When you think of the City you probably picture a lot of men rushing about in striped suits. But take a moment to stop and stare. The City is one of the most picturesque places in London. If you’re relocating to the City and wondering how to fill a weekend off or you’re visiting the capital and want to explore somewhere you’ve never been then this is the place for you.
1. St Paul’s Cathedral
Nothing beats the January blues like a little splendour and St Paul’s has this in spades. Dominating the London skyline the cathedral was built between 1675 and 1710. For its 300th anniversary it was cleaned, restored and repaired and the work done has transformed both its inside and outside. Once you’ve had your fill of the glorious exterior explore the interior. The remarkable Whispering Gallery is 30 metres above the cathedral floor and is famous for its acoustics. Another 55 metres above that is the Golden Gallery with breath-taking views of central London. There are 530 steps, though so be prepared. Once you’ve reached the heights head underground and visit the Crypt. There you’ll find a film called Oculus, An Eye into St Paul’s which tells the story both of its history and daily working life. There’s a 90 minute guided tour you can download on your iPod Touch.
2. The Tower of London
The Tower of London might be more famous for its bloody and brutal place in London’s history but in fact since it was built in the early 1080s it has been a royal palace, prison, armoury and a zoo. Imagine if those walls could speak, though. From the ravens on the roof to the jewels in the vault, the Tower has a mystique unrivalled in the capital. In the middle of the site is the famous White Tower which is home to regular exhibitions and royal artefacts. On the outer wall you’ll find Traitor’s gate where those unfortunate enough to be sent for execution would pass under. The Tower is home to the Crown Jewels and protected by the Beefeaters. Well worth a visit.
3. Thames Cruise
The River Thames offers the perfect vantage point to explore the capital. From the majestic House of Parliament to the ancient Tower of London explore 2,000 years of history. The boat is probably the best way to see some of the most famous spots in the capital including the palaces and St Paul’s cathedral. It’s a must for a visitor to London as well as those who live and work there but have never seen the city from this perspective. An on-board commentary takes you through the stories and tales that weave the river into the city’s heritage.
4. Spitalfields Market
London isn’t short of shopping venues but there are few that weave arts and craft stores, beauty, fashion and interior together as there are at Spitalfields market. On the first and third Friday of the month a record store joins the show with some rare and collectible vinyl on offer. On Saturday expect a themed market with affordable vintage rubbing shoulders with the finest Spitalfields can offer, like designers. On Sunday there’s a little bit of everything. With plenty to eat and drink it’s the ideal day out and only five minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street Station.
5. The Shard
The most striking new addition to London’s skyline is the tallest building in the EU and the 45th tallest in the world. The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano who also created Paris’ Pompidou centre. You can see it from wherever you are in London so why not see London from its public viewing gallery on the 68-72 floors or at it three floors of restaurants. The Shard is covered in 11,000 panes of glass and offers unparalled views of the capital. It’s easy to reach via London Bridge Tube or on foot.
It’s easy to fill your weekend when you’re in The City and busy through the week. Clarendon UK offers a range of one and two bedroom serviced apartments within Tower Bridge and Spitalfields, a short walk to each of these attractions. Be part of a London lifestyle.