HOME AT FIRST's
Walk through the
A HALF-DAY OF
EXPLORATION NORTH & WEST OF THE TOWER BRIDGE
If youre like lots of foreign visitors to London, youve probably got West End
fever. Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Horse Guards Parade, Hyde Park, Harrods, Soho, and
West End Theatres are the big draws in the West End. But, as weve documented in
these pages before, theres much more to London than the West End. In fact,
well dare to rewrite Horace Greeley by suggesting that, in London, to find
adventure, go east, young man, go east. Take a chance, and come along for a
half-days discovery tour through parts of London not knee-deep in tourists. Walk
in the City of London.
FIRST APPEARED IN APRIL, 2005.
MOST RECENT UPDATE: 2015.
OUR WALK BEGINS AND ENDS
Photo © HOME AT FIRST
"The City", or "The Square Mile", is the original city of London and
London’s financial & banking center. The City is home to the Bank of
England, London’s International Stock Exchange, Lloyds of London, and
many other major financial institutions. During working hours on
weekdays The City has a population of 300,000, making it a densely
populated square mile. But after 5PM and on weekends and holidays The
City of London is home to only about 7,000 residents, changing its
character to something more like a provincial town.
The City of London has its
own mayor, its own police force—separate from those of Greater
London—and fully 2,000 years of continuous history. The City served as
an important settlement to conquering Romans, Saxons, and Normans,
before becoming the center of the English-speaking world. Its boundaries
were defined by the defensive barrier wall built by the Romans shortly
the founding of Londinium in the 1st century.
|After the Romans abandoned London to the Saxons in the
5th century, London expanded beyond the Roman walls. But, with the
Norman Conquest the borders of the City of London became fixed to
approximately its current limits. Neighboring cities and boroughs, like
the City of Westminster (a principal piece of the West End) and the
Borough of Tower Hamlets just east of The City (including St.
Katharine’s Marina), grew up around the historic City of London.
Although a few tantalizing
sections of the old London Wall remain—including a very visible portion
Home at First guests pass every day as they walk the 5 minutes to Tower
Hill Underground Station—the traditional borders of The City have long
ago disappeared. In fact, despite its continuous habitation for two
millennia, the principal evolution of The City of London has been driven
by conquest, disease, fire, and war. Remarkably, The City of London has
rebounded to greater size and success after each calamity; renewing and
reinventing itself has been the salvation of The Square Mile. Still, if
you know where to look, you can still spot evidence of the previous
incarnations of the last 2,000 years of history tucked among some of the
most expensive real estate on earth. A walk through the southeastern
quadrant of The City provides more than a few clues into the rich past
of this oldest part of London.
— TAKE THE WALK —
Follow the golden trail on the interactive map below. Click on the links in the 10
captions below or on sections of the interactive map that follows to see details of what
you will be seeing and experiencing along the way, including:
Saxons, Normans, and headless nobles
en route to London's most historic street market.
2. Shop for street fashions on
(But watch for Jack the Ripper!)
3. Gawk at the
Erotic Gherkin, Londons
most controversial landmark.
4. Find out what brought John Wayne, Harry Potter, Angelina Jolie,
Russell Crowe, and Robert Mitchum to
5. Learn about London's first public conveniences, at the
6. Heft gold bars for free at the
Bank of England.
7. More Romans, plus explaining "Monument for Bank" on
King William St.
8. Learn why Londons second Great Fire may have been a good thing,
9. Discover connections with ancient Rome & early Pennsylvania
Londons oldest church.
10. And have time left over for a visit to the
the Tower Bridge, or an afternoon nap.
CLICK ON THE MAP'S NUMBERS FOR
Learn how to plan your own journey of
London with Home At First.
(When you do, you can easily walk
through the City of London in a day.)
First offers travel to London and many other great regions throughout the
After a week or two in a London apartment, why not plan additional time in a cottage
in England, or in
Wales. Minimum rental is one
and mixing and matching Home At First destinations is easy with our help.