For the past fifteen months I’ve been lucky enough to work in Southwark, which is a mere ten minute walk to London Bridge, so many of my lunch breaks have been spent walking around and getting to know this area better.
My favourite part of London Bridge has to be Borough Market. I remember visiting it on my first holiday to the UK in 1998 and it’s always stuck with me as a great place to visit in London – tourist or not! The market has existed since the 13th century so it’s steeped in history. It’s packed full of stalls selling fresh produce, condiments, spices, drinks, flowers and lots more. The market is open every day for lunch, however the full market is only open Wednesdays to Saturdays.
There are street food stalls selling all kinds of delicious dishes, from Ethiopian curry (which is so good!) to coconut pancakes. In fact, come hungry. If you don’t fancy dining al fresco, there are lots of pubs and restaurants around the market and along the Thames.
Right by the outdoor food stalls you will find Southwark Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral church building in London. It’s believed that a church has been on the site of the cathedral since AD 606. You can take a guided tour of the cathedral or go along on one of their walking tours of the area.
If you’d like to see a panoramic view of London, head to London Bridge Station where you’ll find The Shard (you can’t miss it). The View from the Shard offers you the opportunity to see London in all her glory. It’s basically the equivalent of New York’s Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Centre. If you fancy experiencing more than just a view, they also run events, such as a weekly yoga class.
Just a short walk from the market, heading towards Waterloo, you’ll find Shakespeare’s Globe theatre where you can catch an outdoor performance of one of the Bard’s plays (in the Summer months) and during Winter the performances take place in their intimate Playhouse.
And if the theatre wasn’t enough of a cultural delight, almost right next door is the Tate Modern. If you like architecture, you’ll love that the Tate Modern is housed in the old Bankside Power Station. The gallery is home to works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and (one of my favourite artists) Salvador Dalí as well as many, many others. Having a stroll around the gallery is one of my favourite things to do during my lunch break – it’s really good for mindfulness.
Directly across from the Tate Modern is St Paul’s Cathedral, which you can get to in ten minutes by walking across the Millennium Bridge. The bridge itself offers amazing photographic opportunities as you can see skyscraper buildings, such as the Shard, and also iconic London landmarks like Tower Bridge.
And if you’ve seen St Paul’s before, head off in the opposite direction and explore Bermondsey. It’s full of lovely independent shops, bars and restaurants and has two great markets. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love it.