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One of the busiest train stations in central London, Cannon Street Station is at the historic heart of the capital and a heady mix of ancient buildings, riverside bars and fine restaurants.
Cannon Street Station is busy in the week with city workers commuting to and from London (particularly from Kent and East Sussex). However at the weekends, Cannon Street Station and its surrounding area is pretty serene meaning you can explore a lot of the historic Square Mile without the crowds.
From sky high views of the capital to traditional Thameside inns, here is our guide to all the things to do around Cannon Street Station in London (all within a 15 minute walk of Cannon Street Station itself):
Things to do near Cannon Street Station
1. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market, originally constructed in the 14th century is one of London’s most beautiful and historic market places.
Free to visit any time of the day, Leadenhall Market’s interiors are exquisite and ornately painted. Look up at the ceiling too – kind of like the Sistine Chapel of the Square Mile and central London.
Walk along the cobbles and lanes in Leadenhall Market and browse the shops. In addition, Leadenhall Market has been a filming location in several big movies including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Tomb Raider and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Read our dedicated Leadenhall Market blog here >
Address: Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 1LT
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2. The Oyster Shed pub
The ‘pearl’ of riverside pubs near to Cannon Street Station, this is one shiny bar and restaurant popular every night with city workers and the occasional tourist.
Whilst the interiors are lovely at The Oyster Shed, most guests make full use of the riverside tables and chairs during the summer months , offering prime views of the River Thames and the London skyline including the Shard and London Bridge.
The Oyster Shed was recently awarded the National Pub & Bar Awards 2022 for Best Pub in the City of London so clearly it is doing something right. And yep, as you’d expect with a name like the Oyster Shed, their signature dish is a seafood platter including oodles of oysters.
Address: The Oyster Shed, 1 Angel Lane, London, EC4R 3AB
3. The Sky Garden
The Sky Garden is one of London’s best free attractions (and the city’s highest public garden too).
It is a very popular spot for strolling around the gardens and dining at one of the several rooftop bars and restaurants in and around the Sky Garden.
Unlike other viewing platforms in London that cost a fortune in admissions or require a costly restaurant reservation (a la Shard), you can enjoy the stunning view from the Sky Garden for free if you book in advance.
Read our guide on how to book Sky Garden free tickets here >
Address: The Sky Garden, 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF
4. St Paul’s Cathedral
The most glorious building in the whole of London with its iconic dome and Golden Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christoper Wren and built over a 35 year period, fully opening in 1710.
Over the years, it has presided over Royal Weddings, landmark events and state funerals such as those of Churchill and Thatcher.
The St Paul’s Cathedral admission fee is £23 per person as at 2023 (or £20.50 if you book in advance online). Discounted tickets can be purchased on Get Your Guide.
If you are on a tight budget, the best free views of St Paul’s can be found at the viewing platform of the nearby One New Change shopping centre. Simply take the lift to Madison rooftop bar on the top floor – don’t be put off by the security guards, they are just there to manage the bar patrons.
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
5. Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London (which started in nearby Pudding Lane) was finished in 1677 to commemorate the rebuilding of the city. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, visitors can still climb the 311 steps to the top to see views of London and the Thames.
The Monument to the Great Fire of London admission is £5.80 per adult as at 2023 and a 5 minute walk from Cannon Street Station.
Address: Monument to the Great Fire of London, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
6. St Dunstan in the East Church and Garden
A little slice of solitude, the church of St. Dunstan in the East church garden, offers respite, tranquillity and a place to worship.
Amazingly it is right in the heart of London’s hustle and bustle and city traders, located in the Square Mile and close to Cannon Street Station.
Looking like no other church in central London, St Dunstan in the East Church and Garden survived severe damage caused by both the Great Fire of London in 1666 plus bombing in 1941. It is mainly ruins but the gardens are all the more beautiful for it.
Read our dedicated guide to St Dunstan in the East >
Address: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD
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7. The outdoor terrace at the Banker pub
Another fine Fuller’s pub on the river in the city of London, The Banker was one of our favourite after work pubs when we worked around Cannon Street Station. Inside, the Banker doesn’t look anything special – an old vault or storage cellar and it is pretty expensive as London pubs go.
That said, the Banker (near Cannon Street Station) has one of the best riverside spots in the city centre / square mile with a small terrace directly overlooking the Thames.
Just try to grab a spot in the sun before the city workers finish as The Banker beer garden can get very busy after 4pm.
Address: The Banker, Cousin Lane, London EC4R 3TE
8. Samuel Pepys pub
Of all the central London pubs on the river we mention on our best riverside pubs in London guide, the Samuel Pepys is probably the least well known.
Frequented by city workers and locals in the know, the Samuel Pepys pub has a small but spectacular balcony area that directly overlooks the Thames, with unspoilt views of South Bank.
The Samuel Pepys is close to so many major London landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern (London’s top free things to do) and is housed in an old Thameside tea warehouse. So it is a traditional riverside pub in an old tea warehouse; how British!
Address: Samuel Pepys, Stew Lane, London EC4V 3PT
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9. London Wall
Built around 200AD, the original London Wall was around 4 km / 2.5 miles long and built to fortify the city (the exact reasons for its presence remain a mystery).
Over the years, the London Wall has decreased in size due to the Great Fire, WWII bombing and general development. Although several sections can still be seen and visited, particularly close to the Tower of London and the Museum of London.
Just under a 10 minute walk away from Cannon Street Station, The Guildhall is a grand, gothic town hall building from the 15th century – so striking that it is worth a visit to view the exterior.
Although sometimes closed for private events, The Guildhall is usually accessible to look around in – via the West Wing Reception (located in the newer building next to the church).
Address: Guildhall, 71 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 7HH
11. South Bank Walk
Our favourite free walk in central London (and close to Cannon Street Station) is along the South Bank, taking in the stretch along the River Thames.
Walking from Cannon Street Station, head over to either London Bridge or Southwark Bridge and walk towards Southwark Cathedral.
From here you can either follow the Thames path towards Tower Bridge and Butler’s Wharf, or walk southwards towards Tate Modern and finishing at the London Eye.
Read more about the Southbank walk in London here >
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12. The Gherkin, Square Mile London
30 St Mary Axe (better known as The Gherkin due to its rather interesting shape) is primarily an office block which also houses bars and restaurants at the top that are open to the public. It is around a 10 minute walk from Cannon Street Station.
Featured in such movies as Wimbledon, Basic Instinct 2 (eek!) and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, we visited recently to have brunch at the Gherkin in the Seachey’s Helix Restaurant, which features awesome 360 degree views of London (and quite lacklustre service!).
Read our Gherkin / 30 St Mary The Axe brunch review here >
Address: The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF
13. The Square Mile, London
Many of the things to do near Cannon Street Station are part of the area that is affectionately known as the ‘Square Mile’ (based on the small area it covers – exactly one square mile) at the historic heart of London.
From the little known free rooftop view of St Paul’s Cathedral to the finest old inns and pubs (sit where Dickens or Twain once enjoyed a flagon of ale), there is lots do – so read on for our dedicated guide to the Square Mile in London >
14. Postman’s Park
Dating back to the 1880s, Postman’s Park (named as it was the former site of the Post Office HQ) is a glorious, garden retreat in the heart of London.
It is home to George Frederic Watt’s Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, a series of plaques and tablets honouring members of the public who tragically lost their lives trying to save others.
A poignant and haunting tribute, this is generally quite a quiet spot, popular with city workers on their lunch break (it also features as a key location for the movie Closer, starring Jude Law and Natalie Portman).
Address: Postman’s Park, King Edward Street, London EC1A 7BT
Our final thing to do near Cannon Street Station
15. Cannon Bridge House Roof Garden (open selected days of the year)
Formerly an old bank and now home to multiple businesses and Government organisations like Historic England – Cannon Bridge House also boasts one of the most spectacular roof gardens in London.
Designed in the 1990s, the Cannon Bridge House Roof Garden has won multiple awards and offers stunning views of the River Thames, Tower Bridge, the Shard and of course, Cannon Bridge Station itself.
It has also been used as a location in several movies including James Bond and Mission Impossible.
Whilst not technically open to the public, Cannon Bridge House Roof Gardens can be accessed several weekends a year during special public events (or you might be lucky enough to be invited to one of the private events held there during the summer months).
Address: Cannon Bridge House Roof Gardens, 25 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2YA
Other London posts you might like
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- Guide to the best free things to do in London
- How to book free Sky Garden tickets
- Things to do in Covent Garden, London
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- Top things to do in Brixton, South London
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- Top things to do in Canary Wharf and in Docklands
- Borough Market guide – London’s most famous food market
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