City of London
The east part of London's city center is the part that is called
City of London. It contains the central business district with central London's
2 tallest buildings, the famous St Paul's Cathedral, the historic Cleopatra's
Needle, the beautiful Royal Courts of Justice and the legendary Tower of London
with its Tower Bridge. We just visited the "city" by foot once. It
was warm and sunny then. Unfortunately almost none of London's tallest buildings are
open to public anymore (2006).
St Paul's Cathedral. A London landmark (111m tall) since 1710 and a great piece
of classical architecture with its domed facade and columns.
It replaced the old gothic St Paul's Cathedral that burned down and was 150m
tall. Unfortunately the facade has been dirty because of the pollution, so part
of the facade was under renovation. The renovation of the interior had just
been completed, but the whole renovation project lasted until 2008.
The interior. We didn't go any further than to the entrance hall, because it
was expensive to see more of the cathedral. Photographing was not allowed, but
that didn't prevent me to take this photo towards the high ceiling inside the
The Financial District
Tower 42. Formerly known as NatWest Tower(National Westminster Bank Tower),
this skyscraper was UK:s tallest building for 10 years with a height of 183m
and 43 floors.
Completed in 1980, it is now still the tallest building in central London however,
but only the 4th tallest in the city (beaten by taller buildings in Canary Wharf).
On the 24th and 42nd floors there are restaurants. The building was vacated
in 1993 because of a nearby IRA bomb.
Swiss Re. The official name is 30 St Mary Axe or the silly nickname "Gherkin".
At 180m and 41 floors it is the 2nd tallest building in London's city center.
It has fastly become a new landmark and symbol of London. It is one of the most
popular skyscrapers in the world and my favourite highrise in London. It was
designed by Norman Foster and mainly built by the Swedish construction company
There is a panoramic dome on the top.
The entrance of 30 St Mary Axe. Unfortunately we wasn't allowed to get inside
because we didn't work were, but we got a postcard from the guard. All the people
who was running in and out of the large office buildings was very formally dressed
with suit and tie. To me they all looked the same...
The Lloyds Building. At a height of just 95m and 14 floors it is not the height
this famous highrise is known for. No, it is the futuristic architecture from
1986.It was designed by Richard Rogers who also designed Centre Pompidou in
The thing these buildings have in common is that they are designed so it looks
like the exterior is an interior. There are panorama elevators running on this
strange facade. Right next to Lloyds, the new skyscraper Willis Building is
Unfortunately we wasn't allowed
to go futher than to Lloyd's reception, so we couldn' visit the futuristic atrium
with its many escalators that is very famous and has been featured in many sci-fi
movies, despite it has been open to public before. Probably that changed since
9/11. I was outside in 1999, but unfortunately it was closed then. And now it
is too late...
St Helen's Tower (118m, 28 floors) is the black box to the right of Swiss Re.
54 Lombard Street from 1992.
20 Fenchurch Street. 90m, 25 floors.
This postmodern gothic office building has a very cool architecture.
City of London's financial district reminds of Manhattan. But unlike Manhattan,
the tallest buildings are just around 100m, except for the Tower 42 and Swiss
Leadenhall Market. A nice indoor market with food and restaurants, right next
to the skyscrapers.
The Tower of London. The legendaric castle where the crown jewels are kept.
It has been the seat of British government and the living quarters of monarchs,
the site of renown political intrigue, it has housed lions, bears, ravens and
much much more. Even if it is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions,
I have never been inside because of the high entrance fee, but I have heard
that many of London's citizens haven't been there either. The Tower of London
consists of buildings from the 11th century-the mid 19th century. The White
Tower, 27m, is the centerpoint of the complex.
The Tower from the entrance. The White Tower is the centrepiece and most recognizable
building of The Tower of London complex. There is a myth about that if the ravens
leave the Tower, the whole Britain will fall, so sometimes they clip their wings.
The Tower with the contrast of the modern skyline in the background.
Tower Bridge. Without competition the most remarkable landmark bridge of London,
completed in 1894. About 900 times a year, the bascules are arisen to help tall
ships get through. In 1999, me and my friend went on a guided tour where we
took the elevator up to the tower at the north side of the Thames, walked on
a skybridge above the driving lanes and the river and then took another elevator
down at the tower south of the river. In 2005, me and my girlfriend just walked
on the lower part of the bridge, at street level, but got excellent skyline
shots form there.
Tower Bridge from the Thames.
A modern commercial complex with cool glass reflections in an outdoor atrium
close to The Tower.
This ultramodern glass building, still under construction in May 2005, is situated
right opposite the historic Tower of London that you can see mirrors in the
The Strand and Victoria Embankment
The Strand is one of London's most famous streets and has many stores.
It was a bit strange to see that The Strand is one level higher than Victoria
Embankment, that goes one level under Waterloo Bridge along Thames.
Cleopatra's Needle. This impressive obelisk is standing right at the north side
of the Thames. It is one of 2 obelisks that were erected in front of the Caesarium
Temple in Alexandria. But in an earthquake 1301 A.D. one of them fell. In the
19th Century, it was transported to London while the other one was transported
to New York. And here it is.
Somerset House. An art museum right between The Strand and Embankment.
We relaxed in its nice courtyard that had fountains directly from the ground.
Royal Court of Justice, UK:s supreme court is one of London´s most beautiful
Many trials with famous people involved have been taking place there.
Picture from the skylines section:
City of London skyline as seen from Waterloo Bridge above Thames. From
the left: Shakespeare Tower, Lauderdale Tower, Cromwell Tower, CityPoint,
St Paul's Cathedral, Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 30 St Mary Axe (Swiss Re) (central
London's tallest and 2nd buildings) and Kings Reach Tower (just east of Thames).