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City of London - area guide 2018

City of London area guide

Find the best restaurants, bars, pubs and things to do in the Square Mile with our ultimate guide to the City

Written by
Things To Do Editors
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The City of London, usually just called the City or the Square Mile, is the centre of trade and finance in Europe, rivalling New York City as the finance capital of the world. The traders, bankers and other wage-earners in the area work hard, so it’s no surprise they like to play hard, too. Flashy bars outnumber quiet pubs in the City, and most bars and pubs are designed to impress. Likewise, the restaurants are grand and often expensive – great for hashing out the details of a deal or letting someone know how important you are – although there are some cheaper places to eat near Liverpool Street. The City also roughly follows the boundaries of the ancient Roman capital of Britannia, Londinium, so there are plenty of museums to check out. And if you fancy slowing down the pace and soaking up some culture, the Barbican Centre is one of the capital’s most important cultural cornerstones.

Recommended: London by area

Things to do in the City of London

Barbican Centre

Barbican Centre

A prime example of brutalist architecture that's also home to one of London's leading arts centres and 2,000 flats. 

Monument

Monument

Constructed between 1671 and 1677, the Monument commemorates the Great Fire of 1666. 

Museum of London

Museum of London

  • 4 out of 5 stars

The history of the capital, from prehistoric times to the present, is told in the Museum of London. 

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

One of London's most iconic landmarks, St Paul's has survived 12 monarchs and two world wars.

Bars in the City of London

Searcys 1847

Searcys 1847

  • price 1 of 4

Champagne and meatballs are the order of the day at Searcys St Paul's bar. Located on the first floor of One New Change, this Searcys has a sociable vibe with...

The Four Sisters Townhouse

The Four Sisters Townhouse

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

Sisters doing it for themselves? Not really: this City cocktail bar was packed with beery blokes in suits when we arrived, crammed round delicate tables with...

The Drift

The Drift

This City cocktail bar and restaurant on Bishopsgate comes from Drake & Morgan – a group with bars and restaurants across London. Weeknights see its cavernous...

Black Rock

Black Rock

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

Ever drunk in Golden Gai in east Shinjuku, Tokyo? It's three dingy streets crammed with over 200 tiny bars, each with a novelty of their own. Black Rock,...

Restaurants in the City of London

Angler

Angler

  • price 4 of 4

Michelin-starred seafood cookery is the lure at this swanky City restaurant up on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel. The food’s ultra-modern and...

Bad Egg

Bad Egg

A City brunch spot with an American diner feel, Bad Egg comes courtesy of London’s bbq king Neil Rankin (Pitt Cue, Temper etc) – so expect smoky...

Beany Green

Beany Green

  • price 1 of 4

One for the City’s early birds, this bright and breezy Antipodean café makes lots of friends from its pitch within Broadgate Circle. From huge...

Blacklock City

Blacklock City

  • price 2 of 4

It’s almost too casual for the sharp-suited expense-account crowd, but this trendy take on a British chop house is still a cut above when it comes...

Pubs in the City of London

The George

The George

  • price 1 of 4

A quintessentially British pub retaining its original architecture of oak-panelled walls and crafted Victorian ceiling. 

Pelt Trader

Pelt Trader

  • 4 out of 5 stars

A spartan drinking hole and craft beer goldmine that's far more than a pre-train commuters’ tanking house.

Jugged Hare

Jugged Hare

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

A classy gastropub that's an idealised version of an old drinking haunt with a hearty food menu on offer. 

The perfect weekend in the City of London

Eat: Malibu Kitchen at The Ned

Eat: Malibu Kitchen at The Ned

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

Grab brunch at this California-inspired spot housed in a cavernous former banking hall that is now The Ned. 

Drink: Sushisamba Bar

Drink: Sushisamba Bar

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

Venture 38 storeys above the City to enjoy this pretty impressive rooftop bar, which is open all year round. 

Hotels in the City of London

The Ned

The Ned

This very cool-looking new five-star hotel comes from a collaboration between the Soho House Group and the Sydell Group (a US business behind The NoMad in New...

Threadneedles

Threadneedles

  • price 3 of 4

Threadneedles boldly slots some contemporary style into a fusty old dame of a building in the heart of the City; it was formerly the grand Victorian HQ of the...

Andaz Hotel

Andaz Hotel

  • price 4 of 4

A faded railway hotel until its £70m Conran overhaul in 2000, the red-brick Great Eastern became in 2007 the first of Hyatt’s new Andaz portfolio. The new...