The City of London is actually only a small area east of central London, also known as the Square Mile. (See City of London Boundary Map.)
The Square Mile, heart of the City of London
The Square Mile is the financial and business center of London and where you’ll find the suit-wearing bankers and stockbrokers dashing around. The City of London becomes really quiet at the weekend when the workers aren’t there. It’s well worth a visit as it’s full of historical buildings next to modern additions.
There’s loads to do and some of the places you can visit for free.
The Museum of London
The Bank of England Museum
St Paul’s Cathedral - free entrance to: St. Dunstan’s Chapel; The Crypt Area; Attend a Service – There are services every day in the Cathedral and all are welcome to attend. Personally I would seriously recommend the entrance fee and the cost of the Super Tour is well worth every penny.
Free Lunchtime Recitals at St. Olave’s Medieval Church
Prince Henry’s Room
The London Stone
Guildhall Art Gallery
Roman London’s Amphitheatre – Beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery and discovered in 1998, the site is now a protected monument.
The Clockmakers’ Company
The Clockmakers’ Museum
St Sepulchre’s Church
Although the Tower of London is just beyond the boundary, this could be fun to do:
The Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London is a 700 year old tradition that takes place every night. Essentially it’s locking all the doors to the Tower of London and the public are allowed to escort the warden, as long as they apply in advance. As the Tower must be locked – it houses the Crown Jewels! – they never miss a night because you can’t leave the door open, can you?
What’s in the Square Mile?
Middle Temple Lane
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Sepulchre’s Church
Liverpool Street Station
St Mary Ax/The Gerkin
St Martin’s Le Grand
St Brides Church
Mary Le Bow Church
The Monument ( to the Great Fire of London 1666)
Millenium Bridge (although not strictly ‘in’ the Square Mile it leads from within the Square Mile over the Thames to Tate Modern.
The Barbican Centre
Museum of London
London Stock Exchange
Tube Stations within the Square Mile
Blackfriairs – District & Circle Lines
City Thameslink -
Barbican – Metropolitan; Hammersmith & City & Circle Lines
Moorgate – Metropolitan; Hammersmith & City; Circle & Northern Lines
St Pauls – Central Line
Mansion House – District & Circle Lines
Cannon Street – District & Circle Lines
Monument – District & Circle Lines
Bank – Central; Northern; Waterloo & City & the DLR Line
Liverpool Street – Central; Metropolitan; Circle & Hammersmith & City Lines
Aldgate – Metropolitan Line
Tower Hill – District & Circle Lines
Tower Gateway – DLR
Overland Stations within the Square Mile
The Square Mile’s PAST:
•Cheapside is home to the church of St. Mary Le Bow, which has played a part in London’s cockney heritage. It is said that a true Londoner must be born within earshot of the Bow bells ringing
•In the nursery rhyme, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ chanted by children for over 300 years, it was the “great bells of Bow,” which were said to be those that Dick Whittington heard in Highgate as he was leaving London. They told him to “turn around Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London”
•By the 16th century, the English antiquarian John Stow documented both the production and retailing of silk here: “There were more silk shops in Cheapside during the latter years of Elizabeth reign than there had formerly been in all England”
•Bread Street is the birthplace of 17th century English poet John Milton (Paradise Lost)
•Geoffrey Chaucer grew up around Cheapside and there are a scattering of references to the thoroughfare and its environs throughout his work
•In 1797 William Wordsworth was inspired to write a poem about the tree on the corner of Wood Street and Cheapside, in which the earliest City documents describe it as “ancient” – it remains there to this day
•When Charlotte Brontë arrived for the first time in the City of London she professed herself to be “deeply excited.” The West End “amused” her but the City “seems so much more earnest”
•In the 1951 tale of Dr Doolittle, there was a cockney sparrow called Cheapside who visits to give the doctor news and tell stories
•Historically, the Lord Mayor of the City of London travelled by river each year to Westminster to swear allegiance to the crown (the origin of today’s Lord Mayor’s Show). Nowadays, he travels by road, but it was these river journeys that gave birth to the word “float” which describes vehicles in parades and shows today
•Until comparatively recent boundary changes, the City had no roads – none of its highways or byways use the word “road” within their names. Even now, with the exception of Goswell Road, all thoroughfares in the City use “street”, “lane”, “gate”, “wall” or some other word. The reason is thought by some to be that – as the old definition of a road was “a way between places” and the City is at the heart of the capital (and thus our nation) – it is not “between” anywhere but the at the start or end of any journey
•The City – the world’s leading financial and business centre – has the unusual ratio of 40 times more workers than residents
•The Square Mile is a location like no other – linked to a staggering one in six jobs in the capital
•The City has 12,000 firms, 7,855 of which are in finance or business – there are 264 foreign banks and 618 legal firms
•340,000 people work in the City of London, and 112,000 of those are based within a 10 minute walk of One New Change
•69% of workers in the City are aged 20-39 – and 18% are 40-49 years old
•9, 200 people currently live locally within the City (80,000 living on the fringes)
•Of the 12.95 million annual footfall at St Paul’s station, 5.1 million (39%) occurs outside peak commuting times. 32% of off-peak exit and entries are at weekends.
All information on this post obtained from various sources on the internet, except the photos which are mine.