17 September 2020/ Area guides

Office leasing guide: City of London

Offices to rent in the City

The City is both the geographical and professional heart of London. Covering less than one square mile of ground and home to just 10,000 people, more than 400,000 people flock into the City every weekday. It’s home to some of the world’s most influential business in the professional services, legal and financial services sectors, earning it the title of the UK’s investment capital and one of the world’s most prominent business districts.

This compact part of London is where the sprawling capital expanded from. It was where the Romans first settled in the 1st century and until the Middle Ages, it was largely surrounded by farmland and green space. Thought London has expanded far beyond the confines of this tiny area (and its original boundary wall) it’s still a hive of activity for many.

You’ll find some of London’s most iconic landmarks in the City, including the Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe), the Walkie Talkie (winner of 2015’s Carbuncle Cup for the UK’s most unsightly new building) and the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s both a tourist and commercial core and a highly exciting place for any business to be based, making the premium rent you’ll pay worth every penny.

Want to find out more about working in the City of London? Here’s everything you need to know about this vibrant area.

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Key business areas in the City of London

The City of London is a prominent business area as a whole and, as its nickname ‘The Square Mile’ suggests, is a pretty compact area. However, certain industries have made their mark on different corners of the district. The London Stock Exchange can be found in the city, just a short walk away from financial services giants including TSB, Lloyds Banking Group and BNP Paribas. Other companies including Worldpay, Rothschild & Co and Goldman Sachs Bank also occupy space in the City. Many are concentrated around the Gresham Street and Cannon Street area.

The north and west of the City are dominated by the legal sector, particularly around the Temple and Chancery Lane. It’s where you’ll find the Inns of Court – the professional associations for all barristers in England and Wales and self-contained training centres for new barristers.

Getting around the City of London

There are ten underground stations across the City

As a result, it’s easy to reach the City from most areas of London using the London Underground. The Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines run through the area, which can take you across London and beyond.

The City has four railway stations

Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street and Moorgate are all within the City area, so you can also travel in and out via National Rail services. Liverpool Street is also served by a number of London Overground services that take you across the city.

You can catch DLR services from Bank station

If you’re heading out east, the Docklands Light Railway is a handy service to take advantage of. It can take you to London City Airport, among other key destinations, in less than 25 minutes.

Regular bus services run in the City

As the City is as central as it gets, driving through the area is best avoided at all costs. However, if the tube can’t get you to your destination, one of the many bus services probably will. It’s just £1.50 for a single trip, making it a cheap way to hop between the capital’s streets, and night buses run 24/7 so you can get home after those post-work drinks.

Two airports are within an hour of the City

London City Airport can be reached in around 25 minutes if you hop on the DLR at Bank station. It’s handy if you’re setting off on a domestic or short-haul work trip. However, if you’re travelling to a place far way, Heathrow is your best bet. It’s around an hour’s journey if you’re taking public transport.

Business amenities in the City of London

The City has plenty of hotels to choose from

From affordable places to crash between meetings to upmarket destinations where you can host events, the City has hotels for every purpose. Looking to impress? Book your guests into The Ned, a five-star hotel in the heart of the City, Saco The Cannon’s serviced apartments or Vintry and Mercer, which overlooks the River.

There are also plenty of functional options if you’re on a budget. From conveniently-located Premier Inns to Travelodges to ibis hotels, and other independent options, you don’t have to break the bank to find somewhere central to stay.

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You’ll find excellent restaurants in the City

If you’re looking for the right setting for a client dinner, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. Sink into the leather booths for steak at Goodman City or share delectable tapas dishes at Hispania. Italian restaurant Bolton’s, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, is also sure to impress, as it serves up everything from duck ragu penne to lobster spaghetti.

Seeking something a little more casual? MBER has a host of pan-Asian dishes to sample during a laidback lunch or dinner or you can pick up fresh falafel wraps at Pilpel. If you really can’t decide and don’t mind splashing out, Heron Tower (or 110 Bishopsgate) has some of London’s finest restaurants with exceptional views on the side.

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There are meeting rooms for every occasion in the City

From ultra-modern to large enough for the whole company, the City has meeting rooms to suit everyone. Uncommon Liverpool Street has futuristic lighting and stylish spaces that can accommodate up to 50, while Headspace Farringdon is a bright, airy place for meetings and brainstorms. Independent Chronicle Club is also a lovely place to get together, and you’ll have access to facilities including a gym while you’re here.

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The City of London has lots of convenient amenities

The City of London isn’t a prime retail destination, but it’s not a case of all work no play here. One New Change, just steps away from St. Paul’s Cathedral, has plenty of options to choose from, including H&M, Allsaints, Oliver Bonas and Next. It’s also home to places to eat and drink, including The Ivy and Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza. And if you’re looking for high-end shops, The Royal Exchange, next door to Bank Station, is home to plenty of designer brands.

You won’t have any trouble staying fit in the City as there are plenty of gyms to choose from. Fuss-free and affordable options like PureGym and DW Fitness First have a number of branches in the area. Looking for something more upmarket? Visit 1Rebel Broadgate, Gymbox or Nuffield Health and make the most of the luxe facilities and specialist classes on offer.

Offices, co-working spaces and serviced offices to rent in the City of London

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Notable office tenants

  • Unilever
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Prudential
  • Bloomberg
  • Hachette
  • Standard Life

Key agents

  • Savills
  • BNP Paribas Real Estate
  • CBRE
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Cushman & Wakefield

Interesting facts about the City of London

The City is an enclave of London itself and is technically the smallest county in the country.

The Guildhall, the administrative and ceremonial centre of the area, has stood since 1440, surviving even through events like the Great Fire of London.

Though the current St. Paul’s Cathedral was built in 1675 (making it a pretty old building itself), a place of worship has stood on its grounds since 604 AD.

You can still see parts of the original Roman London Wall along the modern London Wall road, near Tower Hill tube station. It was built all the way back in the second century.

The Queen has to seek the permission of the City’s Lord Mayor if she wants to visit the area.

The City has its own representative in parliament, called the Remembrancer. It’s a complex role that no other country in the country has.