City of London - Introduction to the Area
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, with its iconic dome, is one of the most popular sights in London and is on many people's To Do List when they visit the capital. It's located in the City of London, an area which is often referred to as the Square Mile due its size. It is one of the oldest parts of London with a fascinating history, that goes back nearly 2,000 years to when the Romans arrived, and it's relatively small size makes ideal for walking round and discover its rich heritage.
View from the Sky Garden - Left to Right: Tower 42, the Leadenhall Building (aka the Cheesegrater) and 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin)
Today the City is best known as an international financial district. It is a part of London that is often overlooked by visitors, who focus their attention on the better known sights in the West End. The City's delights are more subtle and require a bit more effort to discover, but for those who do they will find a medieval Guildhall, historic City Churches, charming, narrow alleyways and delightful small parks and gardens.
The Guildhall is the the City of London's town hall. It has a magnificient, medieval Great Hall and the Guildhall Art Gallery, with its small but impressive collection of art work, both of which are open to the public.
The City is renowned for its for its beautiful City Churches. Before the Great Fire of London in 1666 there were over one hundred churches, today nearly fifty churches have survived. One of the most popular to visit is Temple Church, with its effigies of the Knights Templars.
St Stephen Walbrook
Following the Great Fire fifty one of the City Churches, along with St Paul's Cathderal, were rebuilt, many of whom are designed by Christopher Wren. Of these St Stephen Walbrook, with its stunning architecture and impressive dome, is my personal favourite.
The City's secret alleyways and courtyards never fail to charm visitors. Hidden away just off the main roads, these can be easily missed unless you know where to find them as they don't feature in general guide books.
There are over one hundred and fifty open spaces in the City, small in stature and many of them are former churchyards, offering a tranquil oasis.
This is just a small selection of the many things to see and do in the City, if you'd like to explore it further please check out my List of City of London Walks