The City of London’s single square mile, stretching from just beyond St Paul’s, in the west, to the Tower of London, in the east, is an odd place. About 300,000 people work there, yet it has only 10,000 residents. It’s best known as a financial hub, but between its 500 banking offices, you’ll find old alleyways containing historic churches, fine museums, quirky pubs and smart restaurants. In short, it makes a smashing base from which to explore London.
A reader writes: I’m planning a weekend break in London, and I notice from internet searches that hotels in the City (the financial district) seem good value. Is there anywhere you would recommend to stay, or is this area best avoided by tourists?Hotels here discount heavily at weekends and there are some great deals in London if you shop around, as demand from visiting (and late-working) professionals disappears. It is quiet at the weekends, which means some pubs and restaurants won’t be open, but the rest of London is not far away.
Perhaps the smartest place to stay is the Mint. A short walk from Tower Hill Tube station, it offers smart, grey-slated bathrooms, iMacs and free wi-fi in all the uncluttered rooms. Even if you’re not staying, you should visit the large rooftop Skylounge for alfresco drinking in summer or great views from the modish cocktail bar in winter. Other hotels close by are three Grange Hotels and across the road is a Novotel.
When it comes to sightseeing in the Square Mile, be sure to stroll to Leadenhall Market; see a £1m note and touch a real gold bar at the Bank of England Museum; and discover the lively displays at the Museum of London
For more information, go to www.visitthecity.co.uk or call in at the City of London Information Centre, near St Paul’s.