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One of London’s busiest train stations, Liverpool Street and its surrounding area have undergone a serious transformation in recent years, with some big money investments and several major new corporate HQs setting up shop within walking distance of the terminus. With so many things to do including late night haunts, historic places and bars and restaurants around Liverpool Street station, the area is a destination in its own right and easily accessible from all over London and the Home Counties.
We also particularly enjoy exploring Liverpool Street at the weekends as apart from drinking joints in the immediate vicinity, much of the city, particularly the Square Mile is quite quiet, as the offices close up shop and the tourists concentrate on central London.
Whether you are waiting for a connecting train or starting a day out in London from the station, here is our guide to all the activities in and around Liverpool Street Station that are within a 15 minute walk:
Things to do near Liverpool Street Station
1. Old Spitalfields Market
Likely the most popular spot on this ‘things to do near Liverpool Street station’ guide, Spitalfields Market is one of London’s oldest and finest public markets, which originally begun over 350 years ago.
Full of fine food and drink options (lots of street food stalls) plus huge weekend markets, Spitalfields market is also undercover so is a great option no matter what the weather.
2. Finsbury Circus
Not to be confused with Finsbury Park (a whole other area of London), Finsbury Circus is a historic park (grade II listed) located just a stone’s throw away from the rear entrance of Liverpool Street. Regal and stately, Finsbury Circus is the largest open park in the city boundaries and its beautiful setting often sees it used as filming location for TV ads and series.
The present garden at Finsbury Circus dates back from the 1810s although there has been a public space here since the 17th century. A perfect place to pitch a picnic in the heart of London, this is one of the more tranquil things to do near Liverpool Street Station.
3. Brick Lane
Take a ten minute walk to London’s famous Brick Lane, an eclectic East London neighbourhood that is known for its flea markets, smart street-art and its world famous boiled bagels. Two bagels stores here are incredibly famous and popular: Beigel Bake and Brick Lane Bagel Shop – both open 24 hours but expect huge queues during the day.
If your visit to Brick Lane and Liverpool Street Station happens to be on a Sunday, we’d also recommend combining it with Columbia Road Flower Market, a 20 minute walk away from the main station concourse– read our full blog about Columbia Road >
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4. Shoreditch / BOXPARK
The gateway between the Square Mile and central London, Shoreditch is East London’s edgier, hipster hangout and a little removed from the suits you’d usually see around Liverpool Street.
A creative and regenerative backdrop bursting with bars, clubs and restaurants (plus Shoreditch BOXPARK), here is our guide to the grungy and gentrified go to places in Shoreditch >
5. Broadgate Circle – best place at the station to get a drink
If you fancy something to eat or drink very close to the station but don’t fancy staying indoors, there is a large cluster of bars and restaurants to the rear of the station approximately a 1 min walk away from the main platforms and concourse (so good for waiting for a train or if the service is delayed).
Popular with the workers and city crowd, this is billed as the largest pedestrianised area in London (hmmm). It is also the best place at Liverpool Street Station to catch some rays in the summer and sip on some champagne or beer and grab a quick bite / enjoy a sit down meal. Restaurants include Franco Manca (pizza), Bar Douro (Portuguese), Comptoir Libanais (Lebanese) and Hop (Vietnamese).
6. Eat/drink at Heron Tower – Sushi Samba/Duck and Waffle
Head up on high to Heron Tower / Bishopsgate, a huge skyscraper full of offices with two of London’s top restaurants on the higher floors. Duck and Waffle can be found on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, with panoramic views of the city and an emphasis on good old British food fare and some European epicurean delights.
Just below Duck and Waffle, straddling floors 38 and 39 respectively, Sushi Samba offers the best of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian dishes – it also has a rooftop bar / beer garden.
Both are incredibly popular so book in advance (as at October 2021, Duck and Waffle have now also resumed 24 hour service).
7. Sky Garden
If you’re planning your trip into the capital via Liverpool Street Station, we’d highly recommend booking free tickets to visit the Sky Garden, on the 35th floor of the Walkie Talkie building.
Whilst most of the building is used for commercial purposes, part of the reason planning permission was granted by the authorities was that they had to include a public space that all visitors could access – thus the Sky Garden was born (or should that be bloomed)?
One of the capital’s newest attractions and the city’s highest public garden, it is a nice spot for both strolling around the gardens, and eating and drinking at one of their several rooftop bars and restaurants. Tickets go super quickly so make sure you plan well – free tickets usually get released 3 weeks in advance.
8. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market, originally constructed in the 14th century is one of London’s most beautiful and historic market places – the interiors are stunning and intricately painted (just look up at the roof – incredible!).
Walk along the covered, cobbled streets and lanes in Leadenhall Market, browse the stalls, evade the hardcore Harry Potter fans (joke!) or simply grab a beer or wine at one of the old pubs here and wonder in awe at the architecture, imagining all that has happened here over the last several hundred years.
9. Shoreditch street art
We’ve been lucky to see some sublime street art around the globe on our travels but some of the best street art in the world can be found close to Liverpool Street station in and around the lanes and alleyways of Shoreditch.
Showcasing internationally renowned street artists as well as local painters, Shoreditch’s streets are awash with an awesome array of artwork in practically every type of space you can imagine, from the picturesque to the political.
10. Eataly Italian Food Hall
London’s newest foodhall (as at October 2021) and located immediately next to Liverpool Street station Bishopsgate entrance, Eataly (nice name) is an Italian market hall with several shops, bars and food outlets.
Designed with Instagram in mind (probably – check out the neon archway), Eataly opened in the summer of 2021 and fast became one of the area’s go to gourmet hotspots. When it first opened, the queues went around the block although they have now died down (likely since everyone has seen the price of a slice of pizza – definitely not a cheap eat).
11. Gherkin / St Mary Axe
A five minute amble from Liverpool Street Station brings you to the iconic St Mary Axe building, commonly and affectionately referred to by locals as the Gherkin due to its unique exterior (to be fair, there are much worse nicknames it could have had). Primarily used as a commercial premises, the jewel in the crown at St Mary Axe for members of the public is the Helix restaurant on the top floor, run by Searcys (they of champagne bar fame so you know you’ll be in for a good time).
Check out our Sunday Brunch at the Gherkin >
12. The Barbican Estate
Beautifully brutalist or a concrete carbuncle? Who knows but there is no doubt that a walk around Barbican Estate is a slightly dystopian but delightful experience. Now home to over 2,000 residents (so be respectful when exploring the Barbican), this was designed as an experiment in inner city living after WWII. It now wouldn’t feel out of place in a sci-fi movie and is grade II listed.
The Barbican estate is also home to the Barbican Centre, a theatre, cinema and performing arts space. Try to visit from Liverpool Street when the Barbican Conservatory is open – the second biggest conservatory in London. The gardens are very Amazon like (the rainforest, not the website!) and admission is free.
13. St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden and Ruin
A little slice of solitude and a world away from the usual hustle and hubris of Liverpool Street, the church of St. Dunstan in the East church garden, offers a bit of tranquility in the city, and a respite from the capital’s hubris – just over a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Street station, here is our dedicated guide to St Dunstan in the East >
14. Seek out the Square Mile
The historic heart of London has so much to see and do, and is just a short walk from Liverpool Street Station (and usually very quiet at the weekends with offices closed and workers away).
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), read our guide here– we’ve tried to go the extra (Square) mile for you >
15. Hamilton Hall – one of the prettiest Wetherspoons in London
Possibly the closest, interior pub actually located within Liverpool Street station (well, until the new Fullers pub opens), the Hamilton Hall is one of the best looking Wetherspoons pubs in the city (look up at that ornate ceiling – it must have caused a national shortage in gold-leaf!).
People from overseas may have not have heard about the Wetherspoons chain, but whilst they can be hit and miss depending on where you go (e.g. the one in Windsor has castle views), they are undoubtedly cheap compared to other London pubs e.g pints start from as little as £1.99 but the Liverpool Street Wetherspoons usually is a bit more expensive – premium pricing.
Like all Wetherspoons, it has long opening hours (open from first thing to late night) so it is a good opportunity to try a traditional England breakfast (fry-up) or other traditional English dishes.
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