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Arriving to see the bright lights and city sights of the capital via London Bridge Station? Whether you are planning a day-trip to the area immediately around London Bridge or just have some time to spare waiting for a train, there is plenty to see and do.
From the country’s only pub run by the National Trust to a culture fix at The Scoop or White Cube Gallery, here are the top things to do in and around London Bridge station.
Things to do near London Bridge Station
Table of Contents
1. The Bermondsey Beer Mile
Comprising around 20 brewery taprooms all within easy walking distance of each other, the Bermondsey Beer Mile is a geographic-ale challenge like no other.
If you are walking directly from London Bridge Station, you are best to start at Southwark Brewing Company, approx a 10 minute walk away from the station (although we aren’t suggesting you try all of the Bermondsey Beer Mile in one session – drink responsibly like).
We completed the Bermondsey Beer Mile over several weekends so here is our rundown of all the breweries that you can visit.
YOU MIGHT LIKE: UK Brewery Tours run guided beer tasting tours along the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Check out their tours here and check out our guide to the best craft beer brewery tours in London >
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2. Bermondsey High Street
South London at its finest, Bermondsey High Street is a quirky and independent cavalcade of coffee shops, pubs and art galleries, all within the shadow of the Shard and a stunning cityscape view.
Pop along at the weekend and you’ll see the area come alive with buzzing bars, throngs of people coming out of the fresh food shops and people having picnics in Tanner Street Park.
A great place to start your day with a quick caffeine fix or bite to eat, Bermondsey High Street is a bohemian delight and one of our favourite things to do near London Bridge.
3. Maltby Street Market
For our money (and palette), the Maltby Street Market near London Bridge station is one of the best food and drink markets in London.
Not only is the street food selection spot on and varied at Maltby Street Market but the setting itself is also quite different from most other other food markets. It is tucked away in an industrial alleyway that gets transformed into a foodie gem at the weekend.
4. Borough Market London
One of the finest foodie (if not ubiquitous) experiences in London and a lot busier than Maltby Street Market. Whilst some may say this is a tourist trap, they are missing the point as it is so popular because it is a culinary gem; delicious dishes abound.
Half the fun is the hustle and bustle of London’s Borough Market, ducking and diving amongst the food stalls to try some tasty treats or sweet samples before deciding where to splash your cash.
All tastes are catered for at London and the sheer range of food stalls to choose from is superb – make a day of it and explore the London Bridge area afterwards.
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5. Tower of London
Built in the 11th century, the Tower of London is the secure location of the Crown Jewels, the famous Beefeaters and once home to the Royal Mint and Royal Armouries. Legend has it that if the ravens fly away, the Tower of London will crumble.
A bit like the tower itself, the Tower of London admission prices are quite steep – £29.90 per adult and £15 for children as at February 2023 when booked in advance.
These Tower of London admission prices increase to £33.60 per adult and £16.50 per child at the end of May 2023. If you become a Historic Royal Palaces Member (costs apply), admission is ‘free’.
6. River Thames / South Bank walk
Take a walk along the South Bank and River Thames, approximately 5 minutes away on foot from London Bridge Station.
One of the best walks in London (if not the UK), it is wonderful to take a South Bank walk set against a backdrop of new skyscrapers and apartment blocks juxtaposed against such historic and significantly important buildings like Tower Bridge or the infamous Tower of London.
If you have time, continue your stroll all the way along the Thames towards the city via South Bank – read our South Bank walking guide here >
7. Hays Galleria
A former shipping warehouse dating back 400 years, we’d suggest you duck into Hays Galleria (sort of a riverside shopping centre) to see the steampunk-esque ship sculpture The Navigators (designed by David Kemp) and possibly grab a bite to eat or drink.
Hay’s Galleria restaurants include Cote Brasserie (with riverside views) and The Alexander Hay – we think might be the only London Bridge dining establishment with its own petanque pitch.
The Horniman at Hays pub at Hay’s Galleria too serves good fish and chips, with an alfresco seating area directly overlooking the River Thames.
8. The Bridge Theatre
If you have time and you aren’t just in London Bridge to catch a train, see a show at the Bridge Theatre (in the shadow of Tower Bridge) – their foyer is warm and welcoming with more light-bulbs than a hardware store.
Even if you haven’t got show tickets, the opulent Bridge Theatre interiors are home to their St. JOHN bar and you can pop in for a drink.
Spending Christmas in London? The Bridge Theatre often has special Christmas productions like A Christmas Carol.
9. Vinegar Yard
One of the most recent additions to the London pop-up bar and food market scene, Vinegar Yard launched in a disused lot in Spring 2019 and consists of a boutique, bijou market and several bars and food outlets with ample outdoor seating.
We’ve visited Vinegar Yard in both the summer and winter and whilst obviously more popular in the hotter, sunnier months (check out that postcard perfect Shard background!), there are lots of outdoor heaters and indoor spaces here so it can be visited year-round and is an ideal activity close to London Bridge station.
Please note that as at early 2023, the future of the Vinegar Yard near London Bridge looks uncertain as it is likely to make way for new housing developments and mixed use later this year. Check the Vinegar Yard website before visiting.
10. View from the Shard
Loved and loathed by locals in equal parts (it dominates the capital’s skyline), there are several ways to visit the Shard including the viewing gallery at the top.
They regularly host events which include admission which make it slightly better value, heck we even went to a Silent Disco atop the Shard once (fun!).
Shard viewing platform prices start from £32 per per person as at 2023.
How do you fancy seeing the views from the Shard for a fraction of the admission price? Read on…
11. The Shard Restaurants & Bars
Most of our visits to the Shard have actually been to the restaurants and bars here, so we can enjoy the stunning views plus enjoy nice wine or meals.
On our last visit to London Bridge, we decided to save ourselves the (rather expensive) viewing Shard viewing platform admission fee and went for a drink in Aquashard, located on the 32nd floor.
We hadn’t booked Aquashard in advance, but luckily managed to find a table near to the bar (but not directly next to a window).
With glasses of wine available for less than £10 a glass, this makes it much better value and you also get a drink – result!
Other notable restaurants in the Shard include classic Chinese at Hutong and Oblix for oh so fine dining and cocktails with ‘altitude’.
12. Play Crazy Golf at Plonk!
Crazy golf, a colourful course with some of London’s best loved landmarks as holes and a fully loaded bar?! ‘Fore’ real – we are in!
This superb subterranean 9-hole course is just a stone’s throw away (or should that be petite putt?) from Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral, making good use of the railway arches beneath London Bridge and Borough High Street.
The Plonk Golf peeps have really gone to (London) town with this course, a neon nirvana of some of the capital’s most famous spots like Thames Barrier, HMS Belfast (a surprisingly serpentine and struggle of a shot to complete on par) and the London Eye. Upon entry, you are given your putters, balls and all important score-card as well as access to bar (the only time it is cool to ‘drink and drive’).
The attention to detail at Plonk Borough Market is superb and the illustrations and designs make this London’s best looking urban golf-course – and remember, the loser buys the drinks at the end!
As of February 2023, Plonk Golf Borough Market prices start from £12.50 per adult for off-peak slots which includes all equipment – under 18 prices start from £10. ‘Fore’ real, this is one of the most fun things to do in London Bridge.
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13. HMS Belfast
Found your sea legs and feeling ‘ship’-shape? Then head aboard HMS Belfast, a former naval ship that is no longer in operation.
The permanently moored vessel is a surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship that was originally launched in 1938 and saw service and conflict all over the globe before being decommissioned in the 1960s.
As at February 2023, the HMS Belfast admission price is £24.50 for adults and £13.50 for children (both without donations).
Like IWM’s HMS Belfast? Also visit IWM London, a free war museum in Elephant and Castle >
14. Flat Iron Square
Similar to the previously mentioned Vinegar Yard but on a slightly smaller scale, Flat Iron Square is a street food court style affair, with several cheap (ish) eats and a huge outdoor beer garden.
They regularly host events at Flat Iron Square (we attended a Mexican beer festival here once but can’t remember too much so it must have been good) and whilst busier in the summer months, this is an all year round street food and bar venue.
During Christmas, Flat Iron Square also put on regular winter themed events like Alpine themed bars.
15. Tower Bridge
If you don’t know Tower Bridge, you don’t really know London. Likely London’s most well known landmark (well, with the possible exception of Primark on Oxford Circus ;), the iconic Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago and is the jewel of the River Thames (Mary Poppins is quite the fan too!)
Tower Bridge still opens up occasionally when the tall ships come through, and you can visit the inner workings via the Tower Bridge Experience (£11.40 admission per adult as at February 2023).
16. Potter’s Field
A prime, picnic spot overlooking the Thames with Tower Bridge looming lushly over the London landscape, Potter’s Field is one of the most popular sitting spots along the Thames and it often hosts food festivals or pop-up events.
You can grab food from the nearby food outlets like Five Guys burgers or if you are on a budget, grab some cold cans and snacks from the nearby Tesco or Marks and Spencer and enjoy them on the grass. You’re welcome.
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17. Shad Thames
In the shadow of the Tower Bridge, this historic shipping and dock yard area has been transformed into a multi-million, mainly residential area with several nice bars and restaurants overlooking the River Thames.
Most of the establishments in Shad Thames have outdoor terraces with incredible views and this is a perfect place for a sundown session. Note the Design Museum which this area used to be famous for has now relocated to High Street Kensington.
18. Crossbones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance
Not so much an attraction as a moving memorial shrine and an important piece of London’s history, this is a burial ground dedicated to the medieval paupers that is tucked away in the back streets, close to Borough Market.
Reminiscent of the torii gates and ribbons found in Japan, by the time it shut in the 1850s, it held the remains of over 15,000 paupers and it was once one of the poorest and most violent areas of London – a timely reminder of how much London has changed.
Crossbones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance is around a 8 minute walk from London Bridge Station.
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19. The Scoop / City Hall
City Hall on the River Thames is currently home to the Mayor of London and whilst it cannot be visited normally by the general public, they occasionally do guided tours for special events or Open House weekends.
During the summer, the next-door Scoop area is a performing arts space that sometimes hold free outdoor stage productions or live performances, surrounded by pop-up bars and food trucks.
20. White Cube Gallery
One of London’s foremost art museums, the White Cube has a smaller outpost on Bermondsey Street with free admission and a rotation of temporary installations and exhibitions.
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21. Southwark Cathedral
Dating back to the early 12th century (1106) but largely rebuilt and reconstructed over the last several centuries, Southwark Cathedral is a beautiful place of worship with incredible stained glass windows.
Southwark Cathedral is free admission but donations are appreciated. Breadahead run a cute little coffee-shop inside Southwark Cathedral too.
22. Shakespeare’s Globe
Will Shakespeare once said that ‘All the world’s a stage’ and none more so than at the Globe on the River Thames, a short walk from London Bridge Station.
Shakespeare’s Globe is actually an accurate remodelling of the original 16th century Globe Theatre (alas destroyed) which (re)opened at the current site in 1997.
Staged in the round, most plays here are Shakespearian (naturally) and you can often get cheap standing seats if you book in advance. If you don’t have a ticket, you are still allowed to visit the gift shop and info centre for free, as well as use the public toilets, or book onto a guided tour.
23. Tate Modern
Housed in a former power station, the Tate Modern has transformed into a modern art powerhouse, with permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions.
The Tate Modern is free admission although some of the exhibitions charge entrance fees. However, the Tate’s Turbine Hall is free to visit and often has large scale displays and immersive soundscapes that are unique to the space it inhabits.
Check out the upper balconies of the Tate Modern for incredible views – the Terrace Bar is one of our favourites (with reasonably priced beer and wine).
Note that as at 2023, the top floor of the Tate’s Blavatnik Building is closed due to complaints raised by nearby apartment owners – it used to have incredible (and free) 360 degree views of London and the River Thames.
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Time to get your pasta fix at Padella restaurant in London!
Every time we visit London Bridge we generally always spot a long line of people snaking around the outside of Padella, London’s most popular pasta place (try saying that several times after a negroni).
Named after the Italian word for ‘Pan’, Padella pasta restaurant is a fixture of the Borough Market dining scene.
Padella restaurant is proud of its relatively simple yet delicious menu and inexpensive prices (for London) – you can easily see Padella’s ‘recipe‘ for success.
25. London Bridge Experience
Although the use of ‘immersive’ often fills us with fear, the London Bridge Experience promises an immersive theatrical maze of local London characters detailing over 2000 years of history in this area.
Located between the Shard and London Bridge Station, this subterranean journey beneath the streets of London shows how the Great Fire of London took hold and other dark moments such as the infamous Jack The Ripper, as told by a tour guide.
Aimed more at tourists than locals, the London Bridge Experience starts from £26.95 per adult (plus booking fee) if booked online in advance as at February 2023 (or £28.95 on the door).
26. St Paul’s Cathedral
The most glorious building in the whole of London with its iconic dome and Golden Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christoper Wren and built over a 35 year period, fully opening in 1710.
Over the years, it has presided over Royal Weddings, landmark events and state funerals such as those of Churchill and Thatcher.
The St Paul’s admission fee is £20.50 per person if you book advance online, as at February 2023).
If you are on a tight budget, the best free views of St Paul’s can be found by going to the nearby One New Change shopping centre, and getting the lift to Madison rooftop bar on the top floor, to enjoy the viewing platform there.
27. St Dunstan in the East Church and Garden
A little slice of solitude and utterly peaceful place the church of St. Dunstan in the East church garden, offers respite, tranquillity and a place to worship.
Amazingly is right in the heart of London’s hustle and bustle and city traders, located in the Square Mile.
Looking like no other church in central London, St Dunstan in the East Church and Garden survived severe damage caused by both the Great Fire of London in 1666 plus bombing in 1941 – it is mainly ruins but the gardens are all the more beautiful for it.
28. Millennium Bridge
Although the grand opening in 2000 was a ‘shaky’ start (literally -they closed it soon after to make repairs) the ‘wobbly bridge’ has become one of London’s most famous, free attractions; it even has a starring role in films like Harry Potter and Guardians of the Galaxy.
If you so desire, do a detour across and visit St Paul’s Cathedral. Whilst walking along the bridge, check out the tiny illustrations by Ben Wikson scattered along the metal walkway; he uses people’s discarded chewing gum as his canvas and repurposes it into street art. Smart!
Historic pubs near London Bridge Station
When ‘Inn’ London and based around London Bridge Station, take some time out to sup a few pints in some of the capital’s most historic and best preserved pubs.
29. The George Inn
One of the closest and best old pubs to London Bridge Station is The George Inn, Britain’s only pub managed by the National Trust and the last remaining galleried inn in the capital.
Dating from the 17th century, Charles Dickens visited here when it was a coffee house and it also features in his novel Little Dorrit.
The best way to imbibe at the George Inn is wandering around (with a pint in hand of course) all the various old rooms and walkways spread around the several floors of this former coaching house.
30. The Anchor Bankside
A short 5 minute stroll from Shakespeare’s Globe is the historic Anchor Bankside pub (there has been some form of pub on this site for over 800 years).
Depending on your outlook Anchor Bankside is either most famous as the pub where Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London from in 1666, or where Tom Cruise had a pint in the closing scenes of Mission Impossible.
Either way, the Anchor Bankside is one of London’s best riverside pubs and bars, a traditional inn (rebuilt in the 19th century) that is cosy in winter (warm fireplaces) or resplendent in summer with its outdoor beer garden (Pimms o clock!). They also do fantastic fish and chips, plus some rather good pub pies too.
31. The Founder’s Arms pub, South Bank
Near to Blackfriars Bridge, you’ll see the (very) busy Founder’s Arms pub, one of the best riverside inns in London – and very popular with the pigeons too. Bide your time and try to bag an outdoor table, and enjoy brunch or fish and chips with fantastic views of the Thames.
Popular with tourists given its incredible views of St Paul’s Cathedral and London’s Square Mile, The Founder’s Arms also does well with the after work crowd; city bankers galore (not Cockney Rhyming slang either).
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32. The Old Thameside Inn / Golden Hinde
Like Shakespeare’s Globe, this London landmark is actually a replica of the original ship, built in 1973 and docked here in 1996 after travelling the world (the original Golden Hinde, captained by Sir Francis Drake was launched in 1577 and best known for sailing around the world in the 1570s).
If all this history or walking is making you thirsty, the Old Thameside Inn next to the Golden Hinde has stunning views of the River Thames and the city, with ample outdoor beer garden space.
Pre pub days, the Old Thameside Inn bar was a former spice warehouse on Pickford’s Wharf docks, dating back to the 16th century – the original Clink Prison was also located just behind the pub.
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