The area around London Bridge is a corner of London that has seen a lot of history. There has been a bridge crossing the river here since the Roman times. But today, it is a hive of activity. Visitors to London flock here on the weekend to visit the markets, eat at the many restaurants, walk along the river and see the historical sites. This is not the historical London Bridge. That is the next bridge along the river.
Fun Fact: Another modern London Bridge stood in this place until it was sold to an American and moved brick by brick to Lake Havasu, Arizona. It is now the second most visited attraction in the state after the Grand Canyon.
If you have 24 hours, here are the things to see and do and places to eat.
1. Roasting Plant Coffee Shop
Start your visit with a great cup of coffee at the Roasting Plant. Just a few steps away from the bridge, this coffee shop has London’s first coffee robot. The specially designed machine will roast their single estate coffee beans to their optimum temperature, then grinds it to order, which is then delivered to the barista to make your coffee.
3. Borough Market
Walk around Borough Market, taste some local artisan cheeses or some street food from the many stalls there. Grab a snack like these Breadaway doughnuts or a quick lunch at one of the street food stalls.
Just outside Borough Market, stop for a quick lunch at Leon’s, a home grown alternative to fast food restaurant serving healthy seasonal food.
5. Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret
Walk over to this tiny museum, on the site of the old St Thomas’ Hospital. The original operating theatre is still intact, along with all the scary surgical equipment. The Herb Garret is a treasure trove of old medicinal curiosities.
6. Shangri-La Hotel
Stop for a cup of tea or a snack at the lounge of the Shangri-la Hotel. You don’t need to pay to go up the Shard. From the lounge, you get some amazing views across London. Not to be missed.
7. HMS Belfast
Walk towards the river where you can visit HMS Belfast, the warship Museum. If you like Maritime history, this is a must-visit. You can see what life was like on board this Second World War Royal Navy warship.
8. City Hall
As you exit the ship, you will see the odd-shaped building which is our City Hall. In front of that is the Amphitheatre which holds shows in the summer.
9. Rosa’s Thai Cafe
The new development at One Tower Bridge now houses a lot of cafes and restaurants. Rosa’s Thai Cafe is a place to stop for an authentic Thai meal.
10. Tower Bridge
As you walk further, you can’t miss the magnificent Tower Bridge. This is the bridge in the famous London Bridge nursery rhyme, not the modern one where you just came from. You can visit the towers in the middle of the bridge and if you are lucky, you might see it rise up to let tall ships pass.
11. Tower of London
On the other side of the river is my favourite Historical landmark, the Tower of London. I read too many stories about Henry VIII and all his wives so this place makes it all come to life. If you are there, make sure you talk to the Yeomen in the red coats. They have some great stories to tell.
12. Santo Remedia
Santo Remedia is a Mexican restaurant that serves authentic dishes. If you stop here for lunch, they have a £15 for 2 courses menu.
Do you have other places that you like to visit around London Bridge? Do share in the comments.