Everybody’s heard of the Tower of London and the nearby Tower Bridge located, specifically, in the City of London, right? Of course, they have – both are absolute icons of the UK capital and rightly among its most popular sites with visitors from every corner of the world. But for pleasure seekers to London, does this part of the city (affectionately referred to as the Square Mile) offer any other venues? Is it really worth visiting, let alone staying in, for anything more? Don’t doubt it; thanks to the following attractions in the city of London, the answer’s a resounding yes…
Museum of London
(150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN)
Tracing the incredible history of this incredible city right through from its prehistoric days – via its ancient beginning, Medieval flourishing, turbulent Tudor period, glorious Georgian era, Imperial Victorian age and changeable 20th Century trends – right up to the present day, this museum offers a comprehensive delve beneath the surface of London. It’s a fantastic attraction for all the family and no mistake, unearthing how the city developed from little more than a settlement under Roman- and then Saxon-rule to grow as the centuries passed while, along the way, suffering through devastating fires, plagues and civil wars. You can even walk the streets of Victorian London thanks to the innovatively interactive Galleries of Modern London – and espy the glittering golden Lord Mayor’s Coach too.
Guildhall Art Gallery and the Roman Amphitheatre
(Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE)
The Guildhall’s very own gallery comprises artworks – some of them true masterpieces – ranging from 1670 all the way up to today. Established way back in the 19th Century, it’s undergone a recent renovation so a visit here makes for a better experience than ever before. Perhaps of more interest for your little ones, though, may be what’s located beneath it – yes, the Roman Amphitheatre (that’s right, London really does have one!), in which gladiatorial combats between man and man – and man and beast – took place around a millennium ago. Indeed, this site of huge historical importance was only rediscovered as recently as 1988.
(Tower Hill EC3N 4DJ)
More Romans… this time courtesy of the largest surviving section of the wall that originally enclosed (and kept safe) the Roman city of London as it then was – or Londinium, to give its first name. Built c.200 AD, it ensured defence and security for the city’s people and also underlined the fact that the place had become, in ancient times, a genuine city. Originally, it would have been about two-and-a-half-miles long in total circumference – sadly, little of it remains intact; all the more reason to give this substantial section of the thing a good going over, especially if you’re staying in one of the nearby 5 star hotels London, like the Square Mile’s Montcalm hotels.
(2-12 Wilson Street EC2M 7LS)
Finally, perhaps the most fun and exciting of the Square Mile’s sites and attractions – especially for young ones. This venue’s all about one of the latest activity trends to sweep the UK (and, well, the wider Western world), namely ‘escape games’. That said; it delivers them with bells on, as it were. Taking its cue from the world of Harry Potter, it puts participants in the shoes of young wizards and witches, tasking them to move from room to room, solving challenges involving charms, potions, runes and spells and calling on all their wits and quick-thinking to complete the game. Around 60 minutes in length, the game is full of puzzles and offers a highly imaginative and genuinely rewarding afternoon or early evening’s worth of fun-filled activity for kids – of all ages!