“How come every time you come around my London, London Bridge wanna go down, like London, London, London”… It’s such a well known part of the Big Smoke that even Fergie has written about it. Though you used the wrong bridge in the video there Fergie, Ferg… One of the most historic areas of the capital, London Bridge has plenty of things going on. From the mighty Shard to the eateries and bars of Bermondsey Street, there’s something for everyone here. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of the best things to do in London Bridge:
1. Satiate your appetite at the landmark Borough Market
Think ‘London food markets’, and this is probably the first place that springs to mind. With an internationally-famous reputation and an 1000-year history, Borough Market remains the gold standard for food markets in London. Open in full from Wednesday to Saturday, this fantastic market has long offered fresh ingredients you can cook at home.
But in keeping with the times, there’s an ever-growing street food offering: everything from Levantine-inspired mezze to ‘reinvented Scotch eggs’ can be found here. This is a very busy working market, so you’ll need to purchase, escape, retreat and eat!
📍You’ll find Borough Market at 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL.
2. Quench your thirst at some of London’s finest boozers
Whilst the mighty Shard dominates the skyline of London Bridge, there are even more treats which can be found on terra firma. If you’re looking for a lovely riverside pub, or a cocktail bar with a hidden basement, then London Bridge is the place to whet your whistle!
Some of our favourites include The Shipwrights Arms – a lively, Grade II-listed spot which lies right outside London Bridge station – The Old King’s Head which specialises in an array of delicious ales and The Miller, which has its very own improv comedy club!
3. Soak up the panoramic views from atop the mighty Shard
Speaking of the Shard, we couldn’t really compile a roundup of the best things to do in London Bridge without mentioning it, right?! It opened over a decade ago and stands a mighty 309-metres-tall, boasts 95 storeys, and is the tallest structure in both the UK and Western Europe. Easily the biggest draw here is the View from the Shard, the viewing platform and sky-high bar which has been welcoming visitors since 2013.
But that’s not all the Shard has to offer. There are a variety of different restaurants here – with Hutong and Aqua Shard being particular standouts – as well as the GŎNG – the highest hotel bar in Western Europe. Cocktail with a panoramic view of the Thames? Yes please!
📍You’ll find the Shard at 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG.
4. Amp up the spook factor on a guided ghost tour
London is rumoured to be one of the most haunted cities in the whole world, and the shadowy alleyways surrounding London Bridge have been home to many criminals, vicious killers and other lawless folk over the years gone by – many of whom have left their wicked stories behind them.
If you’d like to delve more into the darkness, then you can hop onboard the aptly-named ‘Ghastly Ghost Tour of London Bridge’ – a thrilling ghost tour that will give you an insight into many of these tales, so be prepared to hear about decapitated heads on spikes, torture by rats, ghost-filled prisons and much more besides. Along the way, you’ll visit the Cross Bones Graveyard – which is the final resting place for many Medieval sex workers known as the ‘Winchester Geese’ – the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge and more. You’ll also start at one of our favourite boozers, the ‘Bunch of Grapes’, which is well worth whetting your whistle at pre- or post-walk.
5. Grab a picnic and admire the views of Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is arguably one of the capital’s most famous landmarks, featuring in films such as The Mummy Returns, Spiderman: Far From Home, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Paddington 2. Grade I-listed, it dates back to 1894, and the best view of it is from the neighbouring Potters Field Park – which also offers views of the UNESCO-listed Tower of London – the world’s most infamous prison.
When the sun’s shining, there’s nothing better than grabbing some picky bits and maybe a can or two and setting up shop in this landscaped park. A little bit of warning – you’ll likely be surrounded by a throng of other punters.
📍You’ll find Potters Field Park at Tooley Street, London, SE1 2UD.
6. Brave walking across the glass walkway of Tower Bridge
Now, speaking of Tower Bridge, there’s a real surprise up its sleeve, and it lies in the ‘Tower Bridge Experience’ – a glass walkway which lies 42 metres above the waters of the Thames. The birds-eye view of cars and buses driving across the bridge below is pretty cool, and since the Glass Floor can hold the weight of four London black cabs, it’s sturdy enough for you to rest easily.
The glass floor itself is part of the larger Tower Bridge experience, which will also let you nose around the mighty engine room, as well as some exhibits that retell the history of the famous landmark. Sure, maybe it’s a little bit touristy, but sometimes you just have to tick these things off, don’t you think? Even better – you can bring your pooch to this one! Winner, winner.
📍You’ll find the Tower Bridge Experience at Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP.
7. Watch an immersive version of the smash-hit Guys and Dolls
London is one of the best places to watch theatre and musicals in the whole world, with only NYC giving it a run for its money, we’d argue. And London is far more than just the West End. Case in point, The Bridge Theatre in London Bridge, which has seen the likes of Gwendoline Christie, Ben Whishaw, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes and The Crown’s Lesley Manville (aka Princess Margaret) tread the boards.
Currently you can immerse yourself in the streets of Manhattan in Guys and Dolls directed by Nicholas Hytner. Expect to hear all the classic numbers from the hit Broadway show including ‘Luck Be a Lady’, ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat’, ‘Adelaide’s Lament’, ‘Guys & Dolls’ and more, as you move freely around the stage and interact with the characters too in this fully-immersive experience.
📍You’ll find The Bridge Theatre at 3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG.
8. Admire the architecture of the magnificent Southwark Cathedral
As London’s oldest Gothic cathedral and the site of worship for well over 1,000 years, Southwark Cathedral provides the historic setting for a host of unmissable events and live music – and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in SE1.
From housing famous court poets to making room for resident feline friends, the cathedral has had a fair amount of interesting visitors over the centuries, and has more than a few tales to tell. Nowadays, aside from running weekly sermons and religious ceremonies, the cathedral hosts several events throughout the year including enchanting Candlelight concerts, some of which even feature the dazzling Museum of the Moon installation. Plus, you can sometimes even see art exhibitions here!
📍You’ll find Southwark Cathedral at London Bridge, London, SE1 9DA.
9. See what exhibitions on at the White Cube Gallery
Speaking of art exhibitions, while you’re in the area, it’s well worth a wander down to the White Cube Gallery. As one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, it’s full of interesting exhibitions which range from ones encompassing a plethora of textiles to the current ‘Body Politic’ by sculptor Antony Gormley – which investigates our species’ relationship with its industrially-made habitat. You can check what’s on via their website here.
📍You’ll find the White Cube Gallery at 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ.
10. Wander down Bermondsey Street and take your pick of restaurants
London Bridge is full to the brim with great restaurants, and one of the best spots to indulge in all manner of cuisines is on Bermondsey Street, which is just a stone’s throw from London Bridge station. There’s everything here from French food with lashings of wine (hello Casse-Croûte) to small plates and Spanish tapas (hello José).
While they’re all good, our favourites may just be Baccalà Seafood & Wine – which as you’d expect, has some top tier seafood – as well as Cafe Murano – Chef Angela Hartnett’s celebrated Italian restaurant.
11. Visit The Clink and get an insight into area’s intriguing history
A rather arresting spot amongst London museums, The Clink Prison Museum spent some 600 years as one of the city’s most feared prisons. Far from the charming spot it is today, Southwark used to be a lawless place; prostitutes, heretics, and drunkards all graced the cells of The Clink at one point or another. So, why not join them?!
Elsewhere, there’s The Old Operating Theatre Museum, which offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. It’s housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital, and access is via a narrow, 52-step spiral staircase. Pretty atmospheric if you ask us!
📍You’ll find The Clink Museum at 1 Clink Street, London, SE1 9DG and The Old Operating Theatre Museum at St Thomas’ Church, 9A St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY.
12. Listen to some live jazz music at Amazing Grace
Rounding off this list of the best things to do in London Bridge is none other than Amazing Grace – a live music venue and Thai restaurant set within a 17th-century converted church. Reading the menu details Thai basil chicken wings, Massaman curry and a Thai fried chicken burger with Sriracha mayo – how sweet the(y) sound – as well as Khao Soi soup, spicy pumpkin fritters and a whole host of amazing cocktails.
But the real star of the show here is the live music. Throughout the week, there are recurring pillars like the R&B brunch and hip hop karaoke, while there are also one off events of alternative pop and soul. Plus, the acoustics here are fantastic – no surprise given its previous incarnation as a church!
📍You’ll find Amazing Grace at 9a St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best things to do in London Bridge. From indulging in some lip-smackingly good food on Bermondsey Street to spooking yourself senseless on ghost tour, there’s plenty here to keep you busy – so get yourself down to SE1 pronto!