On our first full day back in London we took a bus to the south bank of the historic River Thames. The stretch of riverbank from Westminster Bridge in the west to Tower Bridge in the east is comprised of three districts: South Bank, Bankside and London Bridge. There are enough restaurants, pubs, museums and entertainment venues to keep any visitor amused. Here’s a photo tour of sights between the London Eye and City Hall.
Flamboyant buskers and a children’s carousel give South Bank’s riverside promenade a carnival vibe. This is where you can catch a ride on the air-borne London Eye or an amphibious London Duck Tour. There’s also Shrek’s Adventure and the SEA LIFE London Aquarium for the kids. From May through September, the London Wonderground festival features circus and cabaret acts beneath a tent plus food stalls, bars and rides.
2. BANKSIDE (Blackfriars Bridge to London Bridge)
Bankside takes itself a little more seriously with Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Tate Modern art gallery. The Anchor Bankside pub is where Samuel Pepys observed The Great Fire and I sipped my first glass of Pimm’s (the traditional summer beverage made with a gin-based liqueur, lemonade, cucumber, mint and fruit). From the Anchor we walked through Bridget Jones’s neighbourhood near Borough Market.
|The Anchor Bankside|
|Popular Summer Beverage, Pimm's|
|The Anchor Bankside's Bar|
|Rose Window in the Great Hall of Winchester Palace|
|Model of Sir Francis Drake's Ship, the Golden Hinde|
|London's Oldest Cathedral Church Building, Southwark Cathedral|
|Bridget Jones's Apartment Building|
3. LONDON BRIDGE (London Bridge to Tower Bridge)
London Bridge today is just an ordinary modern bridge. A wharf where ships once unloaded cargoes of tea has been converted to the Hays Galleria and the WW II warship HMS Belfast is docked nearby. From June to October Londoners can enjoy free music, theatre and open-air screenings under the shadow of City Hall during the London Bridge City Summer Festival.
|The UK's Tallest Building, The Shard|
This section of the Thames is also a great place to view some of the city’s more unusual buildings across the river: The Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street), The Cheese Grater (Leadenhall Building) and The Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe).
We’ll end our tour at the gothic-inspired Tower Bridge which is often mistaken for London Bridge. Next time we’ll walk across Tower Bridge to visit one of Her Majesty’s Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower of London.
My Tip for the Day:
London hosts lots of festivals, especially during the summer months, and many of them are free.