When planning a day out in London, it’s important to create some kind of priority list, which details an itinerary and all the things you want to see and do during your visit. One area of London that we consider to be a destination all of its own is London Bridge – home to some of the best restaurants and London hotels with breakfast, as well as attractions, notable viewpoints and architecture, and a diverse range of things to see and do.
Referring to the area just outside of London Bridge station, this article focuses on London Bridge as a destination – sharing some of the things to look out for and the businesses and places to visit throughout the day.
Where is London Bridge?
London Bridge is located towards the east of the city centre and boasts an ionic shape with both a road level and a high level crossing point giving it the shape and structure of a four-sided frame. With Billingsgate framing the bridge from the north bank and the Shard sitting to the south of the river, the bridge is directly next to Tower Bridge which makes the surrounding vicinity among one of the most populous in London.
For this article, we’re focussing specifically on the Southbank and all the things there are to see and do on the south side of the bridge. But first for a little history.
A few facts about London Bridge itself
Did you know that once upon a time, London Bridge was the only bridge in the whole of London – making it the only structure which connected the south side of the river with the north side. For those visiting the city today, this can be a difficult fact to comprehend – particularly given the ease with which you can travel from an attraction on the south side to the restaurants near Lancaster Gate to the north within minutes. However, until the 28th century, London Bridge was the only connection – and as such it was a core target of enemy warfare in and around London.
Another interesting historical fact about London Bridge is that is used to resemble the Ponte Vecchio in Florence in Italy, in that it not only held a road for crossing but was also home to a number of businesses and market stalls which lined its edges. Of course, such stalls and stores are no longer around, however the Bridge is still the central point of plenty to see and do in the local area.
Attractions around London Bridge
The Shard is a major attraction not just near London Bridge but across the whole of London – with visitors from all over travelling to this part of the city to benefit from the views and to enjoy a drink or even a meal at one of the eateries and bars located towards the tip of the structure.
From the top of the Shard, you can see all the way over to the Lancaster Gate Hotel London, recognising the green expanses of parkland and the plethora of shops – visitors flooding in, out, and around the store fronts all year round. For anyone visiting London, this distance from the ground level hubbub of life in the city is a treat – making the Shard a peaceful place to visit (if you manage to get up there before a tour group decides to join you!)
Other attractions around London Bridge include Southwark Cathedral with its ornate architecture and the immense size of the structure, and The Golden Hinde galleon which is an exact replica of the original boat that Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in between 1577 and 1580.
London Bridge as a prime spot for foodies
For those heading towards London Bridge, whether you’re wandering the ruins of the former Winchester Palace or heading for a tour at the famous Clink Prison museum, you will find that there really is no better place to stop for food than Borough Market. A stone’s throw from London Bridge, Borough Market combines all the flavours and delicacies of cultures from around the world – offering a diverse collection of stalls and pop-ups which sell everything from ingredients to ready made meals for enjoying on the go.
Outside of Borough Market, visitors to the area can enjoy freshly made pasta from Padella Pasta, baked goods and coffee from the Roasting Plant Coffee that’s direct from New York, and a wide selection of goods from the ever-changing businesses and pop-ups that appear in and around the Southbank on a daily basis.
The Southbank itself, whether you choose to head east towards Tower Bridge or west towards the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe, is one of the prime locations for food trucks and vans offering all manner of cuisines, with many banding together to create seasonal dining spots literally on the side of the walkway.
Why visit London Bridge?
As is the case with so much of London, London Bridge is a destination that unites tradition and history with a wide range of stories and plenty of attractions that help bring the setting to life. From the selection of places to pick up food, to the proximity of the bridge to the train stations that can carry you anywhere from the coast to a 4 star hotel in Lancaster UK, all the way through to the story’s of how it came to be where it is and look how it does today, it is only when you visit London Bridge that you can take in its magnitude and position in London’s growth and history.
For more information on what you can see and do around London Bridge, speak to your concierge or the reception staff at your chosen hotel. And remember that London Bridge is so much more than just a road across the water – surrounded by both modern and authentic buildings which form part of London’s story, and a wide range of attractions and things to see and do as part of your visit.