by Janis / 2 comments - Orginally published:30th June 2020

Oh, and let’s not forget Monument station too

In the heart of London's financial district

I love digging deeper into each of London’s districts, there is always something unusual and intriguing to discover. I usually end up leaving a place with more questions than answers.

More recently I’ve been narrowing this down further and uncovering what you can discover just within a hop, skip and a jump from a London tube station. Take a peek at what lies around Tower Hill tube station.

In this post, I’m poking my inquisitive eye around the ancient streets and lanes that are nearby Bank and Monument underground stations.

With the centuries of history that pour through these oddly named streets, I’m sure we’ll find some hidden gems.

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I’ve worked in the City of London for more years than I care to mention, so this little part of London is quite dear to my heart.

Where is Bank in London?

How to get to Bank?

Bank Station is linked to Monument Station by an underground walkway, so they are often referred to together. In total the two stations serve five underground lines, and the Docklands Light Railway are both in ‘Zone 1’.

Bank Station lines;
Waterloo & City
Dockland Light Railway (DLR)

Monument Station lines;


Don’t forget if you have a contactless bank card, or a card assigned to your phone you tap and pay with that. (For more check out the TFL site(Transport for London))

Discovering London

A little history on Bank station

Bank Station opened in 1900 and is named after the Bank of England, which is located along Threadneedle Street. Nearby one of the many entrances that serve the tube station.

Deep in the heart of the financial ‘City of London’, Bank tube station is a hive of activity and a central hub for your busy city worker. Although, if you visit here at the weekends, the station and the streets are deserted.

Hidden underground there is a maze of walkways, a network of tunnels, escalators, lifts and deep twisting stairwells to lose yourself in. Though don’t be put off, it’s all part of the fun.

Stretching high above you, there is a wealth of incredible and fascinating architecture, which sits all-around Bank Junction.

The bustling road junction at Bank, with the Royal exchange direcly in front of us, and the Bank of England on the left.
The Bank Junction looking at Royal Exchange

Bank Junction is bustling over-ground just as much as it is under, as nine streets converge onto this one intersection.

They are Threadneedle Street, Cornhill, Lombard Street, Mansion House Place, Walbrook, Queen Victoria Street, Poultry, Mansion House Street and Prince's Street.

An Equestrian statue to the Duke a Wellington, in front of the Royal Exchange, above Bank Underground station, in the heart of the City of London
The Duke a Wellington

This district of London suffered devastatingly during the Great Fire of London in 1666. Pudding Lane, where the fire is believed to have started, is just by Monument station. The Monument that stands outside the station commemorates this event.

During the Blitz from September 1940 to May 1941 Bank was again severely hit. A bomb landed and created a huge crater in the middle of Bank Junction, just missing the Royal Exchange, Mansion House and the Bank of England.

Today Bank Station is undergoing a refurbishment project which should be completed in 2022. In my opinion, it certainly isn’t a moment too soon.

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A walk through the City of London

Bank of England

The first prominent building to point out is the Bank of England, otherwise known as ‘The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’.

The Bank of England was established in 1694 and is one of the oldest banks in the world. She has been located on Threadneedle Street since 1734.

The Bank of England building as seen from Threadneedle Street, close to Bank station
The Bank of England

Although banknotes are no longer produced onsite, the original notes created in 1694 were all handwritten. Historical figures have been printed on the reverse of the British banknotes since 1970. The latest of which is the artist J.M.W. Turner who appeared in February 2020 on the back of a £20 note. It brought a bit of fame to the seaside town of Margate as it depicts the lighthouse and Turner Contemporary Gallery.

For an in-depth look behind the scenes of the Bank, head to the Bank of England museum located inside. It is free of charge to visit, and open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm.

The Heart of the City of London

The Royal Exchange
Just opposite the Bank of England is the Royal Exchange, this building is striking and certainly makes a statement.
The Royal Exchange, as seen from the gardens at the intersection between Threadneedle Street & Cornhill.
The Royal Exchange

It is the third Royal Exchange to be built on this site and dates from the 1840s. It was opened by Queen Victoria in 1844. The original Royal Exchange which constructed in 1571 and also opened by the then current Queen Elizabeth I; however, it was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666.

The present layout is in the based on the original four-sided design, with a courtyard in the middle, where merchants could trade with each other. This elegant building would once have been open to the elements. However, today the luxury boutiques, cocktail bars and high-end stores are all covered by a glass roof.

The decorative stone arch conceals iron gates at one of the entrances to the Royal Exchange
An entrance to the Royal Exchange
A close up of the iron gates at one of the entrances to the Royal Exchange
The iron gates to the Royal Exchange
You are free to wander around inside and admire the architecture, although, don’t blame me if you splash out on that luxury handbag.

We have a little book on our shelves that we sometimes delve into when we're about to hit an area of London.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different regions of London, it's a great resource to help you see what's hidden in plain sight.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves London.

The Lord Mayor of London's home

Mansion House
Just a stones throw from the Royal Exchange is Mansion House and home to the ‘Lord Mayor of London’ the City of London’s mayor. Not to be confused with the Mayor of London. The Lord Mayor’s role has been in existence since 1189
The impressive 18th century, Palladian style, Mansion House at Bank Junction
Mansion House

The role is now only held for a year, and the new Lord Mayor is sworn in every November. A pageant is led by the Lord Mayor from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice in the City of Westminster, where allegiance is sworn to the Queen. This annual event is known as the “Lord Mayors Show”.

Mansion House was built in the mid-18th-century, the elegant banqueting halls inside are still used today for official City of London functions.

Have you seen?

If you enjoy finding out a little more about London districts, take a look at the articles we created for Spitalfields, Smithfield, Clerkenwell, Temple, St James’s, Camden and Greenwich.

The modern side of London


I do love the fusion of the contemporary architecture standing toe-to-toe with the old weather-worn ancient buildings within London. Watching the reflections of the old structures rippling across the glass of the new.

So many skyscrapers are now springing up across London’s skyline, you can easily lose track of the weird and wonderful names that they have been given.

A view of the Natwest Building in the City of London at dusk on a winter's day
The old Natwest Building - Now Tower 42
A view of 30 St Mary Axe behind St Andrew Undershaft Church after the sun has done down.
30 St Mary Axe - 'The Gherkin'

The most prominent is The Shard; however, close by Bank Station is the NatWest Tower, now known as Tower 42. This was to be the first of many skyscrapers taking to the London skies in 1980.

Also nearby is The Cheesegrater built in 2014, The Gherkin completed in 2003, the Walkie Talkie from 2014 and a more recent addition in 2018 is The Scalpel.

London's little treasures

Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. Ornate wrought ironwork, an incredible arched glass roof and stunning shop façades. In 1972 it was granted Grade II listed status.
A bustling Leadenhall Market, close to Bank Station, at a weekday lunchtime.
Leadenhall Market

The history of Leadenhall dates a lot further back than the Victorians. It was early in the 1400s that the building was acquired by Dick Whittington and soon became a thriving market. A mixture of food produce was sold including meat, poultry, game and fish.

Over the centuries it evolved, and fruit, vegetables and dairy produce were also available. Today you will find a couple of food shops; however, now you’ll stumble across boutiques, restaurants and a rather pleasant pub.

If you've yet to discover London and its ancient history, then let's start planning. I find these DK Eyewitness Travel Guides invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.

You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.

A touch of London's history


The Monument was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London.

It stands 202 feet high (62 metres), and if it were laid down, it would rest at the exact spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on 2nd September 1666.

There has been further debate as to whether the fire started in the bakery owned by the King’s baker Thomas Farriner, but who am I to question.

The lone Doric column topped a golden fireball know as the Monument.
The Monument
If you fancy heading to the top of the Monument grab yourself a London Pass and you’ll be able to discover many of London’s sights and attractions.

Where to stay in London

If you want to stay in the heart of the financial district then why not choose the Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s (formerly Grange St. Paul’s), as we did? A short hop from Bank.

There are plenty of choices, why not check out for something that suits your requirements?

A hidden gem in London

The construction of Guildhall was completed in 1440 and has been used as the City of London’s town hall for several hundreds of years since.
The exterior of the Guildhall in the City of London under a deep blue sky
The Guildhall

Many important trials took place within these walls, and the Great Hall is still used today for banquets. Though one of the incredible sights here is the surviving Medieval crypts.

The Guildhall has been used for many state occasions and has entertained Princes, Czars, Kings and Queens.

It’s good to talk!

Please share with us your favourite spots in London you love to visit.

Historic London

Bow Bells Church and Bow Lane

Just a short hop further up Cheapside and you will spot the Church St Mary-le-Bow. This Sir Christopher Wren church is famous for its bells.

It is believed, that to be a true cockney, you must be born within earshot of the ringing of the ancient Bow Bells. So, you can now question a Londoner if they tell you they are a cockney.

The bell tower of the Church of St Mary-le-Bow, off Cheapside.
St Mary-le-Bow Church
Just next to St Mary-le-Bow is Bow Lane and this is a delightful pedestrian lane full of stylish shops, sandwich bars, and traditional pubs. Little alleyways lead off of the main route, go and take a peek to see what you can find.
A view down the pedestrianised Bow Lane in the City of London
Bow Lane
This used to be my local haunt, although it has undoubtedly changed over the years; nevertheless, the memories still remain.

Tube station walks

Take a browse through our posts on Temple, St Paul's and Tower Hill tube stations, to find out what we uncovered in these districts.

A walk through London's history

Watling Street

Part of the way along Bow Lane it is crossed by Watling Street.

Watling Street is part of the ancient Roman road that runs from the coastal port of Dover in Kent and through the historic city of Canterbury. It then weaves its way through London onto St Albans and continues until Wroxeter in Shropshire, some 276 miles (444km) later.

The Ye Olde Watling pub on Watling Street, a traditional tavern, on the historic London to Dover way.
The Ye Olde Watling Pub
This ancient trackway has seen many footsteps over the centuries, including Pilgrims, Saxons, Vikings and Normans.
* Confession time: I've since found out that this section of Watling Street wasn't actually part of the original Roman road. Apparently it is close by; however, not quite on this spot.

Visiting tip

If you would like to visit the City of London when it is quiet and feel like you’ve got the lanes to yourselves, then head there at the weekend. It’s a whole different world from the 9 to 5, hustle and bustle of the weekdays.

The quirky side of London

A nod to its history
With this part of London being so historical it holds so many tales from its past. Blue plaques are dotted all around to give you an insight as to how the city has evolved, particularly with the devastation caused by the Great Fire.

Stocks Market

One plaque we spotted was for the ‘Stocks Market’ on the front of Mansion House. The Stocks Market was established in 1282 for traders to sell all their produce from a central location. As the streets of London around Cheapside were becoming quite chaotic.
A blue enamel plaque recognising the spot there the ancient Stocks Market stood
A plaque to the old Stocks Market
The Stocks Market continued to be thriving until 1737 when it was decided that it occupied a prime piece of land. So, it was then moved to Farringdon, and the now Mansion House was built in its place.

Police box

While strolling around by Guildhall, we came across an old City of London Police Box.

These were once seen everywhere and were used by the police and public to call for assistance.

The “call posts” in the City are pale blue and cast-iron rectangular boxes. Small than others as the street around the city are narrow.

A brightly painted mid-blue Police post public call box next to a stone building
City of London Police box

There are only eight remaining and are Grade II listed.

Fifty posts were installed in the "Square Mile" from 1907, and they remained in use until 1988.


A tiny little area at the end of Bow Lane is known as the Cordwainer Ward.

A Cordwainer is a name for a professional leather shoemaker.

A brass statue to a cordwainer, or shoemaker, to designate the area known as the Ward of Cordwainer
The Cordwainer statue

During medieval times this was a flourishing trade in this part of London.

The leather that was used was imported from Moorish Córdoba in Spain.

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  1. There are so many gems in London… Leadenhall Market is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for this tour!

    1. Author

      I’m glad you enjoyed my tour of Bank.

      Yes, Leadenhall is delightful; I love it there. Have you visited Spitalfields Market and explored all the historic streets around there? It is fascinating and full of quirky discoveries. Stroll all around Fournier St, Wilkes St and Brick Lane; also have a peek around Gun St and Artillery Lane; I love this region of London.

      Have fun

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