‘The City’ – just one square mile in size – is in many ways London’s epicentre. This is where the Romans founded the city of Londinium. Today, the City is the hub of the nation’s finance industry, with 500 banks all slotting into this small section of the metropolis.
Having been almost entirely destroyed and rebuilt twice – once after the Great Fire of London, and then again in the wake of the Second World War – the area is an architectural patchwork. The glistening Gherkin towers over medieval churches, whilst St Paul’s Cathedral looks out over new shopping plazas.
The City is home to some of the capital’s most popular attractions, and the Square Mile is served by no fewer than 10 tube stations, from Barbican to Blackfriars, St Paul’s to Liverpool Street.
Although the area might be more immediately associated with going to the office than going out, anywhere that hosts 300,000 people every day is going to need a good selection of spots to eat and drink – and the City certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front.
Work hard, eat well
The City’s restaurant scene is at the higher end of the spectrum, which makes sense considering the high-earning inhabitants. Traditionally British venue The Mercer, a stone’s throw away from the Back of England, serves up classic fare to accompany one of the best wine selections in town.
Away from the ‘old school’ dining, the emerging cluster of skyscrapers around the City are bringing with them opportunities for sky-high eating. Floor 24 of Tower 42 is home to Jason Atherton’s food with a view at the glamorous City Social.
Meanwhile back at ground level, Taipei-inspired tea house Yauatcha sits at the cutting-edge of premium dim-sum, with a drinks menu made up of 38 types of tea and cocktails inspired by Chinese ingredients.
Workers and wanderers
According to the last estimate by the Office for National Statistics in 2016, the City has a resident population of 9400, made up of approximately 45% females and 55% males, with an average age of 41. Among its residents, it has the lowest average household size of anywhere in the country, at just 1.58 people.
However, during a typical work day, the population of the City of London increases by an incredible 56 times – more than anywhere else in the UK. Over 300,000 people commute to and work there. About 75% of the jobs in the City are in finance and other associated business sectors, whilst the legal profession keeps much of the northern and western sides of the City occupied.
As well as packing in workers, the City attracts tourists in their droves too. St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the capital’s most recognisable and historic landmarks. The Museum of London charts the fluctuating fortunes of London, from pre-historic times to the present day. The Monument, built to commemorate the Great Fire which devastated the City of London in 1666, offers incredible panoramic views to those who navigate the 311 steps. All of these sites, and countless others across the City will always be high on most London tourist’s hit-lists.
Whether you’re looking to cater for the tastes of the high-flying workers or the high-spending tourists, the City of London is likely to continue attracting both for centuries to come.