Those of us lucky enough to live or work in the City of London know what a special place it is.
There can be scarcely an area in the country where so much history and so many myths and legends – from Roman Londinium to Dick Whittington to the Great Fire – are crammed into such a small space.
One of the things that makes the City so exciting is the contrast of old and new – Sir Christopher Wren-built churches stand cheek by jowl with space-age skyscrapers, along an ancient street plan which a mediaeval Londoner could navigate.
But we have seen the impact of the pandemic on high streets right across the country – and as our residents know – that impact is also felt here in the Square Mile.
This is exactly why we have launched Destination City – a new flagship programme designed to drive even more footfall back into the Square Mile and revitalise our streets.
With our £2.5 million annual investment, we will bring fun, colour, and light to the Square Mile, and reimagine the City as a vibrant destination for residents, visitors, and workers.
We will hold a spectacular free event on Saturday October 15 including a huge programme of theatre, games, and performance. This will be the first of many.
Featuring over 100 performers, the family-friendly highlights include a mass treasure hunt, 16 doors into a ‘maze’ of adventures, three carnival-inspired fairs, and creative street theatre.
Locations include Guildhall, the Museum of London, and some of our many secret hideaways and subterranean spaces.
Taking people on a thrilling journey through the story of the City, it will be inspired by the mythology and hidden tales of the Square Mile, with visitors guided by historical and fantastical characters.
But we also need to look at the bigger picture.
London’s recovery will drive the national recovery, so we need to work harder than ever before to give people a compelling reason to choose to work, visit and invest in the City following the pandemic.
The Square Mile used to be seen as a staid place where people simply came to work before going elsewhere to have fun. The reality today is a transformed City in terms of access to retail, hospitality and culture.
But for too long, the City has been quiet at weekends, when many bars and restaurants do not open and we need to change and reverse this.
To ensure it has a vibrant future, the City needs to reconnect with its past, drawing on its proud traditions as a centre of entertainment and culture – a place that pulses with life seven days a week.
In doing so, we will create a new phase in the reinvention of the Square Mile which benefits our residents and makes them proud.