Guide to London Bridge
Our guide to London Bridge proves that the area packs a real punch: it has sights, experiences, restaurants and bars, all within five minutes’ walk of London Bridge Tube. If you’re in London for a short trip, Sarah Riches recommends spending a day in the area – it beats wasting time stuck on public transport.
First-time visitors should start at The Shard, a 309m-high skyscraper. Head to the top for The View from the Shard; you can feel the breeze on your face on level 72, which has views of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye. If you’re celebrating, order Champagne at the bar, or you visit Oblix restaurant on the 32nd floor, or the fancy Shangri-La bar, Gong, on floor 52.
No guide to London Bridge would be complete if we didn’t tell you to grab a bite to eat at Borough Market; visit mid-week or before 11am on Saturday to avoid the crowds. Sample cheese, jam and wine then buy a dish such as raclette and eat it in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral. Most of the market is undercover, as is Hay’s Galleria nearby, which is a charming shopping arcade in a courtyard between two old tea warehouses.
The London Bridge Experience
On rainy days, check out The London Bridge Experience, which brings the history of London Bridge alive. Learn about medieval invasions, Jack the Ripper, the Great Fire of London and the River Thames’ frost fairs. Feeling brave? Then don’t miss The Tombs, where actors jump out at you in a scary maze.
The Old Operating Theatre
If that sounds frightening, spare a thought for the patients who were operated on without anaesthetic in The Old Operating Theatre around the corner (pictured). This former hospital is now an atmospheric museum. Teenagers will also enjoy The Clink Prison Museum, a gruesome exhibition that takes you inside a prison that dates back to 1144.
Families with young children could visit HMS Belfast or the The Golden Hinde instead, because which child doesn’t love boats? Both have a fascinating past and regular events, including sleepovers aboard The Golden Hinde and even a ‘Pirates of The Hidden Spirit’ cocktail experience.
When you need a sit down or a proper meal, order roast chicken at Roast, or bangers, mash and gravy at Mug House. Elsewhere, you’ll find sharing dishes such as octopus or king prawns at Tapas Brindisa London Bridge. Fancy a Mexican meal? Then read our review of Santo Remedio on Tooley Street.
As night falls on our guide to London Bridge, stay for cocktails at London Grind on the bridge. Alternatively, seek out Green Room, a speakeasy hidden inside Casa do Frango, a Portuguese tapas restaurant. That’s not the only great hidden bar in this neighbourhood – read our review of Nine Lives in London Bridge here. Alternatively, make like a tourist and seek out the flat that featured in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’ Diary. It’s above the Globe Tavern – so make like a local and order a pint of London Pride ale.