10 things to do from London Liverpool Street Station
Words by Helen Dorritt
Whether you fancy walking in historic footsteps or enjoying delicious food and drink, Liverpool Street station is a gateway to an exciting array of London activities. We reveal 10 of the best experiences within easy reach of the station.
Museum of London
Free and fascinating, the Museum of London tells the story of England's colourful capital city through permanent and temporary exhibitions, all housed in a building set on the historic city walls. Find out about prehistoric and Roman London, learn about war, plague and fire, and see the iconic cauldron from the London 2012 Olympics.
At a smidge under 310m and with 96 storeys, The Shard is one of London’s most recognisable buildings. Home to offices, a hotel, three restaurants and a shopping arcade, you can travel to the very top to take in stunning views of the city from the UK’s highest viewing platform. For something a bit different, there are also sky-high Pilates classes, silent discos, breakfast clubs and Champagne parties.
Famed for its Bangladeshi curries and salt beef bagels, Brick Lane is a fantastically vibrant place to enjoy some amazing food, as well as visiting the numerous shops, bars and Sunday market. The surrounding areas of Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Shoreditch are also a foodie’s haven, with an array of eateries offering tempting dishes from around the globe – including a café specialising in cereal!
A replica of the Bard’s original theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe sits on the bank of the Thames and offers a year-round programme of theatre performances, including an April to October season of open-air shows. You can also take a guided tour of the building, which was opened in 1997 after a campaign by actor Sam Wanamaker, who also gave his name to the indoor theatre in the complex.
There are many bridges spanning the Thames, including the Millennium Bridge by the Tate and the nursery rhyme-famous London Bridge, but Tower Bridge is arguably the most recognisable. Built over 120 years ago, it’s considered a marvel of engineering due to its two moving roadways that allow the bridge to be drawn up and let big ships pass underneath. You can appreciate the genius of its construction by walking along the bridge’s walkways to peer down into the water through a glass floor, or look up to enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, sits on the highest point of the City of London and has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years. Highlights include the Whispering Gallery high up in the dome of the cathedral, so-called because any sound against the wall can be heard by someone else in the gallery. You’ll need to buy a ticket to fully explore the interior, although services are free to attend.
Housing work from modern and contemporary artists, the Whitechapel Gallery is free to visit and has a frequently changing programme of exhibitions including painting, photography, sculpture and textiles. There’s also a bookshop, reading room and the Whitechapel Refectory that’s open until 11pm.
Columbia Road is a browser’s delight, with over 60 independent shops including delis, antique stores, fashion boutiques and art galleries. On Sundays a host of stalls join the road for the famous flower market, where you can buy cut flowers, pot plants, trees, bedding plants and anything else green that you might want for your house or garden.
The Tower of London
Explore over a thousand years of history with a visit to the Tower of London. From the magnificent crown jewels to the iconic Yeomans Warders (aka Beefeaters), there’s plenty to see, do and learn here – and don’t forget to say hello to the ravens. These birds of prey are said to be vital to the survival of the kingdom, so the current seven residents are well-pampered with a diet of meat and blood-soaked biscuits to ensure they stay within the Tower’s grounds!
The Barbican is a performing arts space housed in a renowned example of Brutalist architecture and is a fascinating place to explore. Level G is always free to visit and includes a changing programme of installations and events. You can also watch a show or concert, eat in one of the three restaurants, take a tour of the entire complex or – our pick – explore the Conservatory, a hidden oasis of unusual plants and trees, where you can also enjoy afternoon tea.