The City: what to visit in this business district? - Good Deals London

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Damian Harper

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The City, also called “Square Mile” (square mile) is the first international financial center, neck-to-neck with Wall Street. This area of ​​less than 3km2 is home to the headquarters of commercial institutions, banking and insurance establishments. Although the district concentrates many modern and design buildings, it is also the oldest district of London. The latter is guarded by a griffin, a legendary creature that appears around every London thoroughfare leading to the City.

The City has its own police force and each year elects its mayor, manages schools, garbage collection, etc. for the 8 inhabitants of the perimeter and the 000 businesses located there.

Although the size of the City is small, the visits are numerous and varied and take us back in time from Roman times to the present day.

To discover this unusual district, prefer the week to the weekend to enjoy the entertainment.


The buildings of the City

20 Fenchurch Street and the skygarden


20 Fenchurch Street, better known under the name of Walkie-Talkie, because of its curved shape hosts at its top a panoramic terrace and a landscaped garden called Sky Garden.

Free access but subject to prior reservation on the site, offers a spectacular view of the most beautiful monuments of London such as the shard, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast,  St Paul's Cathedral, London Eye, or The Gerkin ...

Height : 160 m
Architect : Rafael Viñoly

Address : 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF


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Fen Court


Open to the public since February 15, 2019, Fen Court offers on the 15th floor a roof garden from where you can admire the Walkie-Talkie, the Shard, the Gherkin or the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Unlike the Sky Garden, it is not necessary to reserve. Free admission.
Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 00 p.m. and on weekends from 18 a.m. to 30 p.m.

Height : M 80
Architect : Eric Parry

Address : 120 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 5BA


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Tower 42


Tower 42 is the third tallest building in the City and the 7ᵉ tallest in the City of London.

The top of the tower houses a panoramic champagne bar, Vertigo 42, from where you can see the Shard, Skygarden, Gherkin, St Paul's Cathedral and Canary Wharf.

Open Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 16 p.m. and Monday to Saturday from 30:17 p.m. to 00:23 p.m. Reservation essential.

Height : M 183
Architect : Richard Seifert

Address : 25 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HN


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30 St Mary Axe ou the Gherkin


Opened in 2004, this 41-storey building, nicknamed "gherkin" by Londoners because of its shape, was designed by the architectural firm of Norman Foster. Until the construction of the Shard in 2009, the Gherkin was the tallest skyscraper in the country as well as the UK's first ecological tower.

In 2003, the Gherkin was considered the most remarkable skyscraper of the year and received the Emporis Skyscraper Award for architecture.

30 St Mary Ax is not open to visitors but it is possible to enter during Open house london, the equivalent of National Heritage Days or by reserving a table at the restaurant Helix.


Height : 180 m
Architects : Norman Foster, Ken Shuttleworth

Address : 30 St Mary Ax, London EC3A 8EP


The monuments of the City

Monument to the Great Fire of London - Monument to the Great Fire of London


This Doric-style Roman column commemorates the largest fire in London's history, which devastated much of the City in 1666. 61m high, it was erected in 1671 by Christopher Wren on the site of the first church that burned down during the great fire.
Inside, a staircase of 311 steps leads to the top which offers a beautiful panorama of the Thames and the Tower of London.

Address : Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH





St Paul's Cathedral


Built from 1675 to 1710, after the Great Fire, the st paul's cathedral is Christopher Wren's masterpiece combining baroque and classical styles. Its majestic dome, the second largest in Europe, offers a panoramic view of London at its summit after climbing 257 steps. You can admire the London Eye, the art museum Tate Modern, le Shard, 20 Fenchurch Street.

Address : St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD


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St Mary-le-Bow Church


Destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666, this church was rebuilt between 1670 and 1883 by the British architect Christopher Wren.

The bells of this church are the largest in the City after those of Saint Paul's Cathedral.

The Romanesque crypt houses a snack bar The Café Below frequented by City executives.

Address : Cheapside, EC2V 6AU London


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Bevis Marks: Britain's oldest synagogue


Bevis Marks was built in 1701 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews fleeing the Inquisition and taking advantage of religious tolerance in England during the reign of Oliver Cromwell.
Nowadays, the synagogue is the place of worship for the British Sephardic Jewish community where services and tours are held daily.

Address : 4 Heneage Ln, London EC3A 5DQ


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Guildhall: the Town Hall of the City


Built on the site of a Roman amphitheater of which there are still foundations, Guildhall has been the Town Hall of the City since 1319. This medieval building welcomes each year on the occasion of Lord Mayor’s Show, the procession of the Lord Mayor who parades in costume and coach to mark his entry into office and swear allegiance to the Queen.

Guided tours are provided once a month on the occasion of the municipal council meeting.
Information and registration on the City website London Guides.

Address : Gresham St, London EC2V 7HH

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Mansion House: the official residence of the Mayor of the City


Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor elected each year and whose office is honorary. The building houses an extensive collection of 14th century Dutch and Flemish paintings open to the public. One-hour guided tours are organized every Tuesday afternoon at 00:XNUMX p.m.

Address : Walbrook, EC4N 8BJ London


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Leadenhall Market


This late 19th century Victorian market hall made of red bricks, wrought iron and glass was originally a food market. Today the stalls have given way to shops, pubs and restaurants.

Leadenhall Market served as the backdrop for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter to the Wizards' school. The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, a secret passage to reach Diagon Alley, is actually an optician from Bull's Head Passage.

Address : Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT


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London Wall - London Wall


Built around the year 200 of the Christian era, the Roman wall ensured the defense and the security of the citizens. The wall was approximately 4 km long and encompassed an area of ​​approximately 330 acres (134 hectares).


Address : Tower Hill, London EC3N 4DJ

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London Mithraeum or the Temple of Mithra


In the heart of the City, are the remains of a Roman temple built in the 1954rd century and discovered by chance in XNUMX on a site bombed during the Second World War.


Address : 12 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AA

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Tower of London


Built in the XNUMXth century on the initiative of William the Conqueror, the Tower of London  served as a royal palace, prison, armory and even a menagerie. Inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, the monument and one of the main attractions of the city. Its visit is an opportunity to immerse yourself in British history and discover the crown jewels with the largest diamond in the world as a treasure!

For 700 years at 21:50 p.m., the Beefeaters have closed the fortress every evening during the key ceremony, which can be attended by reserving several months in advance.

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Tower Bridge


At the gates of the City, Tower Bridge is one of the emblems of the city of London. This Victorian-style bridge opened in 1894 offers a magical view of the Thames and the cruiser HMS Belfast. Still in operation, the bridge still rises three to four times a day for the passage of boats.

It is possible to visit the interior of this famous bridge where an exhibition traces its history and where you can discover the steam engine room dating from the 42th century. Finally, do not miss the view from the footbridge, built XNUMXm above the water and one section of which has a glass floor!

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The Barbican Conservatory the second largest tropical greenhouse in London



Located at the Barbican Center in the North of the City, The Barbican Conservatory the second largest tropical greenhouse in London after the Palm House of Kew Gardens.

Opened in 1984, the greenhouse is home to more than 2 species of plants and trees, some of which are rare and endangered in their original habitat. The ponds welcome koi carp, roaches and water turtles.
The greenhouses, which are free to visit, are open on certain Sundays and public holidays.

Address : Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS


City museums

Bank of England Museum - Museum of the Bank of England


Covering more than 1000 m2, the Bank of England Museum traces the history of the bank from its founding in 1694 to the present day. On display is a recreation of a late 99,79th century desk, known as the Stock Office, and a collection of banknotes and coins. It is even possible to handle a real gold ingot (XNUMX% pure gold) through a plexiglass box!


Address :  Bartholomew Ln, London EC2R 8AH


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Museum of London - Museum of London


Founded in 1976, the Museum of London traces the history of the British capital from the Paleolithic to the present day. Classified in chronological order, the exhibitions present the daily life of the inhabitants and the development of the city through significant events.


Address : 2 Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH


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The City Of London Police Museum - City Police Museum


A small free museum which traces the evolution of the British police services through the investigations of the murders of Jack the Ripper, the research following the bombings during the Blitz or the current strategies of the fight against terrorism and the fight against cybercrime .


Address : 2 Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH


Dr Johnson's House - Doctor Johnson's House


This museum is the home of the writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), whom he occupied from 1749 to 1759. It is here that he carried out for 9 years the work of his life: the first dictionary English language professional, who carefully took up all the current and technical vocabulary in use in XNUMXth century England.

Address : 17 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE


Visit a gin distillery

Opened in December 2002, City of London Distillery is the City's only distillery offering guided tours and tastings for Gin lovers.

The Cold bar, which offers a view of the 3 copper stills, offers many gin-based cocktails.

Address : 22-24 Bride Lane, London EC4Y 8DT


Guided tour in French in the City


To discover the secrets of the City, take part in the guided tour in French provided by Maxime which will take you for 2h30 to unusual places such as one of the favorite pubs of the writer Charles Dickens and the famous door that fans of Paris will recognize. 'Harry Potter.

A other guided tour in French of a duration of 3 hours will make you discover the districts of the City and South bank. On this walk you will discover the history and origins of London as you venture on both sides of the Thames. The tour starts in front of St Paul's Cathedral and continues towards Leadenhall Market, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Across the River Thames, your guide will take you past the famous cruiser HMS Belfast, Hay's Galleria and finally the very famous food market: Borough Market.

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