift to the top level of the bridge and admire the view. Glass floors provide an interesting perspective for the brave. The museum highlights the bridge's history and engineering, and there are photographic exhibitions along the walkways between the towers. Bridge free; exhibition: adult £9.80, child (5-15) £4.20, senior/student £6.80; joint tickets for exhibition and the Monument: adults £11.00, children £5.00, students and seniors £7.50.
- 10 Tower of London (not in the City) (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ visitorservices_TOL@hrp.org.uk. Mar-Oct: Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su M 10AM-5PM; Nov-Feb Tu-Sa 9AM-4PM, Su-M 10AM-4PM. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, enlarged and modified by successive sovereigns, the Tower is today one of the world's most famous and spectacular fortresses and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, mint, arsenal, menagerie and jewel house. In the winter you can skate on the dry moat. The Tower contains enough buildings and exhibits to keep a family busy for a full day, with plenty of both warlike and domestic contents. Some areas, such as the St John's Chapel in the White Tower, do not allow photography, but these are clearly signposted. Beefeaters, who are all retired sergeant majors from the British Army, provide guided tours for free as well as ceremonial security. See history come alive – go to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. This ceremony, the locking up of the Tower, has been performed every night at 10PM for 800 years. Tickets for the ceremony are free but MUST be prearranged. £24.50, aged 5-16 £11.00, concession £18.70, family (2A+3C) £60.70. If visiting multiple times or also visiting other Historic Royal Palaces it can be cheaper to buy an HRP annual membership.
Churches, graveyards and open spacesEdit
The City of London, considering its small size, has a huge number of churches in its area. Some, but by no means all, are listed below.
- 11 All Hallows by the Tower, Byward St, EC3R 5BJ (tube: ), ☏ . The oldest church in the City, founded by Saxon abbots in 675 AD.
- 12 St Bartholomew-the-Great, West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS, ☏ . M–Tu 8:30AM–5PM, W–F 8:30AM–9PM, Sa 10:30AM–4PM, Su 8:30AM–8PM. Founded in 1123, by jester-turned-monk Rahere, this Norman church is one of the oldest in London. It was damaged in the Dissolution but managed to escape both the Great Fire and the Blitz. This is a Grade I listed building. Tourists are welcome when services are not in progress and are charged an admission fee (which does not apply to those coming to pray or use the café). £4 admission for adults, £1 for photography.
- 13 Bunhill Fields, 38 City Road, EC1Y 1AU (tube: ; bus: 55, 205, 243 (among others)). Dawn-dusk. This small graveyard is a rarity in central London, and seems oddly tranquil in comparison to the nearby bustling streets of the City. Some 120,000 bodies are believed to be buried here: as the inscription reads, it is a burial ground for 'nonconformists'. Notably, Bunhill Fields contains the graves of William Blake, Daniel Defoe and John Bunyan. The watchful eye will notice that the paved way across the field is actually made up of tombstones. Free.
- 14 Christ Church, Fournier St (tube: ), ☏ . The restoration of the nave was completed in September 2004, and this church is still a striking building designed by Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor with a particularly tall, pointed spire. Hawksmoor's design was significantly altered in the 19th century, and present continuing restoration is intended to restore it to Hawksmoor's original vision. Christ Church was built as part of the 50 Churches for London project
- 15 St Botolph's Aldersgate, Aldersgate St, EC1A 4EU, ☏ . M-F 9AM-3PM, closed Bank Holiday Mondays. A medieval church that was rebuilt in the late 18th-century, noted for its well preserved interior. The former churchyard was converted into a public space in 1880, called Postman's Park as it was frequented by workers from the nearby Post Office headquarters. Free.
- 16 Postman's Park, Little Britain, City of London (tube: ). 8AM–7PM or dusk (whichever is earlier). Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Postman's Park is three parks combined, bringing together the gardens of St Botolph's Aldersgate, Christ Church Greyfriars and St Leonard, Foster Lane. One of the largest parks in the City of London, Postman's Park contains the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice; a memorial to ordinary people who died saving the lives of others and might otherwise have been forgotten. Free.
- 17 St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames St, EC3R 6DN (tube: ), ☏ .
- 18 St Margaret Pattens, Rood Ln and Eastcheap EC3 (tube: ), ☏ .
- 19 St Mary-at-Hill, St Mary at Hill, EC3R 8EE (tube: ), ☏ .
- 20 St Mary le Bow, 1 Bow Lane, EC4M 9EE (tube: ), ☏ .
- 21 St Stephen Walbrook, 39 Walbrook, EC4N 8BN (tube: ), ☏ . Constructed 1672-9 to a design by Sir Christopher Wren and regarded as one of the finest Wren churches. The 63 feet (19 m) high dome is based on Wren's original design for St Paul's Cathedral. Free lunchtime concerts at 1PM on Tuesdays (except August). Free Organ recitals at 12:30PM on Fridays. Occasional art exhibitions on Christian themes and other events. Free (donations requested).
- 22 Temple, Inner Temple Ln, EC4Y 7BB (tube: or ), ☏ . Varies, but approx.: M–Tu 11AM–16PM; W 2PM–4PM; Th–F 11AM–16PM. A small realm of serenity in the midst of the typical turmoil. It used to be the court of the Knights Templar. You can still visit the beautiful Romanesque church, which is one of the oldest ones in London (opened in 1185). £4 general; £2 senior citizens; children free.
Museums and galleriesEdit
- 23 Museum of London, London Wall (NB: this is a street!) (tube: (walk S) or (walk N)), ☏ . M–Sa 10AM–5:30PM; Su noon–5:30PM. Established in 1975, the Museum of London explores the various threads of London's archaeology, history and culture throughout its more than 2,000 year old existence. Free and, like the City, endlessly fascinating! (The museum now also has an offshoot in East End.) Cafe, gift shop and disabled access. Photography allowed. Permanent and temporary exhibitions: free. Special exhibitions: £5, concession £3, child 0-15 free.
- 24 Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre, Guildhall Yard (off Gresham St) (tube: or ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su noon-4PM. The Guildhall Art Gallery houses the City Corporation's art collection, and also runs special exhibitions throughout the year. During construction of the modern gallery, workers discovered the ruins of London's Roman amphitheatre. The gallery was redesigned, and now the Amphitheatre is open to the public within the Guildhall Art Gallery itself and also free of charge. free.
- 25 Dr Johnson's House, 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE, ☏ . October-April: M-Sa 11AM-5PM; May-September: M-Sa 11AM-5:30PM; closed Sundays, Bank Holidays. Dr Samuel Johnson was the highly distinguished 18th-century "man of letters", best known for his comprehensive English Dictionary of 1755, but also for his prolific output of poems, essays and novels. Something of a "hidden gem", this small, independent museum is dedicated to him—and, with its historic interiors, paintings and prints, personal effects and other exhibits—gives an impression of what it might have been like during his occupancy from 1748-1759. Built in 1700, this impressive period building—a rare example of its kind in the area—survived the brutal onslaught of the Blitz during World War II and is now maintained in excellent condition. adult £4.50, concession £3.50 (over 60, student or registered unemployed), child £1.50 (ages 5-17), family £10 (two adults and accompanying children), under 5s free. No debit or credit cards. National Trust Partner..
- 26 Bank of England Museum, Threadneedle St (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 10AM–5PM. Charts the history of the bank from 1694 to the present day. A highlight is the opportunity to handle a genuine bar of gold. Photography allowed, but no flash. Free.
- 27 Barts Pathology Museum, 3F, Robin Brook Centre, EC1A 7BE. Quirky medical museum. Only open to the public for scheduled evening events.
- 28 Barbican Centre, Silk St (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Art Gallery: Sa–W 10AM–6PM (bank holiday noon–6PM), Th–F 10AM–9PM; The Curve: Richard Mosse: Incoming (15 Feb–23 April) Sa–W 11AM–8PM (bank holiday noon–8PM), Th–F 11AM–9PM (bank holiday noon–9PM); Conservatory: Su noon–5PM. The largest arts centre in Europe.
- 29 Museum of the Order of St John, St John’s Gate, St John’s Lane, EC1M 4DA (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 10AM–5PM. Museum in the former English headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller, covering the history of the order from crusading knights to modern first aid organisation. Free.
- 30 City of London Police Museum, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH (Access through Guildhall Library Entrance,), ☏ . M-F 9:30AM-5PM, W to 7:30PM. Small museum of historic artefacts covering the history of the City Police. Exhibits include uniforms, Victorian-era police equipment and artefacts, communication devices, World War II displays, and exhibits about Jack the Ripper and other famous murder cases. See also the display cabinet of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards (just outside the entrance) and also any exhibition in the Guildhall Library itself. Free.
- 31 London Mithraeum (Temple of Mithras), 12 Walbrook London, EC4N 8AA (Dedicated entrance on Walbrook. No access through other Bloomberg entrances.), ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su and bank holidays noon-5PM. The London Mithraeum is a 3rd century Roman mithraeum that was discovered in Walbrook during construction work in 1954. The entire site was relocated several times before being returned to its original site as part of the new Bloomberg building. This temple of the mystery god Mithras became perhaps the most famous 20th-century Roman discovery in London. In addition to the temple structure, there is a display of Roman artefacts found on the site and a contemporary art exhibit responding to the site. Visitor numbers are limited and timed slots are often fully booked up several weeks into the future so plan well ahead. Free, online booking required.
Other points of interestEdit
Thanks to the City's association with banking and finance, the City offers some of the most fascinating modern architecture in London. A tour of London's financial institutions and markets is very worthwhile, even if you're not an investment banker. The bad news is that very few of the buildings are open to the public, although some do have "open weekends" at certain times of the year. The annual Open House Weekend – usually held on the third weekend in September, is when many London's most famous buildings (including many of those in the City) are open for public tours.
- 32 Barbican Conservatory, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (top floor of the Barbican Centre), ☏ . 11AM–5PM. The second biggest greenhouse in London, containing over 2,000 species of tropical plants as well as birds and fish. Free.
- 33 Blitz Plaque, Fore St (set in the wall of Roman House). The first of tens of thousands of bombs to hit London in World War II fell here in 1940.
- 34 Baltic Exchange, St. Mary Axe (next to the Swiss Re Tower). The world's main marketplace for ship broking.
- 35 London Wall (Near the street called "London Wall"). Remains of the wall that surrounded the City of London for almost two thousand years. The parts around the Barbican are mostly Tudor due to maintenance (Roman remains can be seen in and around the Tower of London). Other local remains are the 36 Noble St wall fragment and the 37 St Alphage Gdns wall fragment.
- 38 International Petroleum Exchange, St. Katherines Dock (tube: ). One of the world's largest energy futures and options exchanges. The Brent Crude marker which represents an important benchmark for global oil prices is traded here. It also houses the European Climate Exchange, where emissions trading takes place.
- 39 Lloyds of London, 1 Lime St. The headquarters of world's most famous insurance market, housed in a revolutionary (at the time) bizarre, Matrix-like glass-and-steel building designed by Richard Rogers, with all support services (lifts, ventilation, etc) suspended outside. Recognised as a masterpiece of exoskeleton architecture.
- 40 London Stock Exchange, 10 Paternoster Square, EC4M 7LS. After leaving its brutalist skyscraper on Old Broad St, the London Stock Exchange now resides on Paternoster Sq. Dating back to 1698, it is one of the world's oldest and largest stock markets.
- 41 London Bullion Market Association, 13-14 Basinghall St. This is where the world gold price is set twice a day.
- 42 London Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall St. The LME is the leading centre for non-ferrous metals trading. It is also the last financial market in London which still retains open outcry trading.
- 43 London Stone, Cannon St (tube: ). London Stone is a historic landmark traditionally housed at 111 Cannon Street in the City of London. It is an irregular block of oolitic limestone measuring 53 × 43 × 30 cm (21 × 17 × 12"), the remnant of a once much larger object that had stood for many centuries on the south side of the street. The stone is housed at the Museum of London pending reconstruction of the 111 Cannon Street building.
- 44 St Bride Printing Library, Bride Ln, EC4Y 8EE, ☏ . Tu noon-5:30PM; W noon-9PM; Th noon-5:30PM. This specialist small library houses an impressive range of books on graphic design, typography, bookbinding and papermaking. The books cannot be borrowed but can be photocopied or photographed (with permission). An essential visit for any graphic design student.
- 45 Swiss Re (the Gherkin), 30 St. Mary Axe. Designed by one of Britain's leading architects, Sir Norman Foster, and recipient in 2004 of the Stirling Architectural Prize for Best Building.
- 46 Willis Building, 51 Lime St. A recent addition to the City's skyline, and right opposite Lloyd's of London.
- 47 Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall. Another Richard Rogers creation, due to be the tallest building by roof height in the City. Under construction as of 2013. Also opposite Lloyd's.
- 48 20 Fenchurch Street (The Sky Garden), 20 Fenchurch St. Sky garden: M-F: 10AM-6PM, Sa-Su:11AM-9PM. The unusual "walkie scorchie" profile of this skyscraper by Rafael Vinoly has seen it grab the headlines, as did the "death rays" caused by the sun's heat reflecting off the building onto the street below when it was first completed; car tyres melted and burst, and at least one man fried an egg using only the heat from the walkie talkie. Visitors can access the sky garden to see a magnificent view over the City and beyond; it's the only place you can't see the tower from! Online booking to visit during the day is essential. Alternatively you can eat at one of the restaurants in the evening. Sky garden free.
- 49 Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge, EC4 9EL (off Upper Thames Street. Tube: ), ☏ . The main headquarters of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and a Grade II* listed building.
- Climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral or The Monument to get excellent views over the financial heart of London.
- Barbican Architecture Tour (starts at the Advance Ticket desk, Silk St entrance). Tu 2PM; W 4PM; Th 7PM; Sa Su 2PM & 4PM. 90-minute tour of the beautifully ugly brutalist site. £10.50.
- Digital Revolution, Barbican Centre, ☏ . Th 11AM–11PM; F–W 11AM–8PM. An exhibition of digital art and creativity, including film, music and games, and the effect of technology on the arts. Runs until 14 September. £12.50 standard admission; £10.50 concessions; £8.50 students.
- The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, Art Gallery (Level three of the Barbican Centre), ☏ . Sa–W 10AM–6PM; Th–F 10AM–9PM. An exhibition devoted to the French couturier featuring over a hundred garments and costumes. Runs until 25 August. £14.50 standard admission; £12.50 concessions; £9 students.
- 1 Shoreditch Street Art Tour, Spitalfields Market, E1 6EG (Meet at the Goat Statue), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours start 11:15AM & 2:45PM. A tour of the constantly changing street art around this part of the East End. Saturday times may vary. Adult £15, child £10.
- 2 Gresham College, Barnard's Inn Hall, Holborn (tube: . Between Fetter Ln and Furnival St), ☏ . Founded in 1597 as London's alternative higher education institution to Oxford and Cambridge, Gresham College continues to provide free public lectures every week during term time. Most lectures require no booking, with wonderful speakers delivering lectures on wide range of interesting topics.
- Lord Mayor's Show. Annual, normally November. The ceremony celebrates the appointment of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London. It is one of the great annual processions held in all London.
- London Walks. Consider going along on one of the many excellent guided tours of the City, often with an evocative theme for example ghosts or Jack the Ripper.
- London Film Locations Bus Tour. The City of London is hugely popular with film makers so consider going on a bus tour of famous film locations.
- Tower of London Ice Rink (tube: ). over the winter holiday.
- London Night Tour, Departing from Coach stop 3, Bulleid Way (tube: ), ☏ . £18 adult ticket.
- See London by Night, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. £15 adult ticket.
- London Buses Heritage route 15. Heritage route 15 is a section of the standard TfL bus route 15 over which historic AEC Routemaster buses still operate between Tower Hill and Trafalgar Square. A suitable budget alternative to a tour bus for those who want a more authentic classic London bus experience without a guide's commentary. Buses every 15 minutes interleaved with standard buses. (Not wheelchair accessible. Use standard buses for accessibility or for the full route 15.) Standard TfL bus prices (Oyster or contactless) or free with London Travelcards or Bus Passes. (No cash payments accepted!).
Although not known for the best shopping opportunities in London (these are securely held by the West End), the City nonetheless has an above average shopping offer, with plenty of high-street names and many smaller independent shops. Lunchtime hours can be very busy, as this is the time when workers shop in their thousands, so it's worth considering avoiding the crowds by visiting at a quieter time. Again, at weekends many outlets may be closed. A number of retail venues stand out:
- 1 One New Change (off Cheapside, tube: ). Daily. The City's only modern shopping centre, which opened in October 2010. Includes around 60 shops and restaurants. It is situated right by St Paul's Cathedral and is in a small area of retailing, including Cheapside and the cobbled, old-fashioned Bow Lane. Both the freely accessible roof terrace, and the lifts to get there, offer excellent views of St Paul's.
- 2 Leadenhall Market (off Gracechurch St, tube: ). M-F 10AM-6PM. Worth visiting for its architecture and old-fashioned cobbled streets. It was used as a location in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- 3 Royal Exchange (tube: ). Situated opposite the Bank of England, the Exchange houses a number of upmarket outlets. Part of the exterior was featured in the film Bridget Jones' Diary (at the end, when Bridget runs after Mark along a snowy street).
- 4 Spitalfields Market (Just outside the City and owned by the City of London Corporation), 225 Central Markets, EC1A 9LH (off Bishopsgate, tube: ). M–F 10AM–5PM; Sa 11AM–17PM; Su 9AM–5PM. Once a large thriving market, it has slowly been shrunk to a third of its size by development in the area. It features a good variety of clothing, crafts and food stalls/shops. Rather promisingly sellers have set up another market in a new space off Hanbury St nearby. Visit 66/68 Bell Lane nearby to see a wealthy merchant's house, rumour has it John Lennon once played on the roof of this building with Yoko Ono.
- 5 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QA. M–Sa 9AM–6PM. Trendy independent shops on a pedestrianised street.
Places to buy food and any general household goods you may need:
- 6 Tesco Express, 131 Aldersgate St, EC1A 4JQ. Small, local branch of the supermarket
- 7 Tesco Express, Unit 5, Cheapside, EC2V 6BJ. Small, local branch of the supermarket
- 8 Tesco Express, 1-23 City Rd, EC1Y 1AG. Small, local branch of the supermarket. Starbucks and Eat next door.
- 9 Sainsbury's Local, 10 Paternoster Square, EC4M 7DX. Small, local branch of the supermarket. In a pedestrian square near St. Paul's Cathedral.
- 10 Waitrose, Cherry Tree Walk Centre, Whitecross St, EC1Y 8NX. Slightly more upmarket supermarket.
There are a great many bars, coffee houses, cafes, restaurants and pubs, mainly catering for City workers during the week (and therefore possibly closed at the weekend). Sit down restaurants in this district tend to be expensive and aimed towards business lunches. The vast number of take-away places though are reasonably priced. During the week (in good weather) you can find some outdoor eating areas in places, such as on Walbrook.
- 1 Coffee Aroma, 12 Goswell Rd, EC1M 7AA, ☏ . M–Sa 7AM–5PM.
- 2 Moorgate Buttery, 5–6 Fore St, EC2Y 9DT (alley between Fore St and Moorgate), ☏ . M–F 7AM–4PM. Café and sandwich shop.
- 3 Tinseltown, 44-46 St John St, EC1M 4DF (tube: or ), ☏ . M–Th noon–05AM; F–Sa noon–4AM; Su noon–3AM. Halal American-style diner, serving burgers, steaks, and grilled meat. Good for Muslims on a budget and hungry, early-morning clubbers. Burger and side dish from £6.99.
- 4 To A Tea, 14 Farringdon St, EC4A 4AB, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 7AM–7PM. Tearoom.
- 5 Whitecross Street Market, 1 Whitecross St, EC1V 9AB, ☏ . M–Sa 10AM–5PM. Eclectic street-food market.
- Hub Deli, 93 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3XD, ☏ . Small sandwich shop offering many delicious sandwiches and bagels. In Bishopsgate. Nice for quick lunches.
- 6 Snak Express, Barbican Tube Station, ☏ . M–Su 10AM–5PM. Cheap and wholesome
- 7 Boisdale of Bishopsgate, Swedeland Court, 202 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F. A rather grand Scottish restaurant which has jazz evenings and offers a cigar bar.
- 8 Club Gascon, 57 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS (tube: ), ☏ . Fine French dining at this Michelin-starred restaurant.
- Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopgate, EC2N 4AY, ☏ .
- 9 Gow's, 81 Old Broad St, EC2M 1PR (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11AM-11PM. An upmarket seafood restaurant and oyster bar. mains from £20.
- 10 Polo Bar, 176 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NQ (tube: ), ☏ . 24H. An unpretentious cafe serving fried breakfasts and similar basic food 24 hr a day, and a great place for a late snack after you leave the Eat & Drink. Liverpool St is a safe area anyway but you cannot get safer than this for a late night meal, as at night you'll often see police from the nearby City of London police station. There are no toilets, however, so you need to use those at nearby Liverpool St Station.
- 11 Simpson's Tavern, Ball Court, 38½ Cornhill, EC3V 9DR (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M 11:30–4PM; Tu–F 8:30AM–4PM. A traditional old style English eatery which has been in business here since 1757. Most of the food is cooked on an open grill in the corner. A very City of London experience!
- 12 Smiths of Smithfields, 67-77 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6HJ (tube: ), ☏ . M-F 7AM-4:45PM; Sa Su 9:30AM-4:45PM. Smiths of Smithfield is a Grade II listed four-floor restaurant serving great British food.
- 13 The Wall, 45 Old Broad St, EC2N 1HU (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F. Restaurant and bar popular at lunchtime and in the early evenings.
- 14 Attilio, 1 Cowcross St, EC1M 6DR, ☏ . M–F noon–3PM 5:30PM–11PM; Sa noon–11PM; Su 4PM–11PM. Family-owned Italian restaurant. Meals from around £14.95.
- 15 Carnevale, 135 Whitecross St, EC1Y 8JL, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M–F noon–3:30PM 5:30PM–11PM; Sa 5:30PM–11PM. Small vegetarian restaurant with integral deli. Main meal £12.50.
- 16 Comptoir Gascon, 63 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Sa noon–2:30PM (bistro), 6:30PM–10PM (dinner). French restaurant and delicatessen.
- 17 The Green, 29 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Easygoing gastro-pub with good quality, reasonably priced lunch menu, and tapas in the evening. £10-15 mains.
- 18 J+A Café, 1-4 Sutton Lane, EC1M 5PU, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 8AM–6PM; Sa Su 9AM-5PM. £10-15 hot meal.
- 19 Polpo, 3 Cowcross St, EC1M 6DR, ☏ . M–Sa noon–11PM; Su noon–4PM.
- 20 Smiths of Smithfield, 67-77 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ, ☏ . M–F noon–3PM 6PM–11PM; Sa 6PM–11PM. Grade II listed four-floor restaurant in Smithfield Market. Main meal from £16.
- 21 Wood Street Bar and Restaurant, 53 Fore St, EC2Y 5EL, ☏ . M–F 11AM–11:30PM; Sa closed; Su noon–5:30PM. Real ale, nice food and a relaxed atmosphere. £6–14 (£12.50 for cheese burger & chips).
If you're spending more than a few days in London, visiting the area at night (especially around 10PM-11PM) can provide a decidedly un-touristy atmosphere. You'll see part of London life that few people who do not live or work in the City experience, and if you have the confidence to introduce yourself you may even get into conversation with local workers out for a late drink – the area is enough off the tourist route that you will be something of a novelty. Thursday and Friday are naturally busier but at the same time a bit less friendly; earlier in the week is quieter and you have more chance of meeting locals just out for a drink.
Some pubs in the City are not open on Saturday or Sunday.
The City has some of the oldest traditional pubs in London, and a host of newer pubs and bars. This list is by no means exhaustive, but there are plenty of online guides available to search for somewhere specific to your tastes.
- 1 Crown Tavern, 43 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0EG, ☏ . M–F noon–11PM; Sa Su 10AM–11PM. A large, traditional pub, rebuilt in 1815 but claiming a history on this site back to 1641. In good weather, outdoor tables in the square can be pleasant. London legend claims that Stalin and Lenin first met in this pub, in a back room (under the "Conspirators' Clock") in 1903.
- 2 Dirty Dick's, 202 Bishopsgate (tube: ), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-10:30PM. One of the better known pubs (although definitely no tourist trap) near Liverpool St, supposedly named after a Georgian dandy who let himself go on the death of his fiancée. £3.20 pint.
- 3 Eat & Drink, 11 Artillery Passage (tube: ), ☏ . M-F 'til 2AM. A small and fairly ordinary Chinese restaurant by day, this turns into a heaving karaoke bar in the evenings. One of the most reliable places near Liverpool St to get a drink after midnight! £3.40 small can lager.
- 4 Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market (tube: / ), ☏ . M-F 10AM-11PM. One of several pubs in Leadenhall Market where you can listen to insurance brokers from nearby Lloyd's talk business. £3.60 pint.
- 5 The Dovetail, 9-10 Jerusalem Passage, EC1V 4JP, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa noon–11PM. Small Belgian bar serving Belgian beer and Belgian food.
- 6 The Crosse Keys, 9 Gracechurch Street, EC3V 0DR (tube: or ), ☏ . M-Th 9AM-11PM, F 9AM-midnight, Sa 9AM-7PM. Part of the JD Wetherspoons chain in a converted bank. As is usual for the chain, it is fairly cheap with decent food and drink. The ex-bank building makes this pub a little grander and more spacious than most.
- The Sterling, 30 Saint Mary Axe, EC3A 8BF (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Tu 8AM-11PM, W-F 8AM-1AM. A central bar that resides in the heart of the Gherkin. Catch your breath from the bustle of the City and enjoy a bit of al fresco dining. Food and drink available.
- 7 Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet Street, EC4A 2BU (tube: , or ). An old City pub establishment, rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666. All the monarchs who have reigned in England during the pub's time are written by the main door.
- 8 White Hart, 121 Bishopsgate (tube: ). An unpretentious City pub, slightly cheaper than most. Unusually for the area, has a few tables outside where you can watch the world go by in summer or cower under a heat lamp while smoking in winter. £2.80 pint.
- 9 Fox & Anchor, 115 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6AA, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Th 7AM–11PM; F 7AM–midnight; Sa 8:30AM–midnight; Su 8:30AM–10PM. Independent traditional pub quite close to the Barbican. Beers are often served in pewter tankards for the extra traditional touch. Six rooms are available as well for those who want to sleep where they drink (or just near the Barbican). Great atmosphere but it can be a little more expensive than average, especially the food and lodging.
- 10 Jerusalem Tavern, 55 Britton St, EC1M 5UQ, ☏ . A converted Georgian coffee shop, which sells the Norfolk beer, St. Peters. The building is from the 1700s, remodelled in 1810, and it was converted in the 1990s, making this both a new and an old pub. The interior is a little small so, while well worth a visit, after 5PM on weekdays it gets quickly flooded with City workers.
- 11 The Jugged Hare, 49 Chiswell St, EC1Y 4SA (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–W 11AM–11PM; Th–Sa 11AM–midnight; Su 11AM–10:30PM. A gastropub modelled on a traditional countryside drinking establishment, with a hunting theme. The tables are actually old whisky barrels and the decor features several stuffed animals and trophies. Completing the pattern, the food is heavily game-based, with some seafood.
- 12 The Old Doctor Butler's Head, 2 Masons Ave, EC2V 5BY (tube: and ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 11AM–11PM. This claims to be one of London's oldest pubs, tracing it history to 1610, although it has been rebuilt since then. The eponymous Doctor Butler was a purveyor of "medicinal ale" who was appointed court physician to James I. Pubs selling his beer were allowed to display his portrait, hence the name of the establishment.
- 13 Old Fountain, 31 Baldwin St, EC1V 9NU (tube: ), ☏ . M–F 11AM–11PM; Sa Su noon-11PM. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2011. This traditional pub is best known for its large and varied beer selection, often from local and micro-breweries, both cask and bottled.
- 14 Old Red Cow, 71-72 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th noon–11PM; F–Sa noon-midnight; Su noon–10:30PM. Small pub that serves real ale and craft beer from both major and local breweries.
- 15 The Princess of Shoreditch, 76-78 Paul St, EC2A 4NE (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa noon–11PM; Su noon–10:30PM. Gastropub.
- 16 Hand & Shears, 1 Middle St, EC1A 7JA, ☏ . M-F 11AM-11PM. Grade II listed historic pub
- 17 The Hope, 94 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BH, ☏ . 6AM-11PM. Grade II listed pub
- 18 El Vino, 3 Bastion Highwalk (125 London Wall), EC2Y 5AP (along one of the raised walkways, not at ground level), ☏ . Wine bar.
- 19 Vinoteca, 7 St John St, EC1M 4AA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa noon–11PM. Wine bar and shop.
- 20 Fabric, 77a Charterhouse St, ☏ . Th–Sa times vary (check listings). A massive club (think cathedral scale) that provides a more underground version of Ministry of Sound and hosts some of the biggest names in dance music, from Goldie to David Holmes to the Scratch Perverts. There are always big queues, so get down early if you can. Entry £12-18, discount for NUS.
- 21 The Nightjar, 129 City Rd, EC1V 1JB (tube: Old Street), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su–W 6PM–1AM; Th 6PM–2AM; F-Sa 6PM–3AM. Speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Regular live music fitting the prohibition era theme. Entry W-Th £5, F-Sa £7. Cocktails from £9.
- 22 The Zetter Townhouse, 49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-W 7AM–midnight; Th–Sa 7AM–1AM. Cocktail lounge in a Georgian townhouse. Also offers some accommodation with thirteen rooms available for hire. cocktails from £8.50.
- The Hoxton Urban Lodge, 81 Great Eastern St (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 210 room hotel, with some cheaper "shoebox" rooms From £60 web purchase.
- St Paul's Youth Hostel, 36 Carter Ln (tube: St Paul's), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hostel converted from one of the City's oldest buildings. Cheap for Central London accommodation, range of room sizes, basic facilities. Dorm from £18.95 including breakfast. 6 rooms for 2 people and 3 singles..
- Apex City of London Hotel, 1 Seething Lane, EC3N 4AX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Located in the City close to the Tower of London. 179 luxury bedrooms and suites, restaurant, bar and gym. Free fast speed Wi-fi From £129.
- Apex Temple Court Hotel, 1-2 Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, EC4Y 1LL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 184 spacious luxury bedrooms and suites, bar, restaurant, executive lounge and gym. Free fast speed Wi-fi From £151.
- Citybase Apartments - St Paul's Apartments, Queen Street, EC4R 1BR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. These serviced apartments are situated in the centre of the City area of London, with Walbrook, Bank and Monument being a short walk away. The neighbouring streets are filled with cafes, restaurants and local shops, ensuring your stay is both enjoyable and convenient. From £120.
- Apex London Wall Hotel, 7-9 Copthall Avenue, EC2R 7NJ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Close to the Bank of England and Liverpool Street Station. 89 luxury bedrooms and suites, bar, restaurant and gym. Free fast speed Wi-fi From £151.
- Andaz Liverpool Street London Hotel, 40 Liverpool St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A concept casual luxury hotel. No two bedrooms the same. Features iPod rentals and 5 restaurants From £120.
- SACO Apartments – Aldgate, 99 Leman St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A grade II listed Victorian building in perfect walking distance to the main city centre. A great alternative to hotels for those travelling on business. From £120.
- Travelodge London Liverpool St, 1 Harrow Pl (tube: ), ☏ . £80.
- SilverDoor Ltd, 3 Dukes Gate Chiswick London W4 5DX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Catering to business travellers, serviced apartments agency SilverDoor Ltd offer over 300 properties in the UK capital.
- Citadines Prestige Holborn-Covent Garden London, 94-99 High Holborn, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Located a short walk from Covent Garden. Each air-conditioned apartment houses a bathroom with a separate toilet, a separate kitchen area and Internet access. Daily rates starts from £209.
- Malmaison London, Charterhouse Sq (tube: or ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Great location with attentive staff.
- Crowne Plaza London - The City, 19 New Bridge St, EC4V 6DB, ☏ .
As the Barbican is part of the City of London, it is covered by The Cloud’s City WiFi Network. Search for
_The Cloud in the available networks. FastConnect App available for smartphones and tablets. Free and unlimited access for all users.
The Barbican's WiFi is also provided by The Cloud and operates in the same way.
Visitors to the UK are entitled to free emergency treatment on the NHS. However, you may be charged for further hospital care, depending on the nature of the care and your country of origin. Check the NHS website if you need to know more. The nearest medical services are, in ascending order of severity:
- Local pharmacies, for basic medicines and healthcare products:
- 2 Portmans Pharmacy, 5 Cherry Tree Walk, Whitecross St, EC1Y 8NX, ☏ . M–F 9AM–6:30PM; Sa 9AM–5PM. Closest pharmacy to the venue.
- 3 Boots, 143 Moorgate, EC2M 6XQ, ☏ . M–F 7AM–8PM; Sa Su closed.
- 4 S Chauhan Chemist, 36 Goswell Road, EC1M 7AA, ☏ . M–F 8AM–6PM; Sa Su closed.
- 5 Boots, 104 Cheapside, EC2V 6DN, ☏ . M–F 7AM–7PM; Sa 9AM–6PM; Su closed.
- 6 Guy's Hospital Urgent Care Centre, Tabard Annexe, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT, ☏ . M–Su 8AM–8PM (last patient arrival at 7PM). For treatment of minor injuries like sprains, broken bones and bites.
- 7 Royal London Hospital Accident & Emergency, Whitechapel, E1 1BB, ☏ . For serious, life-threatening injuries.
As anywhere in the UK, 999 is a multi-purpose emergency phone number. See United_Kingdom#Connect for additional numbers.
Go south, crossing the River Thames via the Millennium Bridge, to access the central part of South Bank, home to the Tate Modern gallery and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Or head west down Fleet Street then Strand towards Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square or to Westminster, home of the British government and royal family.
|Routes through City of London|
|Bloomsbury-Soho ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||W E||→ East End → East London|
|Bloomsbury-Camden ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ← north side of loop ←||W E||→ Continues on south side of loop|
|Westminster ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ← south side of loop ←||W E||→ Continues on north side of loop|
|Westminster ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||W E||→ East End → East London|
|Bloomsbury-Camden ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||W E||→ East End → East London|
|Bloomsbury-Camden ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||W E||→ END|
|Bloomsbury ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||N S||→ South Bank → South London|
|END ← South Bank ←||W E||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ East End → East London / Greenwich / Southwark-Lewisham|
|Routes through City of London|
|Watford ← Clerkenwell ←||NW S||→ ENDS AT ST PAUL'S|
|ENDS AT LONDON BRIDGE ←||NW SE||→ Southwark → Dartford|
|ENDS AT THE MONUMENT ←||N SW||→ South Bank → Kingston-upon-Thames|
|Heathrow Airport ← Westminster ←||W E||→ ENDS AT HOLBORN CIRCUS|
|West End ← Holborn ←||W E||→ ENDS AT ST PAUL'S|