Here’s why I wanted to experience the ‘City’ as a ‘tourist’…
This is an odd one for me to write about, as for the last 27 years, Monday to Friday, I work in this not only financially rich city, but historically rich city. I’m located near to St Paul’s cathedral.
Every day you take for granted the centuries of history that greet you, when you are herded off the early morning commuter trains. The view of Tower Bridge as we pull into Cannon Street station flanked by the Tower of London is wonderful, if you only took a few minutes to appreciate it. Equalled in the opposite direction, the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s most iconic creation.
And there’s the Great Fire of London.
A vast amount of the medieval City of London was razed to the ground in the Great Fire of London in 1666, which started at a bakers in Pudding Lane, as documented by Samuel Pepys.
But the stunning architecture that has since been erected from the Great Fire’s ashes, makes you proud to work in this city.
Lane after lane there are little hidden gems of history and numerous blue plaques, explaining what previously occupied this site or its prior inhabitants.
One interesting fact about this historical ‘square mile’, is that you will not come across a single ‘Road’, everything is named, Lane, Street, Hill, Court, Yard, Alley, Passage to name just a few and more unusual monikers like ‘Poultry and Princes’ or ‘Puddle Dock’.
If you are mainly interested in the architecture of the city, it is best to visit at a weekend when the streets are fairly deserted.
However, if you are fascinated by the hustle and bustle of daily life in this financial oasis, then you should visit during a weekday.
Beware of the black cabs, the red buses, cycling couriers and the blinkered city worker, all of which are longing for the weekend to arrive.
These are just a few reasons why…
… the City of London really is a destination to indulge your history seeking desires and not a just a place full of bankers
– Architecture; old and new, this is the tip of the iceberg;
St Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London
Bank of England
Soooo many churches
Tower Hill naval memorial
Shard (not strictly in the city, but you get a good view from there)
– The Markets;
Leadenhall Market (historically sold meat, game & poultry)
Old Billingsgate Fish Market
Smithfield meat Market
Spitalfield Market (just on the outskirts of the city)
Petticoat Lane Market (fashion and clothing, also just on the outskirts of the city)
Borough food Market (just a short hop south of London Bridge)
– Not so well known: to get an unhindered view of St Paul’s Cathedral dome, I highly recommend taking the lift to the 6th Floor of One New Change.
This new shopping centre opened in the heart of the city in 2010, and has a stunning roof top viewing terrace (and guess what it is free of charge!!!).
– The City featured in the movies (to name but a few);
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The Da Vinci Code
– Commonly known streets;
Fleet Street (historical home of the broadsheets and tabloids)
Hatton Garden (gold and diamonds)
Old Bailey (The Central Criminal Court)
Threadneedle Street (Bank of England resides here)
– Close vicinity to the City of London and worth a visit;
The South Bank and river walk
St Catherine’s Dock
– Points to note;
Transport: public transport is probably the best way to arrive at the city, although not always the cheapest. Ensure you travel at less popular times of the day, not just for cost purposes, but also you don’t want to be fighting a commuter for that last seat on the train, as believe me I know who will win.
– Weather: it’s the UK, what do you think you are going to get???
Go visit, you won’t be disappointed