February is truly here, snow is falling from the leaden sky melting slowly when meeting with the wet asphalt… It may be cold and gloomy outside but, if you happen to be in the Square Mile of this glorious city and are brave enough to venture out, look around you: London is beautiful in any weather, at any time of the year. I am lucky enough to be able to see it every day as I work in the City, and even during the monotonous daily commute I often pause to appreciate the beauty of it. If you happen to be in the City of London (working or visiting), head for these three places: apart from ample good quality eateries to choose from and warm up, these are also perfect spots for admiring the beauty of this great capital, appreciating its architecture and captivating landscapes.
The Broadgate Tower
The Broadgate Tower is an iconic building which defines the City’s skyline, and it offers an impressive space to enjoy if you happen to be in the area between Shoreditch and Liverpool Street Station. The beautiful combination of glass and steel is awe-inspiring, and the scale of the space is massive – you feel dwarfed sitting underneath the massive support columns. It feels like being in a cathedral made of modern materials – I am not really into architecture but as a complete amateur I cannot help but feel amazed with the beauty of the structure. The area is protected from the weather elements, so it is good to sit “outside” the few cafes that offer excellent food at lunchtime.
Recently, some huge bamboo beds with wooden benches have been installed there, they will sure be well-used during the warm summer months! Just imagine hearing the sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the wind…
Head south of the Broadgate Tower and you will find another hidden gem of the Square Mile. The Exchange Square is a stone-throw away from one of the main transport hubs of the City: Liverpool Street station. Actually, you could say it sits on top of it! Tucked away from the seemingly never ending hustle of Bishopsgate and Broadgate, the Exchange Square is a beloved spot of City workers all year around, it is a good spot to check out if you are visiting this great city too: in winter months it houses the Broadgate ice rink which guarantees a lot of fun for those who want to go on ice or just watch people falling, and the choice for places to tuck in good food is pretty impressive too.
The beautiful lights woven into the trees create such a beautiful atmosphere, it feels like Christmas there even in February on a cold wet evening just before the evening rush hour!
Another iconic building in the City is located at 30 St Mary Axe – just 10-15 minutes walk away from the Exchange Square – it is the famous Gherkin. Its unique shape is the reason why people lovingly call it after the popular pickle. Or a wally, if you are a proper Londoner.
I love that over the last six years or so various art installations feature all around the Square Mile and currently a beautiful statue of “Laura” by Jaume Plensa is standing right at the foot of The Gherkin. Just last year another type of sculpture was featured in this very spot and I loved it too. You can read more about it here.
I am loving Laura – this work of art looks amazing whichever angle you look at it from. It is mesmerising.
If you happen to be there on Thursday at lunchtime, your nose will most probably lead you to a line up of street food vendors. They are part of the Kerb collective and every week they come to sell food to hungry City workers in the shadow of the Gherkin. The selection of food vendors is different every week, and stalls serve their delicious fresh food between noon and 2pm.
I have only just scraped the surface by mentioning these three places I like in the City as everywhere you look is jam-packed with tall, impressive buildings that make you gasp and marvel at the human prowess. But it is the quiet spots that are in the middle of the busy City that offer some respite from the buzz of life I love the most. I hope you will love them as much as I do.