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City living

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City-6Renting an apartment close to the centre of a global financial powerhouse has a definite appeal to those who like to get up close and personal with wealth creation, but the City of London – known commonly as ‘The City’ – has more to offer than just pure commerce.

The City is an area that can trace its origins back to Roman times and has two thousand years of history written into its very brickwork. The street names speak of an unbroken preoccupation with trade: Cornhill, Bread Street, Poultry and Ironmongers Row are the roots of today’s mighty financial markets.

A decade ago, this neighbourhood would bustle from Monday to Friday before falling silent at the weekend. However, a new breed of corporate professional means that demand for convenient rental apartments has skyrocketed.

Apartments in the City

Reception room at The Heron
Reception room at The Heron

Today’s City professional or corporate exec is willing to pay extra for a shorter commute, top-notch amenities and spectacular views of the Thames. Developers have built the ideal accommodation like these apartments to rent at The Heron and Roman House. These developments with their emphasis on space, natural light and extra facilities – such as second bathrooms – are ideal for professional couples and sharers as well as wealthy students attending the London School of Economics in nearby Holborn.

Adjacent neighbourhoods in E1 are being transformed to meet the needs of a workforce that expects comfort, convenience and a high living specification. CityScape, Avant-Garde Apartments and Goodman’s Fields are all great examples of contemporary urban living spaces where you can rent a property without breaking the bank. These incorporate private gyms and concierge services and are within walking distance from the heart of the financial quarter making them a serious contender for anyone looking to rent a home in the City. We have properties to match most budgets with rentals from £395 per week for a typical one bed in EC4 to £2,200 per week for a three bed in The Heron.


City hotspots


The way the Square Mile has modernised itself has been a model of conservation, aesthetics and innovation. Any new construction is built with meticulous attention to shape, position and context. The result is a skyline full of imaginatively shaped versions of the skyscraper genre with nicknames you won’t find anywhere else. The Gherkin, the Walkie-Talkie and the Cheese Grater have all entered the popular lexicon of Londoners (The Shard, on the other hand, is the actual name of the 72 storey giant that rises above London Bridge).  All this activity has helped boost the profile of an area that is becoming a viable alternative to the West End in terms of nightlife and retail activity.

The City has also been revolutionised by an influx of new, hip eateries and boutique shopping malls in such places as One New Change, Paternoster Square and Spitalfields Market. The surrounding fringe districts like Shoreditch, Hoxton, Wapping and Brick Lane (all in E1) provide not only youthful energy and tech-savvy startups but also galleries, music venues and other creative spaces. In fact, the E1 postcode is definitely an area to watch as this has become one of London’s most fashionable quarters to live in outside of Zone 1.

Getting around

A high concentration of transport links has always been one of the City’s main strengths, however, there has been no sense of complacency as the area continues to embrace new ways of getting around the capital. The Docklands Light Railway was the first major transport upgrade with driverless shuttle trains linking Bank and Tower Bridge stations to the Docklands Peninsula, Stratford and London City Airport. The Jubilee line extension extends its reach from Westminster to London Bridge and onwards to Canary Wharf thus allowing fast access to various Bankside communities and the O2 Arena. Undoubtedly, one of the most appealing transport developments has been the rejuvenation of the Thames river taxi service. These modern craft ply a route between Embankment and Greenwich and provide comparatively stress-free journeys in and out of the City and even extend as far as Imperial Wharf another popular rental location in Fulham SW6.

City charm

St. Pauls Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral

The relatively small size of the City means that it’s easy to sample most of its culture just by taking a short stroll along the river. Walking along the Thames Path, you can start at the Tower of London where Henry VIII kept his enemies (including a couple of unfortunate wives) before executing them, before passing the Monument which commemorates the Great Fire. Cutting inland, you can discover hidden architectural gems by Sir Christopher Wren, the man who almost single-handedly re-imagined London after the twin catastrophes of disease and fire ravaged it in the 17th century.

Moving further west brings you to his most famous triumph – the Italianate-domed masterpiece that is St Paul’s Cathedral. All these wonderful reminders of the City’s illustrious past are beautifully preserved while also being accessible; the Square Mile is far from being a static museum.


A different kind of City

Thanks to excellent travel links, lively nightlife, beautiful architecture (old and new) and some of the most sought-after working environments around – the postcodes of the City are fast becoming some of the most popular in London.  If you want to know more about available rental properties, visit our listings page or contact us and we’ll be happy to provide more information.


About the Author

Mark has worked in property for nearly 20 years, initially in estate agency and then moving on to work for a corporate serviced apartment provider. He has been based in the City and Docklands for 14 years and joined Benham and Reeves in 2003 as manager of the City office, going on to set up the Canary Wharf office in 2009 and now he also heads the Greenwich office which opened in 2013. ARLA qualified, Mark has the NAEA (NFOPP) qualification.