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HOME AT FIRST's

ADVENTURE

LONDON

A Walk through the

City of

London

A HALF-DAY OF EXPLORATION NORTH & WEST OF THE TOWER BRIDGE

            If you’re like lots of foreign visitors to London, you’ve 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 we’ve documented in these pages before, there’s much more to London than the West End. In fact, we’ll 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-day’s discovery tour through parts of London not knee-deep in tourists. Walk with us in the City of London.

 

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN APRIL, 2005.                 MOST RECENT UPDATE: 2015.

 

 

The walk begins and ends here at St. Katharine's Marina, surrounded by beauty, history, tranquility, and a nice selection of restaurants. Photo © Home At First.
OUR WALK BEGINS AND ENDS AT
ST. KATHARINE'S MARINA
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 after

 

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:

  1. Discover Romans, Saxons, Normans, and headless nobles
       en route to London's most historic street market.
 
  2. Shop for street fashions on Petticoat Lane.
       (But watch for Jack the Ripper!)
 
  3. Gawk at the ‘Erotic Gherkin’, London’s most controversial landmark.

  4. Find out what brought John Wayne, Harry Potter, Angelina Jolie,
       Russell Crowe, and Robert Mitchum to Leadenhall Market.
 
  5. Learn about London's first public conveniences, at the
       Royal Exchange.

  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 London’s second Great Fire may have been a good thing,
       at the Monument.
 
  9. Discover connections with ancient Rome & early Pennsylvania
       at London’s oldest church.
 
10. And have time left over for a visit to the Tower of London,

       the Tower Bridge, or an afternoon nap.

 

CLICK ON THE MAP'S NUMBERS FOR DETAILED INFORMATION:

 

Learn how to plan your own journey of discovery to
London with Home At First.
(When you do, you can easily walk through the City of London in a day.)

Home At First offers travel to London and many other great regions throughout the British Isles.
After a week or two in a London apartment, why not plan additional time in a cottage elsewhere
in England, or in Scotland, Ireland, or Wales. Minimum rental is one week,
and mixing and matching Home At First destinations is easy with our help.

YOUR DREAM TRIP BEGINS BY CONTACTING
— HOME AT FIRST