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The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Liverpool Street, London’s Historic Neighborhood

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The Liverpool Street area is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in London, and with its proximity to the East End and the City of London, makes for an easily accessible destination.

Not only that – the Liverpool Street station is one of historical importance; one that took a central part in the 20th century Kindertransport, and one where Victorian architecture blends in with aesthetic modern buildings.

There is simply so much to see around Liverpool Street that you can spend days there, looking for hidden alleys, getting street food at Eataly near the station, and enjoying views from Horizon 22…

Ready to dive deep into one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in London?

The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Liverpool Street, London’s Historic Neighborhood

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Having lived in Mile End and Bethnal Green for about a year, passing through Liverpool Street by Tube and bus to get to the Shard at London Bridge, where I worked for a while, was something I did on the daily.

I have always very much appreciated the austere beauty of Liverpool Street’s skyscrapers, as well as the hidden church gardens you can find around the area, which include the quaint garden at St Botolph Without Bishopsgate church.

To help you in your discovery of the picturesque area, which becomes even more instagrammable as the sun sets over the skyscrapers, I have also included a few restaurants and food spots you might enjoy during your visit at the end of this guide.

Let’s, however, start with all kinds of secret gardens, historical sites and other awesome sights that will undoubtedly make you fall in love with the Liverpool Street area!

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Bishopsgate and Bishopsgate Institute

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Bishopsgate is one of the most famous streets in London, and the very one that passes by Liverpool Street station, connecting Shoreditch to the City of London.

That’s where you will find many restaurants and cafes, as well as the Bishopsgate Institute, which offers socially-oriented exhibitions (completely free!) as well as a couple of rooms perfect to study for a bit.

I’ve always been blown away by how beautiful the Bishopsgate Institute building is, and that’s a sight you won’t miss when you walk around Liverpool Street.

Read: The Curious Guide to Smithfield, London’s Forgotten Neighborhood

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: St Mary Axe

The Gherkin (top right picture) is one of London’s landmarks, and a true exhibition of eccentric British sophistication.

Walking around the Liverpool Street area, you can reach the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe of its real name) within a couple of minutes, passing by some large, clean streets with beautiful views of the nearby skyscrapers.

At the bottom of the Gherkin, you will find a few benches on which you can have a picnic, or spend some time reading while enjoying the presence of the towering skyscrapers over you.

Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Roman Girl (top left picture), which you can easily miss, even if you’re looking for it.

Indeed, a simple inscription on the side of one of the benches memorializes the teenager, who died at a time when London was still the Roman Londinium.

Read: The Best Free Views in London

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: St Botolph Without Bishopsgate

Probably one of the most secret churches in the City of London – even if it’s here, right on Bishopsgate and out in the open!, St Botolph Without Bishopsgate is a historic church dating back to the medieval period, although some records mention its existence from the Roman times.

For whoever would be after secret gardens in Central London, that of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate church is one of the cutest you will find, complete with a small fountain, sculptures, and turn-of-the-century lights.

The best part is, we’re really close to Liverpool Street station, which can be reached in 5 to 10 minutes, and Duck & Waffle and Sushi Samba, two of London’s best restaurants, are located right across the street.

Read: The Cutest Floral Cafes in London

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Alderman’s Walk

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Located just behind St Botolph Without Bishopsgate, Alderman’s Walk is a small passage that drags you back in time whether you want it or not, its gates and arched windows the perfect background for pictures.

It is a huge contrast to how modern Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street look with their many shops and restaurants, and while Alderman’s Walk is a simple passage to walk through, it exhales old-world charm, a great spot to pop by if you’re into history.

Read: 8 Free Historical Sites to Visit in London

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Walk to Aldgate

Let’s keep the historical streak going with a visit to the Aldgate area; another favorite of mine as it is one of the places to check out for remains of the London Wall.

That’s not all, though – if you’ve been meaning to check out artistic hidden gems, you might want to pop by the Jocelyn McGregor Earthing sculpture, which is a call to humans to reconnect with nature.

If you keep going past the sculpture to the right, you will enter into the depths of the City of London, with, at some point, the hidden garden at St Alphage and its church ruins.

If, however, you go down the Minories, you will reach the Tower of London with its ineffable views of the Thames river and maritime buildings in the distance.

In any case, do visit Aldgate Square if you have the time, as there are plenty of gorgeous buildings and coffee shops in the surroundings!

Read: The Curious Traveler’s Guide to London’s Secret and Free Museums

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: New Inn Broadway and Romeo & Juliet Mural

Straying away from the Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate area, why not visit Shoreditch for a bit – it’s, after all, one of London’s best street art areas!

New Inn Broadway is one of my favorite places to visit in Shoreditch; a literary spot you have to pop by if you’re into reading, as you will be able to admire a Romeo & Juliet mural there, along with a statue of Shakespeare.

We’re actually quite close to Liverpool Street station; in about 15 minutes walking, you will reach New Inn Broadway.

Don’t be afraid of walking around the area: as you get lost, you will find many more street art pieces in the surrounding streets, including the ultra-colorful New Inn Yard!

Read: A Self Walking Tour of Brick Lane’s Street Art: What to See

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Admire the Station’s Architecture

For some reason, my mind always connects the architecture at Liverpool Street station with that of the famous Leadenhall Market – it must be the mix of curves, glass roof and ornaments dotted around both landmarks.

Opened in 1874, Liverpool Street station is currently one of the busiest stations in London, and one that also hosts the Elizabeth Line opened a few months ago.

My favorite way of seeing Liverpool Street station, though, is through the two Kindertransport sculptures: indeed, the station served as an entry point to the trains bringing thousands of kids, saving them from Nazi persecution in several Eastern European countries, including Poland and Germany.

Read: The Prettiest Multicolor Places in London

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Admire the Kindertransport Sculptures

One of the Kindertransport sculptures, The Arrival, was designed by Frank Meisler and Arie Oviada, and commemorates the arrival of Jewish children between 1938 and 1939.

The Kindertransport rescue mission followed the Kristallnacht in Germany, and was put together in a matter of weeks – from December 1938, trains from Germany started bringing rescued kids to their new foster families.

Another Kindertransport memorial, Für Das Kind (For the Children), is located inside Liverpool Street station, and another poignant sight.

Read: The Best Hidden Gems in London Bridge and Southwark

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Enjoy Pieces of Sculpture in the City

Sculpture in the City is one of my favorite art trails in London; there are several in town, which also include Broadgate, easily accessible from Liverpool Street station on foot.

All the way down towards St Mary Axe and Aldgate, you will find several sculptures in all kinds of styles – the one above is located on Bishopsgate, close to the Old Spitalfields Market, and is one of the only ‘talking’ sculptures in London!

The Earthing sculpture mentioned at the beginning of this guide is also part of the Sculpture in the City art trail, which goes to show just how diverse the public art pieces can be in London.

Read: 8 Secret Places to Eat in Central London

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Relax at Broadgate Plaza

When walking from Liverpool Street station towards Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, take a left on Primrose Street, and somewhere on the right, you will find Broadgate Plaza.

This is one of the many secret spots you’ll find in the area, with sculptures, restaurants and cafes lining the covered passage.

It’s the kind of place where people working in nearby buildings hang out at lunch with a meal deal or a salad, and Broadgate Plaza’s proximity with Exchange Square makes a cute spot to pop by before checking out this other secret garden!

Read: The Most Secret and Instagrammable Cafes in London

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Visit Exchange Square Behind the Station

I first came across Exchange Square almost by mistake; I was looking for the Broadgate Venus, part of the Broadgate Art Trail, and could not believe my eyes when I discovered this huge garden hidden behind Liverpool Street station.

A beautiful water point to enjoy during summer in London, the Broadgate Venus, the Commuters sculpture (top right picture) and the incredible views of the Liverpool Street skyscrapers make it one of my favorite spots to relax…

And so very unknown to most tourists!

Read: The Cutest Pink Places in London

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Sun Street Passage

Sun Street Passage is a historic passage featuring gorgeous stonework, a contrast with the modern buildings in the distance – one that connects Broadgate Circle to Exchange Square, and a bustling alley at that.

Those looking for unusual spots to take pictures would do well to pop by Sun Street Passage, which took its name from a nearby tavern recorded as early as 1650, and makes today for yet another striking trace of London’s past.

Read: A Guide to Completely Free Things to Do in London

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Broadgate Circle

The Broadgate Circle development is one hidden behind Liverpool Street station; immaculate, it is filled with restaurants, among which Franco Manca, which offers some of the cheapest Neapolitan pizza in London.

We talked about the Broadgate art trail earlier in this guide, and just outside of Broadgate Circle, you will find another quirky sculpture, Hare in a Hat, in front of the Rolex store.

For those looking for quaint afternoon tea spots, Mr Fogg’s, which has other cute branches in London (namely in Covent Garden and Marylebone), is another must-visit, a picturesque Victorian-style tavern with a gorgeous terrace!

Read: The Most Unusual Places to Visit in London for Free

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: LOOM at Broadgate

LOOM at Broadgate is one of those artistic hidden gems that you don’t expect in places like Liverpool Street; this permanent interactive installation was launched in 2019.

Broadgate, Liverpool Street and the Spitalfields neighborhood all have a strong tapestry heritage, including silk work, and LOOM is a colorful way to pay homage to that past… the London way.

If you need a pick me up, Redemption Roasters has a branch inside the LOOM installation – if you’ve visited their instagrammable cafe in Angel, you already know their coffee is utterly tasty!

Read: All the Secret Places in London You Didn’t Know About

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Shoreditch Street Art

Walking from Liverpool Street station towards Bethnal Green Road, you will reach Commercial Road and Great Eastern Street at some point; all around, countless street art pieces can be admired.

The Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other mural in Great Eastern Street is probably one of the most famous murals in London, topped with old train carriages of the Jubilee Line.

New Inn Broadway and New Inn Yard I’ve mentioned earlier are both located within walking distance, and will complete a self-walking tour of Shoreditch’s street art to perfection!

Read: The Best Places to See Nature in London

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Charnel House, Bishops Square

Like Pancras Square, that you can easily walk from King’s Cross station on the Piccadilly Line, Bishops Square is a quiet secret place for tourists – not so much for locals who work in the area.

Colorful fish and benches located around relaxing ponds, the proximity with Old Spitalfields Market and its vintage shops, and Charnel Square all make Bishops Square a place to visit absolutely.

Charnel Square, in particular, is one of the best-preserved medieval sites in London, ruins of an old ossuarium in which you will also find a more modern sculpture, right under the square.

Read: The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Canary Wharf, London’s Financial District

Best Things to Do in Liverpool Street London: Artillery Passage and Views of London

Close to Bishops Square, the historic Artillery Passage is one of the best-hidden alleyways in London, and a step back in time with its 17th-century buildings and tiny shops lining the passage.

You can easily access Artillery Passage from Liverpool Street, and while this is in my opinion one of the prettiest streets in London, I cannot recommend enough checking out all the streets around it.

This includes places with gorgeous shopfronts, like Verde & Company, or A. Gold – both are close to Gun Street, another historic street that lovers of the past will love to admire.

Read: The Most Hidden Courtyards in London, Gardens and Old Streets

Best Hidden Gems in Liverpool Street London: Walk to Voss Street, Bethnal Green

If you’re willing to stray away from Liverpool Street station, you will find there are many cool things to do in Bethnal Green – including visiting Voss Street, hidden behind Bethnal Green Road.

On the way to Voss Street, you will see Brick Lane on the right with all its gorgeous street art (bottom picture), bagel shops and other perfect cafes for breakfast.

Voss Street is a quiet mews street, of the kind you wouldn’t expect to see in places like East London, a big part of which is covered in graffiti and street art, an open-air gallery painted by members of the on-site Matchbox Collective.

Read: The Best Halal Breakfast in London

Best Places to Eat near Liverpool Street London

Best Places to Eat near Liverpool Street London: Pizza Union, Spitalfields

Now, visiting any neighborhood in London, you will get hungry at some point, which is why I have chosen to include a few of my favorite food spots in this guide as well, starting with Pizza Union.

Pizza Union is located in Spitalfields, right behind Liverpool Street and close to Artillery Passage – it is also the place to get the cheapest pizza in London.

We’re closer to a Roman-style pizza than Neapolitan pizza, with a huge restaurant that gets super crowded at lunch time: at around 6 to 7 pounds for a whole pizza, it’s easy to understand why!

Read: The Best Hidden Gems in West London

Best Places to Eat near Liverpool Street London: Song Que Cafe, Kingsland Road

On Kingsland Road, in Shoreditch (close to New Inn Broadway!), you will find Song Que Cafe, which serves nothing but the best Vietnamese pho in London.

I also happen to love raw beef salad, and had never been able to find a really tasty one in London – well, I’ve found it at Song Que Cafe.

This is a really unassuming place, but one of the best restaurants in London overall, at least in my book, and quite affordable!

Read: The Best Hidden Gems in South London

Best Places to Eat near Liverpool Street London: Kahaila, Brick Lane

If you’ll start your visit of the Liverpool Street area in the morning, why not have a great breakfast at Kahaila in Brick Lane?

That’s a rustic coffee shop I spend a lot of time in, where chocolate cake and rainbow cake blend with beautiful chai latte, in a setting perfect to study or work for some time as well.

Now, there are many amazing cafes in East London, but every single time I have to recommend just one to people visiting the city for the first time, Kahaila is one of the first names that pop in my mind.

Read: The Best Hidden Gems in North London

Best Places to Eat near Liverpool Street London: Aux Merveilleux de Fred, Leadenhall Market

As a French person, any time I visit another city, I am likely to check for French patisseries as well; that was the case for London, and that is also the case when I am living in Rome.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred is a Parisian pastry shop you will find several branches of in London, including in the gorgeous Leadenhall Market.

The Merveilleux are soft, delicate meringue pastries topped with cream and biscoff, white chocolate, dark chocolate, meringue bits… All kinds of delicious treats.

Having breakfast at Aux Merveilleux de Fred while enjoying the historic Leadenhall Market is simply incomparable – and why not pop by Horizon 22, one of London’s best free rooftops, while you’re at it?

Read: The Best Hidden Gems in Mayfair, Central London

The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Liverpool Street, London’s Historic Neighborhood

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There you have them, all the best things to do in Liverpool Street and its surrounding areas; Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, the City of London and Spitalfields!

You’ll hopefully have found here lots of new free things to do in London you didn’t suspect – the historical sites Liverpool Street is filled with are enough to keep anyone coming back, if only to admire the aesthetic buildings of the neighborhood!

Until next time!

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Sam is a certified fashion makeup artist, a freelance writer, a blogger and a digital nomad. Since 2019, she roams around the world, from London to Rome and shares her knowledge about makeup, scented candles, travel, blogging and the digital nomad lifestyle.