It’s hard to imagine that the modern-day sprawling metropolis of London started within a very small area on the east side of the River Thames, now called The City (or the Square Mile), but back in 200 AD, the Romans looked around, liked what they saw, and built a wall around it – and London was born.
The City is located in East London, and, if you’re busy planning your family trip, it’s likely a number of The City’s famous and historic attractions are on your itinerary – St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Bank of England and The Monument can all be found in the area.
Because London is so big, I love special resources tailored to families with young children that help them get the most out of their visit. So when I read the only officially recognized visitor information center in The City, called The City Information Centre, now offers three carefully-chosen, kid-friendly, self-guided routes that are perfect for short-legged walkers to explore the big attractions and hidden gems, I knew I had to share. Families can choose City Stories, Skyscraper Sketching or Towers of the Thames (or you can do all three!) and they can be picked up at the City Information Centre. For more information about each route, click here.
If you’re brand-new to London, the City Information Centre also offers a number of services for visitors. Staff can assist with directions, information about events, and provide suggestions for days out. Visitors can also purchase Oyster Cards, fast-track attraction tickets, the London Pass, theatre tickets, book sightseeing tours, Big Bus hop-on, hop-off tours, and tours outside of London. If you don’t know where to stay, they can help with accommodation as well. For more information on how the City Information Centre can help you, watch a short video.
For visitors whose first language isn’t English, both the City Information Centre staff and the website are multilingual, and also provide free WiFi, maps, leaflets, and guides.
Also available is a handy app called the City of London Visitor Trail, which can be downloaded for free to your smartphone. The app includes stories about the buildings in The City, a map, walking trails and it’ll even help you find the nearest toilet (a must-have when traveling with kids). Sadly, the developer missed a trick and didn’t include any special content for children – hopefully, the family trails and child-friendly stories will come in the future.
The Centre is located between St. Paul’s Cathedral and Millennium Bridge, in St. Paul’s Churchyard, and is open Monday to Saturday between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm, and Sunday from 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. If you’re planning your trip and prefer to email for information, use the address visit@.
To get there via the Underground, take the Central Line to St. Paul’s, or the Circle or District Lines to Mansion House. When you’re finished in the City Information Centre, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a very short walk away and the perfect place to begin exploring the historic City.
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