Should you come to the UK capital and choose to stay in the City of London – the financial district of the city that, being its oldest area, is brimming with history – you’ll definitely be blessed with an abundance of attractions to make time for…
St. Pauls Cathedral
(St. Paul’s Churchyard EC4M 8AD)
Built in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in the late 17th Century from ace architect Sir Christopher Wren’s supreme design, this iconic symbol of the capital rightly remains one of its most popular attractions. The blockbuster appeal of the place is undoubtedly the Whispering Gallery with its astonishing acoustics, the crypt with its tombs of history’s greats and the Golden Gallery, which affords those prepared to climb all the way up to it fantastic views of London’s skyline (an unmissable experience whichever Montcalm hotel London you’ve made your base). However, nowadays you must also take advantage of the modern additions – touch-screen multimedia guides and Oculus, a 270° immersive film experience.
The effervescent Brick Lane’s known for two things – curry and shopping. The former comes courtesy of the plethora of curry houses that line the street on either side, pretty much all the way down. Together, they offer simply some of the finest cuisine you’ll taste outside of the Indian Sub-Continent – undoubtedly worth checking out for a meal then, if you’re staying in a Shoreditch hotel like the Montcalm Shoreditch. The shopping is delivered by the renowned Brick Lane flea market, its stalls vending everything – antiques, fashion, delicious street food and bric-a-brac, all at bargain prices. In actual fact, the market’s nowadays a conglomeration of several separate markets – the Backyard Market, the Vintage Market, the Sunday UpMarket, the Boiler House Food Hall and the Tea Rooms.
(Fish Street Hill EC3R 8AH)
Erected in commemoration of the aforementioned Great Fire (and opened in 1677, relatively soon after it took place), this Doric column – topped with a golden burning urn – stands on the site of the first church to be burnt down by the blaze that devastated much of the city. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, its height is actually the same measurement as the distance from its site to where the fire broke out in a baker’s shop (62 metres). Curiously, not only was the structure built to offer supreme panoramic views from its summit, but also to serve scientific functions – it originally contained a telescope and was used to perform barometric pressure studies, with an underground laboratory built beneath it.
Tower Of London
(St. Katharine’s and Wapping EC3N 4AB)
Finally, as far as historically resonant venues in the capital go, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than the Tower. Originally built by William the Conqueror as a fortress for the burgeoning city way back in the 11th Century AD, it’s since served many functions down through the centuries – among them a palace, a prison, a place of torture and execution, an armoury, a jewel depository, an army barracks, an exotic zoo and, yes, a visitor attraction for members of the public from throughout the world. Today, you can take a trip around the place guided by the marvellously uniformed, informed and charismatic Yeomen Warders (whom live on-site, don’t you know), check out the Crown Jewels in the White Tower and see for yourself a suit of armour originally designed for King Henry VIII – legendary for both his deeds and his size!