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City of London Area Guide

Commonly referred to as the ‘Square Mile’, The City of London is London’s financial district. Because of its name, some people often mistakenly think it’s the centre of London (or ‘downtown’). Although it’s in central London, it lies just to the east of the West End which is the very centre of London.

It’s obviously a convenient area to stay if you’re on a business trip. And with direct trains and buses to Liverpool St station, it’s also a good choice if you’re arriving at Stansted airport.

View a map of the City of London area

History

Founded by the Romans in AD 43, the City is the oldest part of London. Largely destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and heavily bombed during World War II, it’s now an mixture of old buildings and modern skycrapers.

Places of interest

  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • Museum of London
  • Dr Johnson’s house

If you like churches, there’s a choice of 39 to visit.

Accommodation information

Most budget hotels are found in the eastern part of the City near Tower Hill, Aldgate East and Liverpool St tube stations. There are no traditional B&B hotels in the area, they’re all budget chain hotels. Hotel prices are often cheaper at the weekend.

Book a cheap hotel in the City of London

Shopping

Only about 9,000 people live in the City and many of the shops serve the needs of the 280,000 people who work there. Leadenhall Market, a beautiful Victorian covered market is worth a visit. The newly opened One New Change shopping centre near St Paul’s Cathedral, is the first to be built in 130 years.

Some of London’s best Sunday markets are just to the east of the City: Spitalfields, Brick Lane, the Sunday UpMarket and Columbia Rd Flower Market.

Although it’s much better than it used to be, some restaurants, small cafes and pubs are closed at the weekend.

Transport

Underground

There are numerous tube stations in the area. See our map of the area.

Local buses

These are the bus routes from the hotels we recommend in the City.