A city break is a wonderful way to experience a different pace of life, immerse yourself in more diverse cultures and discover new and fascinating things about the world. London is always one of the most popular destinations when it comes to enjoying a city break, and its historic district, the City of London, is a spot that holds many rewarding surprises. Read on to discover more about the City of London, what makes it so unique, and why it should be on your bucket list of places to visit.
What is the City of London?
If you’re feeling a little confused about the name, don’t worry. While you are probably quite familiar with what is technically known as Greater London, the City of London is a separate and unique area in its own right. If you’re looking for the best hotel in London city, it’s a good idea to first explore these two different concepts of London, and make sure you choose the right place to stay.
Greater London, as the capital of the UK, is a vast city covering over 600 square miles, with 32 different boroughs or districts within it, each with their own different character, style and atmosphere. Within this vast, bustling capital, you’ll also find a relatively small pocket that is known as the City of London, or the Square Mile. covering just a couple of miles, this tiny area actually has its origins in the ancient Roman settlement of Londinium that was the foundation of the capital you see today, and has historically been the heart of London’s commercial and business activities. The City of London has its own separate mayor, police and government, and is responsible for looking after the financial heart of the country.
Of course, while it has a separate designation, you won’t encounter any issues in travelling between the rest of London, and the City! Instead, you might be more fascinated by the subtle markings that make it stand out, such as emblems for the Corporation of the City of London that can be found on official signs and buildings, and the majestic dragon statues that mark the boundary of the area.
What to see and do
If you’re staying in the city of Londonl, you’ll already see some of the most iconic aspects of the City all around you. As the financial hub of the capital, the City is home to many of the landmarks that shape London’s contemporary skyline, including some of the most famous skyscrapers in the capital such as the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie, as well as London’s most magnificent historical buildings, including Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. A walk around the City will inevitably have you craning your neck to take in all of the gleaming contemporary architecture around you, and it’s an area that never fails to impress, even from a glimpse from the outside.
The City of London is also home to some intriguing historic artifacts that give you a glimpse into the rich and fascinating history of the capital. Travel back in time to the Roman era and beyond, with a visit to the London Stone, a Druidic altar and Roman milestone that is said to mark the heart of London, or see other glimpses of Roman ruins and remains, such as the Billingsgate Roman Baths. With one of the best 5 star London hotel city spots to call home during your stay, you’re also well placed to visit cultural gems such as the Tower of London, or enjoy contemporary art with a wander around the contemporary sculpture trail in the City.
In addition to commerce and its historic roots, the City of London is also a popular shopping district for visitors and locals alike. As well as plenty of the familiar brand names that you will encounter elsewhere, you’ll also find some excellent markets to browse, where you have the chance to turn up some great treasures. Leadenhall Market is a beautiful Victorian market that is most well known for making a cameo on the silver screen as a filming location for many major films, and you can find all sorts, from independent designer goods to artisanal foodstuffs. Petticoat Lane, as you might guess from the name, is a great spot to pick up clothing and leather goods, but you’ll also find a tantalising street food market where you can pick up mouthwatering, freshly made food for lunch. Meanwhile, if you’re hankering for something a little more special, the Royal Exchange is sure to deliver. Set amongst the illustrious and dramatic historic buildings, you can find bespoke jewellers, designer labels and premium beauty brands, alongside a spectacular bar and restaurant.
As a predominantly business-based area in London that focuses on the financial industries, the City of London is quite different to other London boroughs, as few people call this part of the capital home. However, because it is such an important area for trade, you can find many major stations, Underground connections and railway links to get you around, making it a very easy place to explore and get to.
One of the biggest and bustling train stations in the City is Liverpool Street station, where you can find rail links to get you around the country, as well as Underground and Overground connections if you want to venture around Greater London. The well-connected Central Line is just a few stops away from bustling parts of the capital such as the busy shopping hub, Oxford Circus, or the refined and enjoyable streets of Notting Hill. You’ll also find plenty to entertain you in the City itself though, from an excellent selection of restaurants and bars to head to for a meal or a relaxing drink, a number of lively theatres and live event venues, and some relaxing green spaces to enjoy a surprising moment of tranquility, amongst all the busyness of City life here.