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The Top Ten things to do near London Bridge

Iconic architecture, historic treasures, modern design and a vibrant food scene – there’s an array of fabulous things to do near London Bridge. Delve into the best, the quirky and the unmissable with my guide to discovering what to see and do in this cool area of London. 

 

Tower Bridge, LondonTower Bridge, London

That’s Tower Bridge in the shot above by the way. It’s very close to London Bridge but is much more photogenic. Tower Bridge is the one that the Americans thought they were buying but they ended up with the very plain and boring London Bridge… 

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Top ten things to do near London Bridge

London Bridge is one of my favourite parts of London to explore because it’s constantly evolving and reinventing itself. There’s something new and exciting to check out every time I visit, plus a lot of old favourites that I’ll never tire of and a heap of free things to do which is always a win. I love finding free things to do in London. You’ll need more than a day to explore the London Bridge area because there’s so much to see. Why not book into one of the hotels near the Shard and make a weekend of it. Let’s go explore…

 
 

 

 

 

See London from The Shard

 

Tower Bridge viewed from the ShareView of London Bridge from the Shard

 

So, what are the best things to do near London Bridge? Let’s start at the top. The pointy skyscraper building that you can see as you arrive at London Bridge Station is The Shard. When construction started and the iconic structure began to spike the skyline, people either loved it or hated it.

I loved it, booked tickets for opening day, and was one of the first to head up to floor 72 to check out the amazing London views. You can see up to 40 miles (64 km) on a clear day and it’s probably the most epic view of London you’ll ever see.

Travelbunny Tip: Head up to Aqua Shard on level 31 for breakfast for just £16.50 with the views thrown in for free.

32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG

Opening times vary – check the Shard website for times and to book tickets which start at £25

 

Step aboard HMS Belfast

 

HMS Belfast, LondonHMS Belfast with London Bridge behind it

 

When you leave The Shard head toward the river Thames where you’ll come face to face with the warship HMS Belfast. One of only three surviving Royal Navy warships from the D-Day Bombardment,  HMS Belfast forms part of the Imperial War Museum display. Explore all nine decks from the boiler rooms deep in the bowels of the ship through to the galley, the helm and the deck where you’ll find the guns that fired during D-Day.

 

The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2JH

10am to 5pm every day, last admission is at 4pm – Closed 24, 25 & 26 December

Click for HMS Belfast website prices and booking

 

 

Get your Gram on at Hay’s Galleria

 

As you’re leaving the ship drop into Hay’s Galleria, an historic nineteenth century wharf, just a two minute walk away. Once the main delivery point for ships bringing tea into London, the beautiful glass-covered atrium is an Instagrammer’s dream and is packed full of cafes, bars, brasseries and restaurants. Stop for a coffee before heading out and exploring more of the London Bridge area.

 

1 Battle Bridge Ln, London SE1 2HD 

Open 8am – 11pm Monday – Saturday and 8am – 10.30pm on Sunday

Admission Free

To help plan your visit to the UK’s capital check out these London travel tips

 

 

 

 

Take a tour of Tower Bridge

 

things to do near London BridgeTower Bridge, London

 

From the river look to the right and you’ll enjoy some of the best views of one of London’s most well-known landmarks. Head towards the iconic Tower Bridge, walk across the bridge and take in the views down the Thames. 

 

View from Tower BridgeView of London

 

The Tower Bridge Exhibition is well worth a visit. You’ll learn about the history of the bridge, visit the engine rooms and look over London from the high-level walkway 42 metres above the Thames. The views are epic. You should be able to see St Paul’s Cathedral, The Monument, The Tower of London, the Sky Garden and a few more famous landmarks. Check out these cool facts about Tower Bridge.

 

 

Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

Check the Tower Bridge website for opening hours and ticket prices

 

 

Check out More London, the Scoop and City Hall

 

City Hall London and The ScoopCity Hall, London

 

Head back from Tower Bridge towards London Bridge Station passing through More London. More London is part of an area known as London Bridge City and it’s pretty cool. Here you’ll find the bulbous shape of City Hall, shops, cafes and restaurants.

There’s a pedestrianised area with sculptures and colourfully lit fountains. Look out for The Scoop, next to City Hall, an 800-seat amphitheatre showing films, screenings of sporting events, musical performances and theatre productions. The views across the Thames to the Tower of London and the city skyline are stunning. More London’s got it all going on.

 

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

 

Head back towards London Bridge Station along St Thomas Street, near to the Shard, and drop by the Old Operating Theatre. This museum of surgical history is guaranteed to make you appreciate living in the 21 century. It’s one of the oldest surviving operating theatres and is full of gruesome, and frankly, quite terrifying surgical instruments.

 

The herb garret is filled with bottles of curious looking potions and concoctions. Dried herbs hang from the rafters and there are bowls of powders and crushed seeds. It’s all a little hocus pocus. The theatre is located in the garret of St Thomas’ Church, Southwark on the original site of St Thomas’ hospital. You need to climb a small 52-step spiral staircase to get inside.

 

9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY

Check the Old Operating Theatre website for times and prices as the museum often closes for talks.

 

 

 

Borough Market

 

Borough Market, LondonBorough Market, London

 

One of my favourite things to do near London Bridge is get stuck into some of the wonderful foodie stalls in Borough Market. One of the best London markets in my opinion. The current building dates back to 1851 but the market’s been going back since before the twelfth century.

Buy artisan cheeses, meats, fish and shellfish, wine, oils, deli favourites and most food stuffs you could put a name to. I always stop by Borough Cheese Company for a piece of their delectable Comte.

 

Sausages and burgers at Borough Market

 

Walk through to the back and you’ll come across Green Market where there’s a whole gamut of street stalls selling international cuisines from Japanese to Jamaican and Italian to Indian. It’s a great place for lunch.

 

8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL 

Mon-Thurs 10am – 5pm, Fri 10am – 5.30 pm, Sat 08 am – 5pm. Closed Sundays.

Note: Mon-Tue is a limited produce market with a full produce market the rest of the week.

 

The Golden Hinde

 

After you’ve eaten your fill head back down Cathedral Street back to the Thames and The Golden Hinde. It’s a 3-minute walk from Borough Market. The Elizabethan galleon is quite a contrast to the modern buildings that surround it. The Golden Hinde is a living-history museum and full-size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s flagship.

 

The ship, originally named the Pelican, first circumnavigated the globe back in 1577-1580. Drake discovered  huge amounts of treasure which paid off many of England’s debts. He came back to a hero’s welcome and was knighted in 1581 by Queen Elizabeth I. Step onboard The Golden Hinde for a fascinating guided tour or indulge your piratey ways on a self-guided tour.

 

St Mary Overie’s Dock, Cathedral St, London SE1 9DE

Check the Golden Hinde website for prices and opening – occasionally the ship is closed as a private venue

 

 

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

 

The Globe, LondonShakespeare’s Globe, London

 

You’ll find another reconstruction if you head west along the river. Shakespeare’s Globe is a must for theatre, literature and history lovers alike. The Globe is an accurate reconstruction of Shakespeare’s open-air playhouse and is built on the banks of the Thames. The original Elizabethan playhouse once stood about 230 metres (750 ft) from the new Globe.

 

Book one of the daily tours of the theatre or see a performance. I’d choose Othello which I studied for my A-level English Literature – still one of my Shakespeare favourites.

 

21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT

Check for opening times and ticket prices here https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/

 

 
 

 

 

Pubs near London Bridge Station

 

A visit to London Bridge wouldn’t be complete without a visit (or two) to a proper London pub. The Anchor, one of London’s oldest and frequented by smugglers long ago, is a fabulous riverside with views of London Bridge and St Paul’s over the water. It’s perfect spot for a drink in the sunshine, for people watching and taking in the views.

 

It’s said ‘The Canterbury Tales’ started on the site of The George Inn in Borough High Street and Shakespeare put on plays here so there’s a long literary history to this pub. Inside the original gallery remains and there’s a great courtyard garden for summers in the city. Food is also served.

 

One of my favourite bars by London Bridge is The Hide Bar on Bermondsey Street. Hand drawn maps and neon signs adorn the walls and the bar’s stocked with a decent range of gins.

 

Tower Bridge and HMS BelfastTower Bridge, looking from London Bridge

 

Getting to London Bridge

London Bridge Station is a major railway and underground station close to Bankside, Borough and Southwark. London Bridge Underground Station is on the Northern Line (black) and Jubilee line (grey).  Railway trains are operated by Thameslink, Southern Trains and South Eastern Trains.

There’s enough to see and do near London Bridge to fill a couple of days or more. Do you agree with my picks? Reply in the comments with any of your favourites I might have missed.

Pin it for later…

 

Delphine Mignon

Thursday 12th of March 2020

I visited London many years ago and there were no high buildings to speak of at the time. Now, getting to the top of the Shard is such a great things to do to see the city from the top. I didn't know so many interesting places so close to the London Bridge. I would definitely visit the bridge but also spend some time in the Borough Market and discover some interesting foods...

Lorrie

Saturday 31st of October 2020

I read through this with great interest having lived in England. I was extremely disappointed that the authors of this article continue to perpetuate the myth that Tower Bridge is called London Bridge. To see London Bridge it is quite unimpressive. So they show people pictures of Tower Bridge, which crosses the River Thames at the location of the Tower of London, and they do it because Tower Bridge is a beautiful bridge and not the unimpressive London Bridge. The large towers on the bridge were built to handle foot traffic when the bridge was opened for ships to cross under. They did not want to stop foot traffic so people would climb the towers, cross over the top, and come down on the opposing Tower. But, this is not the London Bridge... it is Tower Bridge! Please stop confusing travelers.

Suzanne Jones

Friday 13th of March 2020

Borough Market is one of my favourite spots in London and all the spots in the post are only 5-10 minutes walk from London Bridge station.

Mei and Kerstin

Thursday 12th of March 2020

When we visited London in December 2018, we stayed close to the London Bridge and liked the neighborhood. The Shard and the Borough Markets were really cool, but we had no idea that we could visit the HMS Belfast! Or perhaps it was closed during Christmas time... But when we return to London someday (not sure we will because of Brexit), we'll try to explore the nine decks of the HMS Belfast.

Suzanne Jones

Friday 13th of March 2020

I hope Brexit doesn't scupper your plans and you get to come back to London and explore more. There's a lot to see!

Indrani

Wednesday 11th of March 2020

The views down the Thames and the views from Shard bot are mesmerizing, they really make it worthwhile to tour London. I was not aware ‘The Canterbury Tales’ started on the site of The George Inn... wow so much history! Very high on my list of places to go.

Suzanne Jones

Friday 13th of March 2020

I hope you get to visit very soon. I love the history aspect of London - there's something new to learn about the city around every corner!

Rhonda Albom

Monday 9th of March 2020

A number of these buildings weren't built when I was last in London. I enjoyed the Tower Bridge Exhibition. I also went to the Tate Modern which is quite near the Globe theatre.

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 10th of March 2020

The Tate Modern is definitely worth a visit but, I felt, getting beyond the realms of London Bridge area!

Linda (LD Holland)

Monday 9th of March 2020

London Bridge is certainly a great landmark to explore from. We saw the Shard from afar. But next time we are in London we will definitely head up for a panoramic view and breakfast. Hay’s Gallery was definitely a great spot for photos. We missed the Scoop so will have to add that to our London list. And hubby would love the naval history at the Golden Hinde. London is a gateway city to Europe for us. So we know we will be back to explore more.

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 10th of March 2020

You could explore London forever and never see it all but you're right - London Bridge is a great place to start. I hope you'll be back soon to discover more of our amazing capital's highlights.