Secret Spots in the City

Horizon 22
Credit Brendan Bell

We all the know the well know tourist locations in the City, think St Paul’s Cathedral and Sky Garden on 20 Fenchurch street. But what about those places that don’t get the same level of attention, places that even locals might have passed but never thought to discover more. We hope to bring together some of our favourite spots in the City, however, there are always more places to discover with an interesting an amazing place as the City.

Churchyard of St John Zachary

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Credit Harry Young

Just a short stroll from the Barbican Estate this unassuming little garden is a real gem in the City, and no one really knows about it. The reason for its obscurity is partially due to the recessed nature of the garden into the ground making it very easy for a passerby to miss it. When you do step down into the garden that recessed natures provides a natural dampening effect making it a quiet retreat right in the heart of the City and less than a five walk from St Paul’s.

London Stone

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Credit Harry Young

This rather humble little rock might look quite ordinary but has been the focus of interest for Londoners for nearly a millennium. First recorded around 1100 the original purpose and location of the stone is unknown, many have speculated that the stone was part of a Roman structure while others propose it must have had an object of veneration. Speculation on what the stone’s purpose could have been have been wild and varied, from the stone in which King Arthur pulled his sword to more reasonable suggestions that it might have been used to mark the central point of Roman Britain to which all distances were measured. The London Stone may well be a prime example of history for the sake of history, and one we may never uncover.

George & Vulture

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Credit Harry Young

Located a short walk from Bank station, the George & Vulture has been a staple of the area since 1142. It was a frequent haunt of renown writer Charles Dickens who mentioned it over 15 times in his 1837 novel ‘The Pickwick Papers’. To this day it has a strong connection with Charles Dicken’s descendants and when it was threatened with demolition the author’s great-grandson, Cedric Charles Dickens, stepped in and saved it. It now hosts the annual Christmas Day Dickens family, and yes they do dress up in medieval garb. It’s now the perfect place to grab a quiet drink after work with friends or colleagues as well as try out their tasty menu that is filled with favourites such as steak & kidney pudding, fish & chips, and mouth-watering steak.

Horizon 22

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Credit Brendan Bell

Recently open the Horizon 22 is taking London by storm. The viewing platform is the highest in Europe and boasts unparalleled views of the City and London, best of it all it’s free. From the first moment you step inside the Horizon 22 experience you’re greeted by friendly and informed staff that are happy to guide you to where you need to be. As you ascend in the lifts you’re moving at 8 metres a second, you might feel the pressure in your ears change as you rise. Once you’re on the viewing platform its hard to pick which direction to look at first. Popular tourist attractions such as the Tower of London and the HMS Belfast seem like toys and set pieces from that height, you’ll never take more photos than at Horizon 22.

Old Tom’s Bar

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Credit Harry Young

In the heart of the City lies Leadenhall market and in the heart of the market lies Old Tom’s Bar. Situated underneath the Lamb Tavern, as you descend their aged steps you feel as if you’re being transported back in time to the Victorian period. With 19th century tiled walls and comfortable seats, once you’re down there it might be hard to summon up the spirit to leave. The bar offers a wide range of whiskey and beer, perfect for evening drink with colleagues and friends. You might also be tempted by their impressive British cheese and charcuterie options; they have something to please anyone. The pub gets its name from Tom, a goose that managed to survive slaughter when Leadenhall was still a meat market. The goose became a star favourite at the market, living on for 13 years after his expiration date, and being buried on the site where Old Tom’s Bar now stands.

Reflection Garden at St Paul’s

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Credit Harry Young

St Paul’s is one of the busiest tourist attractions in London and rightly so, designed by Sir Christopher Wren the grade I listed building has had a building of worship there since AD 604. The reflection garden is quite unique and definitely worth a mention. In our opinion too many people skip over this hidden sanctuary, it not only boasts a quiet place to sit within a stone’s throw of the cathedral, but it has a long pond that’s perfect for artistic pictures of the cathedral. It’s time for more than tour guides and locals to know about the reflection garden and get it the recognition that it deserves.

St Stephen Walbrook

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Credit St Stepehen Walbrook

While not really a hidden spot in the City we can’t stand people not knowing about St Stephen Walbrook. With a stunning interior dominated by the domed roof designed by Sir Christopher Wren the church is another quiet safe haven in the heart of the City. It has a number of fun events run there such as the Rush Hour Jazz where you can rock up and listen to some world class jazz, all for free. The centre of the church is dominated by a marble alter with a pendulum, it is an art piece to mark the death of Sir Christopher Wren. Whether you’re there for a private moment of relfection or to get away from the hustle and bustle of the street, St Stephen Walbrook is a must see in the City.

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