The City of London—often called London’s Square Mile or simply the City—is not only the geographic heart of the capital but also one of the world’s most important financial centers. Denoted as a separate county with its own governance and police force, the City is also home to historic landmarks and impressive skyscrapers.
Whether admiring the architecture on a walking tour, stopping by on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, or cycling along the River Thames on a bike tour, the City of London is a must for visitors. Major sights include the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and the Millennium Footbridge. Other attractions include the Bank of England building and Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of London.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The City of London Information Centre is located in St. Paul's Churchyard and offers maps, services, and multilingual information.
- Shoppers should head for Old Spitalfields Market, Leadenhall Market, or the One New Change shopping mall.
- The City of London has a huge number of bars and restaurants, most of which are located between Bank and Liverpool Street.
How to Get to There
The City of London lies along the north bank of the Thames, with Covent Garden to the west, Whitechapel to the east, and Shoreditch to the north. There are 11 underground stations there, the most central being Bank (Central, Northern, and Waterloo and City Lines) and Monument (Circle and District lLines). It is also possible to arrive by train (Liverpool Street Station or Blackfriars Station) or by boat (Blackfriars or Tower Piers).
When to Get There
Visit on a weekday evening to sip cocktails with London’s financial elite or dine at one of the area’s many top-rated restaurants. Alternatively, stroll the streets during the weekend, when the banks are closed and workers have commuted home: the best time to admire the architecture and take in the sights.
The City of London Financial District
The City of London’s history dates back 2,000 years, to Roman settlements in the waterfront district. Later, when London’s administrative center moved to Westminster, the City became a financial powerhouse, and by the 1970s it was one of the world’s most important centers of international finance. Home to the London Stock Exchange, the Baltic Shipping Exchange, and the Bank of England, the financial district turns over £2.5 trillion daily and employs more than 400,000 people.